Mission: Climate Neutral City
In the 8th call of "City of the Future", preparatory projects were started with the call focus "FIT4UrbanMission", so that Austrian cities can position themselves for submission to the EU mission 100-climate-neutral-cities and at the same time prepare a resource and structure plan to achieve the national climate and energy targets.
Various thematic calls are announced, which address both strategic and implementation-oriented issues related to urban infrastructure as well as innovative planning processes for the future. In a first step, concepts and first demonstration projects for sustainable city districts and urban real laboratories on the way towards climate neutrality will be funded.
There will also be a call for comprehensive implementation projects and further support measures. These will include urban real laboratories, which will test and apply the infrastructure and urban technology of the future in a real urban environment.
Cities are not only the economic, cultural and social engines of our world, but also cause about three quarters of global CO2 emissions and require 78% of energy consumption. Urban areas are home to 75% of the European population - and the trend is rising (Source: EIT Climate-KIC 2019: 1). Cities and municipalities therefore play a central role in the fight against climate change.
Climate protection is one of the political priorities of the European Union. The aim is to limit the negative effects of climate change and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
The European Green Deal (EGD) is the key project of the EU Commission. This includes a sustainable growth strategy for a climate-neutral and resource-conserving economy. The EGD is intended to make Europe the world's first climate-neutral industrial region by 2050.
With the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, Austria also committed to limiting global warming to well below two degrees Celsius and, if possible, below 1.5 degrees Celsius. In addition, at the initiative of the European Commission, the European Council of Ministers recently decided to increase the EU climate target of a reduction in CO2 emissions for 2030 from the current level of 40 to at least 55 percent compared to 1990.
Climate protection is also a central component of the Horizon Europe research framework program, which is why two of the five major research missions deal with achieving climate targets. The urban mission "100 Climate-neutral Cities by 2030 - by and for the Citizens" aims to enable 100 European cities in particular to achieve climate neutrality as early as 2030. The 100 European model cities are to become global pioneers of climate neutrality. Successful measures and positive experiences are to be replicated and promoted throughout Europe, while at the same time barriers and obstacles to implementation are to be removed.
With the National Energy and Climate Plan (NEKP), Austria has presented a comprehensive and integrated plan that shows the way to achieving Austria's energy and climate targets by 2030 and that also includes sectors that are not subject to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, such as transport, agriculture and buildings.
In the process of achieving the ambitious goals of the NEKP or the European Green Deal, buildings, urban neighborhoods and cities, utilities and the real estate industry play a fundamental role. They are the planners, investors and operators of the climate-neutral infrastructure of the future and have essential planning tools for designing and implementing climate neutrality.
Austrian cities and municipalities
In recent years, many Austrian cities and municipalities have developed a "Smart City Strategy", including the necessary target catalogs. This has been made possible through active participation and engagement with the national RTI and demonstration programs "City of the Future" (BMK), "Mobility of the Future" (BMK) and "Smart Cities Demo" (Climate Fund). Austrian cities and municipalities have done essential groundwork towards climate neutrality. Urban stakeholders are constantly involved in national research projects, with the results and findings being incorporated into concrete measures and sector strategies of the cities. In particular, the urban mobility laboratories of the "Mobility of the Future" program and the thematic priorities "Digitalization in Construction" and "Climate Neutral Buildings and Neighborhoods" of the "City of the Future" program are reflected in Austrian cities.
In addition, the Smart Cities networking platform - funded by the BMK - has created a communication basis in which decision-makers exchange views on research issues related to urban topics. These topics are taken up on an ongoing basis by the RTI programs and are developed further together with business and research players.