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ICLEI pushes for climate neutrality, EU cities call on European Commission to raise ambition

ICLEI is calling on local and regional governments worldwide to set mid-century climate neutrality targets. This ahead of the Paris goal to hit climate neutrality post-2050.

The new ICLEI vision for the urban era – the ICLEI Montréal Commitment and Strategic Vision – adopted by the ICLEI Council, calls on ICLEI Members to aim for climate neutrality in government infrastructure and operations before mid-century.

“We need more cities worldwide to go climate neutral,” said Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI. “Climate neutrality in the municipal operations and infrastructure is an essential step for full delivery of the Paris Agreement. Cities of all sizes and on any continent can take on this challenge and move us closer towards a climate-neutral world.”

ICLEI Members like Arendal, Norway and Stockholm, Sweden have already set ambitious climate neutrality targets. They are among the 10 European cities that have called upon the European Commission directly to adopt the Paris Agreement targets as the goals of its long-term strategy on emissions reduction. That means acknowledging a 1.5°C increase in global temperature and a net-zero emissions society as necessary goals for the European Commission’s future strategy.

By calling for wider action, ICLEI aims to make climate neutrality a reality for more cities across the world. By reporting targets and tracking progress through platforms like the carbonn Climate Registry, cities can map out individualized paths towards climate neutrality and determine where carbon offsets may be necessary. 

“I’m pleased ICLEI continues to build upon its strong base of climate action by stepping up its commitment to do even more,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change. “By calling on its network to achieve climate neutrality in government operations before mid-century, ICLEI can help us deliver on the promises of the Paris Agreement. We encourage local and regional governments across the ICLEI network to work with Climate Neutral Now to turn climate neutrality into reality.”

The Paris Agreement calls for climate neutrality in the second half of the century to avoid the worst effects of climate change. With cities contributing to more than 70 percent of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, the urban dimension of climate action is critical. 

This call, along with the open letter submitted by many European cities to the European Commission, comes just ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit. There, climate stakeholders worldwide will put forward bold new climate commitments. If the European Commission aligns itself directly with the Paris Agreement, these commitments will have a powerful source of support both in implementing climate action and ahead of the year-end climate negotiations in Katowice. 

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