Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Europe's Covenant of Mayors - Increasing Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Use

The Covenant of Mayors (CoM – is the mainstream European movement involving local and regional authorities voluntarily committing to increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources in their territories. By their commitment, Covenant signatories aim to meet and exceed the European Union’s (EU’s) 20% CO2 reduction objective by 2020. They prepare a Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI) and submit, within the year following their signature, a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) outlining the key actions they plan to undertake.

Signatory cities vary in size from small villages to large metropolitan areas like London and Paris. Over 3,000 SEAPs have been submitted to the European Commission, and that number is expected to increase as some 5,000 local authorities have now joined the Covenant of Mayors, representing over 170 million people or roughly one-third of the EU population (Covenant in Figures).

In a press release last month, the CoM referenced a recent study by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission noting CoM signatory cities release approximately eight tonnes of CO2 equivalent per capita. However, through the implementation of their SEAPs, cities commit to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by about 28% by 2020, thus voluntary exceeding the EU’s 20% reduction objective. On average, 44% of the overall CO2 reduction is expected to result from actions addressing the buildings sector (retrofitting of building stock, energy audits, etc.), 20% from the transport sector (introduction of cleaner vehicles, congestion charges, etc.) and 16%  from local energy production actions (production of biogas or solar energy, for instance).

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