EU Policy Brief by Claire Roumet
By on 29 October 2015
This month, we are particularly proud of one thing: the launch of the New Covenant of Mayors. In its new version, the initiative makes it possible for cities to make commitments within an extended time horizon and to continue down the road to a low carbon future even more ambitiously (more information in Energy Cities’ blog).
Mayors endorsing the New Covenant of Mayors objectives at the 2015 Ceremony on 15 October in Brussels - © photo : Nathalie Nizette
In addition to this major step, we’ve been busy pushing political topics further:
In mid-October, our Board of Directors met with the Urban Envoy of the Dutch government Mr. Nicolaas Beets (Director at the Ministry of the Interior, former ambassador), to discuss the agenda of the Dutch EU presidency during the first half of 2016. Cities in the Netherlands have wide powers, including energy policy. One of their priorities will be to reinforce multi-level governance to foster the energy transition in particular, by designing and implementing effective EU policies. On May 30, 2016, the Dutch EU Presidency will propose the Pact of Amsterdam to Member States which is designed to launch a broad partnership between the EU, States and cities. This idea was also discussed by our Board members with MEP Mercedes Bresso, former President of the Committee of the Regions. Mrs. Bresso recalled the need for the European Parliament to involve the Covenant of Mayors, one of its potential key partners in designing policy.
The most prestigious meeting of our network in the past month was a discussion between our President Mr. Eckart Würzner and the new IPCC Chair, Hoesung Lee. Doctor Lee will be the new person leading the work on climate change of hundreds of scientists from all over the world. According to Mr. Lee, the time has come for academics to deliver research and to design tools related to "what is actually happening at the local level". He is convinced that research willl empower local actors to do more and better in imagining their post carbon future. The IPCC Chair also insisted on the fact that the social dimension of the energy transition has been overlooked until now. It should be explored more deeply to better understand the prerequisites for behavioural change and the social acceptance of change in general. Mr. Lee hopes that, once climate change is understood, research will focus on figuring out solutions.
In the meantime...
Only a few days ago, the UK’s struggle to secure a deal for a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point ended. This policy move by the new majority Conservative government contrasts with research findings on the benefits of and access to energy alternatives, their feasibility and costs (read this article by Stephen Devlin from New Economics) and promising 100% renewable electricity scenarii for 2050 such as the one published by the French National Energy Agency ADEME for France (read here in French).