Reykjavík to Become 1 of 100 Climate-Neutral European Cities Skip to content

Reykjavík to Become 1 of 100 Climate-Neutral European Cities

By Ragnar Tómas

downtown Reykjavík
Photo: Golli.

Yesterday, City Council approved Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson’s proposal that Reykjavík City apply to the EU’s “Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities” initiative. A draft of the application is in the works, which if approved would see the city commit to climate-neutrality by 2030.

Concrete results by 2030

EU Missions are novel projects within the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme for 2021-2027. As noted on the European Commission’s website, EU Missions are “a new way to bring concrete solutions” to some of modernity’s most significant challenges.

Among the EU missions are “Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities,” which – as the title of the initiative suggests – aims to deliver 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030.

Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson proposed that the City of Reykjavík apply to the mission. Yesterday, City Council approved. As noted in a press release from the city, a special application team will be established to draft the document, although City Council is currently awaiting clarification from the EU regarding the mission’s terms of agreement.

4% of land area – more than 70% of emissions

In December of last year, Reykjavík’s City Council approved the Green Plan. One of the key pillars of the plan is complete carbon neutrality by 2040. With its application to “Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities,” it seems clear, however, that the city is intent on aiming higher (representatives could not be reached for comment at this time): “carbon neutrality” refers to annual, net zero anthropogenic CO2 emissions, whereas “climate-neutrality” extends to greenhouse-gas emissions other than carbon.

In order for Reykjavík to become one of Europe’s climate-neutral, smart cities, it must both “innovate and collaborate with the private sector, universities, and non-profits,” yesterday’s press release reads.

As noted on the European Commission’s website: “Cities play a pivotal role in achieving climate neutrality by 2050, the goal of the European Green Deal. They take up only 4% of the EU’s land area, but they are home to 75% of EU citizens. Furthermore, cities consume over 65% of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions. They will deliver impact by putting research and innovation into a new role, combined with new forms of governance and collaboration, as well as by engaging citizens.”

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