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EU institutions strengthen alliance with cities through New Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy



Hundreds of city representatives attended the launch on 15 October in Brussels of the new and integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, less than two months ahead of the COP21 international summit in Paris.

Since 2009, some 6,500 local authorities have committed themselves to meeting the European Union’s 2020 CO2 reduction objective. As part of the “new and integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy”, signatory cities will pledge action to support implementation of the new 2030 EU targets, a joint approach to tackling mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and the extension of the initiative to a more global scope.

Three new pillars: 2030 horizon, integration of mitigation and adaptation and the international dimension

Last summer, the European Commission launched a consultation process with the support of the European Committee of the Regions to collect cities’ views on the possible orientations of a new Covenant of Mayors. The response was unanimous: 97% called for a new target beyond 2020. The majority also endorsed the 2030 objectives for a minimum 40% CO2 reduction, for a 27% increase in energy efficiency and renewables, and for the integration of mitigation and adaptation to climate change under a common umbrella.

“The response to climate urgency can also become an opportunity for local development, job creation and the emergence of a new societal model,” said Mayor of Nantes Johanna Rolland, whose city plans to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030.

Mayor of Ghent Daniël Termont shared his city’s political objective to become “a climate-proof city by 2030, prepared for precipitation extremes, droughts, heat-stress and sea-level rise.” The COP21 host city was represented by Deputy Mayor of Paris Patrick Klugman, who also shared Paris’s experience with his peers. Paris has just adopted its climate-adaptation roadmap and plans to create 100 hectares of green roofs by the end of the mayor’s political mandate. On the energy front, Paris is on course to power all municipal buildings with green electricity by 2016.

An EU success story: The “world’s biggest urban climate and energy initiative”

The Covenant of Mayors has introduced an institutional novelty in the European policy landscape by encouraging local leaders to voluntary support the implementation of EU-adopted targets.

Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete welcomed this “bottom-up approach, which has worked so well in Europe”. He emphasised that the Covenant of Mayors is already the “world’s biggest urban climate and energy initiative” and a European success story to be exported on the road to Paris.

Echoing the Commissioner’s remarks, Mayor of Heidelberg Eckart Würzner pointed out that with over 200 million citizens represented through local council commitments, the voice of the Covenant of Mayors could not be ignored ahead of and beyond the COP21 meeting.

“Opening up the model worldwide offers an opportunity to allow cities and regions across the globe to collaborate, share ambition and set the future agenda on climate change,” added Committee of the Regions President Markku Markkula.

COP21: Thousands of city commitments to be showcased on UNFCCC platform

In the context of this new global dimension, the Covenant of Mayors has just become an official data provider of NAZCA, a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) platform that showcases the commitments of non-state actors on the way to the COP21. “The Covenant of Mayors is by far the largest data set to be integrated into NAZCA”, said UNFCCC Chief of Staff Daniele Violetti, who encouraged the cities to continue their important work beyond Paris as a “solid way of supporting the international response to climate change”.


A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”



IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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