Putting policy into context
Urban energy consumption generates about three-quarters of global carbon emissions. Cities play a crucial role in terms of energy and climate policy, offering potentially comprehensive opportunities for contributing to shifting energy consumption towards more sustainable pathways and creating local opportunities for investment and growth. These same cities are also in a privileged position to meet the climate-change challenge by fostering the participation of citizens and building partnerships with local stakeholders.
In 2008, acknowledging the role of local authorities, the European Commission (EC) launched the Covenant of Mayors (CoM) initiative to endorse citywide efforts in the implementation of sustainable energy policies.
Since its launch, the CoM has proved successful as the mainstream European movement involving those local authorities which commit voluntarily to contributing to the European Union’s objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by both meeting and exceeding the target of a 20% cut in CO2 emissions by 2020, through better energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources within their territories.
The important role of the Covenant is mentioned and acknowledged in several European Commission policy documents: the Energy Efficiency Directive1, the European Commission’s Energy Union Package2, the European Commission’s European Energy Security Strategy3, the Heating and Cooling Strategy4 and the European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility5.
In 2014, in the context of the European Commission’s European Strategy on adaptation to climate change6, the European Commission launched a separate initiative called Mayors Adapt, based on the Covenant of Mayors model, with the aim of engaging cities in taking action to adapt to climate change.
Building on the Covenant of Mayors and Mayors Adapt, the new Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy was announced in October 2015 and is based on three pillars:
- Mitigation (40% CO2 emission reduction target by 2030)
- Secure, sustainable and affordable energy. Mayors who join the Covenant commit to taking the lead and enhancing the transparency and accountability of local climate and energy policies by:
- Setting ambitious and quantified emission-reduction targets;
1 Energy Union Package, COM/2015/080
2 Energy Union Package, COM/2015/080
3 European Energy Security Strategy COM/2014/0330
4 An EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling COM/2016/51 final
5 A European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility COM/2016/501 final
6 An EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change COM /2013/ 216
“The peculiarity of the CoM commitment compared to other GHG mitigation initiatives concerns the participation of small and medium-sized towns in an effort to reduce GHG emissions”
- Measuring their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission level in a base year, according to a common methodological approach;
- Assessing climate risks and vulnerabilities within their territories;
- Defining a strategy and concrete actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change;
- Approving and making their action plan publicly available;
- Regularly reporting (both qualitatively and quantitatively) to the EC on the implementation of their action plan;
- Sharing their vision, results, experience and know-how with fellow local and regional authorities within the EU and beyond through direct cooperation and peer-to-peer exchange.
In this context, the role of subnational regional authorities is key to the implementation of climate change policies especially in small and medium-sized cities and towns, which often lack the resources to develop and implement a Sustainable Energy & Climate Action Plan (SECAP) and can benefit from support provided at higher administrative levels.
Covenant of Mayors commitments and achievements in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy
At the cut-off date of the last analysis (4 September 2016), the number of CoM local authorities totalled 6,926 (96.5% from the EU-28), covering 213 million inhabitants (85% in the EU-28 representing 36% of the total EU-28 population).
The peculiarity of the CoM movement compared to other GHG mitigation initiatives concerns the participation of small and medium-sized towns (with less than 50,000 inhabitants) in an effort to reduce GHG emissions (89% from the total signatories).
The signatories overall commitment to reducing GHG emissions is 27% by 2020, i.e. 7 percentage points above the minimum requested target of 20%.
The mitigation commitment of the Covenant signatories is mainly related to the emissions associated with energy consumption in sectors which can be influenced by the local authority (housing, services and urban transport), leaving out other emitters such as the Emissions Trading System (ETS) industry and transport outside the mandate of the local authority (e.g. highways).
Results from the 315 monitoring inventories submitted (covering 25.5 million inhabitants and mainly for the period 2012-2014) reveal an already achieved 23% overall reduction in emissions.
This decrease in GHG emissions between baseline and monitoring years was driven by:
- GHG emissions due to electricity consumption fell by 17% from the baseline to monitoring years due to a less-carbon-intensive fuel mix and more efficient electricity generation power plants;
- GHG emissions in buildings from heating and cooling fell by 36% from the baseline to monitoring years, driven by improved energy efficiency in buildings and consequently lower energy consumption levels, more efficient local heat production from district heating networks, and by increasing shares of renewable resources in decentralised local heating production;
- GHG emissions in the transport sector fell by 7% from the baseline to monitoring years driven by more efficient vehicles, an increase in the share of biofuels, and the shift towards public transportation and electric mobility.
These results underline the interconnected nature of climate mitigation and energy efficiency actions adopted at the local level. The CoM signatories adopted a range of policies and measures for improving energy efficiency through building regulations, increasing the share of renewable energy, integrating district energy systems, and a gradual transformation to more efficient and sustainable transportation. The most common policies being implemented are:
- Energy management and public procurement;
- Building standards and energy certification labelling for new and existing buildings;
- Awareness-raising and training;
- Financial incentives;
- Third-party financing;
- Urban planning: local authorities establish local mobility plans defining limited traffic zones, low emission zones, designated parking spaces for low-emission vehicles, and free parking for cleaner efficient vehicles. Furthermore, they set road pricing schemas, and integrated ticketing/charging to foster sustainable mobility.
In addition to the above policies, many municipalities have ownership or jurisdiction over local energy and water utilities, public transportation and social housing. There is a potential for improvements in energy efficiency in the provision of these services. Urban energy planning throughout the development of district energy networks in high-density districts can improve the energy efficiency of urban energy systems.
The combination of effective urban energy policies and better coordination between national and local governments is crucial for the potential of the urban mitigation of climate change.
The results obtained so far show how climate mitigation and sustainable energy actions adopted at the local level are interconnected. The role of local authorities in leveraging sustainable development, mitigation and adaptation measures is crucial. Developing a ‘sustainable energy and climate action plan’ that requires the setting up of a baseline emission inventory and the adoption of policy measures is already a tangible achievement for cities. This is the first step towards an effective, transparent system for tracking progress and concrete results.
The quantitative assessment of the Covenant of Mayors was presented in Marrakech during the COP 22 Conference in November 2016.
“Developing a ‘sustainable energy and climate action plan’ that requires the setting up of abaseline emission inventory and the adoption of policy measures is already a tangible achievement for cities”
Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa: perspectives and knowledge needs
The methodological framework developed by the JRC in collaboration with city networks offers municipalities a comprehensive tool to support the development of climate and energy policies, which can be successfully replicated and adapted in other regions of the world.
The JRC provides scientific and technical support to the Covenant of Mayor (CoM) initiative, covering cities in the EU Member States, the Eastern Partnership and Central Asian countries and the Southern Mediterranean countries, in collaboration with the Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER), the Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA), the Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy And Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR) and the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO). In 2017, the Covenant of Mayors activities are being extended to Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in order to include African cities. Technical cooperation is also being established with the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM) which JRC will support.
The Covenant of Mayors activities started mainly with a climate change mitigation component, activities in the field of adaptation to climate change are now being included and activities dealing with access to energy and electricity will be added as well for Low Income Countries or communities. The Project activities of Covenant of Mayors for Sub-Saharan Africa are performed in close cooperation with institutions such as DG DEVCO, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), the EC Joint Research Centre (JRC), the African Union, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) (see page 20), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), UN Habitat, PLATFORMA project, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA), the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.
Regarding the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa, pilot projects have been awarded to a first group of cities/municipalities including Kampala (Uganda), Lubumbashi (République du Congo); Dakar (Sénégal), Bouaké (Côte d’Ivoire), Communauté de Communes du Zou (Bénin), Nouakchott (Mauritanie), Tsévié (Togo).
With the support from DG DEVCO, the main activities of JRC related to Covenant of Mayors sustainable energy planning in African cities are the following:
- Methodology adaptation to develop Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plans (SEACAPs) and calculating Emission Inventories (EIs) taking into account the specific processes and needs of cities in Sub-Saharan Africa and development of reporting tools,
- Guidebook for SSA local and national authorities, adaptation of the documents and of the experience of the Covenant of Mayors in the EU and the South Mediterranean region to support SSA actors in order to improve their capacities and to design, facilitate and implement SEACAPs,
- Assistance in developing SEACAPs (including Emissions Inventories for up to 45 cities and corresponding training & help Desk,
- In-depth evaluation of up to 10 SEACAPs and overall assessment. The expected policy impacts in Sub-Saharan Africa are:
- Enabling the effective implementation and monitoring of the Covenant of Mayors initiative, including its adaptation to a new timeframe (2030) with quantitative goals of GHG emissions reduction, development of criteria for multi-level governance and sustainable energy policies and plans.
In the case of African cities, there is a priority to improve the situation regarding access to energy & electricity, in addition to activities addressing climate change mitigation & adaptation to climate change. There are strong links between living conditions in rural zones and urban growth.
Regarding the access to electricity, an estimated 1.2 billion people (i.e. 16% of the global population) did not have access to electricity according to WEO-2016, 15 million fewer than reported in the previous year. Many more suffer from supply that is of poor quality. More than 95% of those living without electricity are in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia, and they are predominantly in rural areas (around 80% of the world total). While still far from complete, progress in providing electrification in urban areas has outpaced that in rural areas two to one since 2000.
Regarding the traditional use of solid biomass for cooking, according to WEO 2016, more than 2.7 billion people (i.e. 38% of the world’s population) are estimated to have relied on the traditional use of solid biomass for cooking, typically using inefficient stoves or open fires in poorly ventilated spaces. Developing Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa once again dominate the global totals. While the number of people relying on biomass is larger in developing Asia than in Sub-Saharan Africa, their share of the population is lower: 50% in developing Asia, compared with more than 80% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Overall, nearly three-quarters of the global population living without clean cooking facilities (around 2 billion people) live in just ten countries.
According to IRENA REmap 2030 Project (see page 24), worldwide, nearly 1.3 billion people today do not have access to electricity, and 2.6 billion people do not have access to clean cooking facilities. This severely affects their well-being and economic development, presenting a strong case for an increased deployment of renewables.
“Unless there is a rapid change in priorities, 1 billion people will still be without electricity in 2030, and 2.6 billion people will be without clean cooking facilities”
“Clean cook stoves and other modern renewable alternatives for traditional use of biomass can contribute substantially to the global doubling of the renewable energy share. The switch will also save the equivalent of 3% of today’s energy use. REmap 2030 points”
Unless there is a rapid change in priorities, 1 billion people will still be without electricity in 2030, and 2.6 billion people will be without clean cooking facilities. Universal global access to electricity for lighting and other basic needs would raise global electricity demand by only 1%. IRENA analysis suggests that more than half of this demand could be met with decentralised renewable electricity.
In 2010, half of renewable energy use worldwide was traditional use of biomass, accounting for nearly 9% of global energy consumption. This usage is unsustainable and is a major source of indoor air pollution. The bulk of traditional use of biomass is used for cooking and heating. Switching from polluting traditional cook stoves to modern clean biomass cook stoves could halve traditional use of biomass use and save lives due to reduced indoor air pollution. Clean cook stoves and other modern renewable alternatives for traditional use of biomass can contribute substantially to the global doubling of the renewable energy share. The switch will also save the equivalent of 3% of today’s energy use.
REmap 2030 points the way to sustainable solutions, including technological solutions as well as practical and cultural changes. Although access to electricity is increasing, the replacement of traditional use of biomass is moving more slowly. To achieve this, there is a need to enhance access to the diversity of existing technology solutions, including by making reliable and affordable equipment readily available and by helping to meet people’s practical and cultural needs.
To support the international dimension of the Covenant of Mayors, the EC has been funding CoM initiatives in the EU Neighbourhood to the East, the Southern Mediterranean and in Sub-Saharan countries. The development of Covenant activities in North America, Latin America/Caribbean, China and South-East Asia, India and Japan is also under way.
The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy formally brings together the Compact of Mayors and the European Union’s Covenant of Mayors, the world’s two primary initiatives of cities and local governments to advance their transition to a low emission and climate resilient economy, and to demonstrate their global impact.
The Compact of Mayors was a global coalition of mayors and city officials pledging to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change, and to track their progress transparently. The Compact was launched in September of 2014 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, Michael R. Bloomberg. The Compact was activated under the leadership of the global city networks — C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) — and with support from UN-Habitat, the UN’s lead agency on urban issues.
Commitments made under the Compact of Mayors will be folded under the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, joining those made through the EU Covenant of Mayors. Under this global framework, there is no change to commitment or compliance requirements until January 2019.
Four GCoM Technical Working Groups are being constituted on issues such as Data, Regional Coherence, Climate Action and Communication. The transition phase necessary to develop an integrated approach is supposed to last till the end of 2019.
“To support the international dimension of the Covenant of Mayors, the EC has been funding CoM initiatives in the EU Neighbourhood to the East, the Southern Mediterranean and in Sub-Saharan countries. The development of Covenant activities in North America, Latin America/Caribbean, China and South-East Asia, India and Japan is also under way”
Jean Francois Dallemand
Mr Dallemand is currently part of the Energy Efficiency
& Renewables Unit of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. He is contributing to activities in the field of Decarbonisation at Local Level in Urban zones. During the last few years, he has been focused on the issue of the sustainability of bioenergy. In the past, he was a Scientific Coordinator of the European Biomass Conference and a Member of the UN ICAO Alternative Fuels Task Force. He is an Agronomist, specialising in agricultural & environmental remote sensing. He joined the EC in 1997 after working with UN FAO and ESA. He also has experience in West Africa, Brazil and Indonesia.
SILVIA RIVAS CALVETE
Silvia Calvete is a Scientific Officer at the Energy Efficiency & Renewables Unit of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, mostly focused on methodological adaptation to the Global Covenant of Mayors. She is a key person in the implementation of the Covenant in Global Regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and Latin-America. She is involved in local energy allocation projects and support of the Energy
Efficiency Directive implementation. She has more than 13
years of experience as an environmental quality manager and scientific advisor for: Air quality, Energy Efficiency, Agenda
21 and Sustainability, Urban Design and Waste management policies. She was a board member of the expert group for the
Environmental Noise European Directive MS transposition and involved in several EU Twinning projects.
Ms Kona has been a Scientific Officer at the Energy Efficiency & Renewables Unit of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission since 2013, working in the Covenant of Mayors (CoM) initiative. Her research activities include assessment of the Sustainable Energy Actions Plans of cities, descriptive statistics for robust assessment of the CoM initiative and developing performance indicators of energy sustainability in cities. She graduated in Energy Engineering from Politecnico di Torino (Italy). After two years working as a consultant for international energy companies, she joined a utility company in Italy, working as an energy manager in the field of district heating and gas networks. Within her Ph.D. studies she proposed a methodology for multiobjective optimizations of urban energy systems based on probabilistic procedure.
Paolo Bertoldi has gained a Doctor Degree in Electrical Engineering in 1985 at the University of Padova (Italy). He has been working with the European Commission since 1986. From 1986 to 1993 he was working in the EU nuclear fusion project, the Joint Undertaking Torus (JET) in the UK. For 1993 until April 2001, he was Administrator with the European Commission, DG Energy and Transport (DG TREN, Brussels Belgium), in charge of EU regulatory and voluntary programmes for energy efficiency in end-use equipment, buildings and industry. He was also in charge of voluntary agreements with industry and tertiary sectors and the GreenLight programme. Since May 2001, he is at the European Commission Joint Research Centre (Ispra, Italy), in charge of research activities on energy efficiency policy analysis, the efficient use of electricity (in particular ICT) and innovative policy instruments for energy efficiency (e.g. white certificates, financing mechanisms, ESCO, EPC, emission trading). He also manages the Covenant of Mayors activity at the JRC. In 2015 Mr. bertoldi has been nominated Senior Expert.
He has published over 80 papers on energy efficiency in scientific journals and conference proceedings.
He is the Editor-in-Chief of the peer reviewed journal Energy Efficiency.