European Covenant of Mayors to Act on Climate Issues
An initiative to encourage cities and towns to act on climate protection resulted in the launching of the Covenant of Mayors on Jan. 29, during the European Sustainable Energy Week.
Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said that citizens need to engage in climate protection activities, and their local governments need to motivate community action, as well as guide and support the process.
Ten mayors and deputy mayors, eight of whom represent members of the Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), shared the podium during the launch of the Covenant, providing a summary of their most effective actions achieved through policies, support instruments and technical expertise.
Deputy Mayor of London Nicky Gavron said: "Tackling climate change is an overriding imperative -- the battle against climate change will be won or lost in cities," and stressed the value of international networking such as the C40 (a group linking 40 of the largest cities in the world that are committed to climate protection) and ICLEI's "superb" Cities for Climate Protection Campaign.
Reductions of greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved in the manifold areas where energy is used in communities -- from buildings (electricity, space heating or cooling) to transport (combining improved air quality with human fitness and the use of clearer fuels), from waste to water management. Katrin Lompscher, Berlin senator for Health and Environmental Protection, shared results of the Energy Plan that focuses on energy (and cost) savings and energy efficiency in buildings and is reviewed every 5 years to align it to priorities. She stressed the value of partnerships with various local stakeholders, such as housing and hospital associations, city sanitation and energy service providers.
Letizia Moratti, mayor of Milan, shared highlights of its climate change defense plan and the newly introduced pollution charge that has drawn much attention. Deputy Mayor of Riga Almers Ludviks focused on improvements in district heating and the need to raise awareness of citizens on opportunities for action.