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News (July, 2017)

 

27 July 2017

Turning plastic packaging waste into a valuable resource

A consortium of 20 European partners including the ICLEI European Secretariat is working to reinvent the plastic packaging treatment process, making recycling more accessible, cost-effective and profitable for both citizens and professionals in the field.

Funded by the European Union, PlastiCircle (Improvement of the plastic packaging waste chain from a circular economy approach) will rethink the different phases involved in transforming plastic packaging into valuable products. In particular, it will focus on the development of smart containers for separate waste collection and on the improvement of transport routes and sorting technologies, with the aim of increasing recycling rates in Europe and achieving recovery within the same value chain. The innovations will be piloted in the cities of Utrecht (the Netherlands), Valencia (Spain) and Alba Iulia (Romania).

Launched in June, PlastiCircle is led by the Packaging and Logistics Research and Innovation Center (ITENE) and will run over four years, defining business plans and promoting market uptake of the proposed solutions through training and awareness raising activities for citizens, institutions and private companies.

For more information, click here.
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26 July 2017

Kadıköy holds three day festival to encourage nature preservation

To celebrate World Environment Day, recent ICLEI Member Kadıköy Municipality (Turkey) organised the 'Kadıköy Environment Festival' under the theme of ‘ecological life in the city’. Almost 100 people from NGOs, local initiatives, and universities took part in the event, examining how collective action can address issues such as climate change, energy and water efficiency, and the protection of nature.

The municipality has organised several emission reduction projects in recent months, raising awareness among the public of the need for greater sustainability. As a signatory of the Global Covenant of Mayors, Kadıköy has committed to reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

In his speech officially opening the festival, Mr. Aykurt NUHOĞLU, Mayor of Kadıköy, highlighted the importance of participatory approaches for a sustainable future:

“Human beings are part of nature like all living things. When the balance of nature is even slightly damaged, then everyone is affected successively. In fact, we do not demand too much. We are just demanding clean air and clean water as well as healthy and organic food. It is necessary to create an agenda responding to these demands, and we can build this agenda all together. Beginning from ourselves, we can take steps for ecological life in the city. By changing our daily habits, we can gain the future by going shoulder to shoulder for nature.”

The festival opened with a performance by a local children’s art centre, which saw water cans, plastic bottles, boxes, brooms, and plastic bags transformed into rhythm instruments.

Awards were given out to the leaders of three neighbourhoods who collected the largest amount of waste oil, while a primary school was awarded for their collection of waste batteries. A private sector company was named a Glass-Friendly Enterprise for its sensitivity in recycling glass waste.

Events for children were organised, including workshops on topics related to nature. Other events held included environment-themed puppet shows, plays and book readings. A cycling tour was organised in the festival area, with the Cycling Unit of the Municipality providing the bicycles.

For more information on the event, watch this short video.

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25 July 2017

European Green Capital Secretariat opens call for sustainability experts

The European Commission is seeking six experts in the field of sustainability to join the Expert Panel for the European Green Capital Award and the European Green Leaf Award.

Members of the Expert Panel are responsible for the technical review of the European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Awards, which forms part of a two-stage competition process.

European Green Capital Award applicant cities are assessed by an internationally independent panel of experts based on 12 environmental indicators. European Green Leaf Award applicants are evaluated based on six environmental topic areas.

Specifically, experts are being sought in the areas of: climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, air quality, water, green growth and eco-innovation, and governance.

Members of the expert panel will be expected to respond to queries from applicant cities through the European Green Capital Secretariat, assess indicator areas, prepare technical comments for reporting purposes, attend three evaluation meetings, and review the application form text related to the indicators.

The closing date for receipt of applications is Friday 1 September 2017.

For more information, click here.

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20 July 2017

Barcelona acts to address climate change

The City of Barcelona (Spain) will suffer temperature increases of up to 2° C by 2050 according to studies from Barcelona City Council, making the city more vulnerable to heat wave episodes.

In the last 34 years, eight heat waves have been registered in the city - roughly one every four years. The most intense occurred in 1982 when the Fabra Observatory recorded 39.8 ° C. New projections point to an increase in heat waves by the end of the century, moving from every four years to every year.

The City Council is preparing the Climate Plan, which will be presented before the end of the year. This plan will outline the strategic actions of the city council to mitigate climate change and its effects. "The fight against climate injustice should allow us to ensure that all citizens, in Barcelona and elsewhere, can live better and healthier," said Janet Sanz.

The deputy mayor has called on citizens to be involved in taking action against climate change, specifically through participating in the preparation of the Climate Plan through the platform Decidim Barcelona. The elaboration of this plan will include a participatory process, collecting public proposals. Increasing urban green areas, promoting energy rehabilitation, and analysing vulnerability to climate change are some of the strategic lines that the city council follows to confront the phenomenon of global warming.

For more information, click here (in Spanish).

To watch the video "Barcelona facing climate change", click here (in English).

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19 July 2017

How smart cities are helping to drive the green economy

As the push towards sustainability has gathered pace, the green economy has gained in importance in Europe in recent years. This shift is bringing with it a new generation of jobs.

Figures from the EU bear this out. In 2014, 4.2 million people were employed in the environmental goods and services sector, a rise of 1.4 million since 2000. In recognition of this, the theme for this year's EU Green Week was "Green jobs for a greener future".

This drive towards the green economy brings with it positions that demand new skill sets and competencies. In the coming years, urban development is an area in which such jobs will be required. As the creation of liveable and sustainable urban environments develops into an ever greater priority, individuals who possess the expertise and experience to help realise this change will be highly sought-after.

The need for knowledge of green energy technology is manifest, ranging from the retrofitting of buildings to projects related to sustainable mobility, such as charging points for electric vehicles. As cities build up their electric charging infrastructure, the ability to maintain these will also become invaluable.

With their push to develop solutions that reduce pollution and boost energy efficiency, smart cities require such knowledge. Through its involvement in two EU-funded smart city projects, GrowSMARTER and RUGGEDISED, ICLEI is contributing to this demand.

GrowSmarter aims to create 1,500 jobs through the development of 12 smart city solutions covering energy, infrastructure and transport. Should the companies behind their implementation grow, the creation of further jobs is a strong possibility.

Rotterdam (the Netherlands), one of the three lighthouse cities participating in the RUGGEDISED project, hopes that its measures will lead to 300 new positions and assist with the regeneration of deprived areas in the south of the city.

To find out more about EU Green Week 2017, click here.

To find how other EU-funded smart city projects are contributing to the growth of the green economy, click here.

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14 July 2017

New InnProBio factsheet on LCC and LCA of bio-based products

The InnProBio project has issued a new factsheet on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC).

The document gives an insight into what the LCA method is and the environmental impacts it assesses, such as climate change or impact on natural resources. Alongside this, it explains how the results of an LCA can be utilised, for example when comparing different products and services, whilst also highlighting the advantages of using the LCA and its link with green public procurement.

With regards to the LCC, the factsheet focuses on the role that it can play in public procurement, making clear its value in how it calculates the costs of a product throughout its life cycle. Different LCC tools for use in public procurement are also listed.

The similarities and differences between both concepts are also explored, whilst also making clear the reasons why they are important for increasing the procurement of bio-based products.

InnProBio is an EU-funded three-year project that aims to develop a community of public procurement practitioners interested in innovative bio-based products and services. ICLEI helps to raise awareness of its work.

For more information on InnProBio and to download the factsheet, click here.

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13 July 2017

Udalsarea 21 publishes a system of indicators for measuring local sustainability

The Basque network of municipalities, Udalsarea 21, has published a document that sets out a new system of indicators for measuring local sustainability. It provides towns, cities, municipalities, and countries with information on various sustainability-related topics and advice on how to improve their own measures and initiatives.

The new system, which is entitled "How to measure local sustainability", focuses on measuring environmental, social and economic factors, whilst also incorporating governance indicators. The indicators also make it possible to evaluate the results of local policies, making it a valuable instrument to support decision-making in local management.

Designed in collaboration with the local entities that compose the Udalsarea21 network and several supra-municipal environmental and statistical agencies, the new system has its roots in one first created in 2003. The original (and subsequent later iterations) have been used by Basque Country municipalities to monitor the impact of local policy ever since.

The indicators and all related information can be seen in the online computer application "e-mugi", which has been developed by Udalsarea21 for the management of local sustainability policies.

For more information, click here (in Spanish).

To download the 2017 Indicators Guide, click here (in Spanish).

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11 July 2017

Ljubljana: one of the top 10 bicycle-friendly cities in the world

In the latest Copenhagenize Bicycle Friendly Cities Index 2017, Ljubljana (Slovenia) - an ICLEI Member city - was ranked 8th on a list of the top 10 bicycle cities in the world.

The Slovenian capital city has developed extensive new cycling infrastructure in recent years, leading to an increase in the amount of cyclists in the city and of cycling's modal share. These have been part of wider efforts to modernise the city's urban areas.

The jury commented that "Ljubljana's advocacy and politics work well together and the city’s Cycling Officer is more highly regarded than in many cities in the region. Positive promotion of cycling is a key element on Ljubljana’s journey to becoming more bicycle-friendly".

The city's efforts in the area of sustainability also earned it the title of European Green Capital 2016. The Copenhagenize Bicycle Friendly Cities Index started in 2011 and is published every two years. In 2015, Ljubljana ranked in 13th position.

This year, 136 cities were evaluated within 14 parameters, including; advocacy; bicycle culture; facilities; infrastructure; bike-sharing programmes; gender split; and urban planning.

For more information, click here.

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7 July 2017

Cities discuss THERMOS Application blueprint

An "Application Design Workshop" was hosted at the William Penney Laboratory in Imperial College (London) on 22 June to identify and agree upon components of the THERMOS project software application. The workshop was the first step in an iterative process to develop and refine the THERMOS model specification based on user-feedback from the project pilot and replication cities.

The cities present were invited to provide details about their municipal needs, in order to relate user requirements to THERMOS modelling choices. The cities, which included ICLEI Member city Warsaw (Poland), as well as Jelgava (Latvia), the London Borough of Islington (UK), Granollers (Spain) and the Greater London Authority (UK), gave their perspectives on the software blueprint presented by leading modelling partners Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) and Imperial College. To help the programmers further shape the tool and identify areas of commonality and difference, the cities outlined their specific energy planning challenges, along with special aspects or requirements to be considered.

Josh Thumim, Project Director at CSE, explains further: “Each city has somewhat different needs as a result of its individual circumstances, and these workshops are about exploring how we can produce a tool which is both technically robust and sufficiently flexible for the intended user-groups.” The second half of 2017 will see the completion of the initial application design and production of the first version of the application software. CSE is keen to keep to schedule: “Our aim is to get the pilot cities testing the THERMOS tool early in the project so we have plenty of time to roll out our replication programme and focus on dissemination and user-training.”

For more information on the THERMOS model and upcoming events and activities, click here or sign up to the newsletter here.

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6 July 2017

Cities and water sector institutions eager to contribute to Urban Water Agenda 2030

With the words “we want cities to lead the European Urban Water Agenda 2030”, Karen Dalgaard-Sanning from the Directorate-General European Commission, DG Environment, set the tone for discussions at ICLEI’s latest Breakfast at Sustainability’s session, which took place in Brussels (Belgium) on 28 June 2017.

Exchanging perspectives on the needs and interests of ‘Cities driving integrated urban water management’, representatives from over 30 cities and other stakeholder institutions gathered to examine the opportunities presented by the Urban Water Agenda 2030. The initiative was established with the support of the European Commission in early 2016.

Many European cities have already taken big strides towards making sustainable water management a reality. Six of them – Copenhagen (Denmark), Genk (Belgium), Leeuwarden (The Netherlands), Oslo (Norway), Paris (France), and Stockholm (Sweden) – shared their perspectives on what is needed at the local level to make this happen, whilst expressing their readiness to play an active role in the Urban Water Agenda 2030 process.

“We want to develop a comprehensive approach to water”, said Arnaud Stotzenbach, Deputy Director for Water and Sanitation for the City of Paris. The five strategic directions presented as part of the draft agenda were received well by participants. Potential additional agenda points mentioned in discussions included the need to integrate water across various urban management sectors, link up existing water-related initiatives, and build an effective governance system.

The draft Urban Water Agenda 2030 is open to public consultation until 31 July 2017: European cities, water utilities and operators, and other water sector experts are invited to comment. On behalf of the European Commission, ICLEI and EUROCITIES are conducting an online survey to collect their opinions. Its results will help guide the agenda's future development.

To participate in the survey and for more information about the consultation process and EU Urban Water Agenda 2030, click here or contact water@iclei.org.

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4 July 2017

Study reveals heat waves in cities will increase tenfold from 2081-2100

Many European cities are experiencing extremely high temperatures this summer – a trend that municipalities are accepting will continue. According to findings by RAMSES researchers, there will be 10 times more heat wave days from 2081-2100, reaching nearly 30 heat wave days per year on average.

A study by RAMSES related to the 2003 heat wave in France found that while heat waves coincided with an increase in deaths in small towns, Paris, as a major city, suffered nearly three times the number of additional deaths during heat waves.

Why do cities tend to be warmer than their rural surroundings? Firstly, there are more buildings and soil sealing: buildings store heat during the day and release them at night. Walls cause additional radiation as they reflect the sun’s rays and reduce ventilation in narrow streets. Secondly, cities cool less due to less vegetation in city centres causing lower evaporation levels. Thirdly, humans create additional heat, such as through vehicle exhaust. The maps produced following a study in Antwerp and 101 other European cities show where in cities the highest temperatures are occurring and which areas should be prioritised for adaptation measures.

The project found that a typical western European city has a mean temperature difference at midnight of around 4oC . City temperatures on hot summer nights are 8oC -10oC higher than rural areas, as a result of less ventilation and higher populations. The RAMSES project is now completing its fifth year working with cities to promote adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development. The project is currently holding a series of free webinars, which will continue on 13 July.

For more information and to register, click here.

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3 July 2017

New facts and figures on EU heating and cooling published at EUSEW

The Heat Roadmap Europe (HRE4) project published its latest scientific findings just in time for the EU Sustainable Energy Week 2017 (#EUSEW17). The facts and figures brochure highlights steps to achieve a low-carbon heating and cooling sector.

For ICLEI Members interested in the current status of heating and cooling in the European Union, the publication outlines the sector's energy consumption, differences in policy solutions, strides made in renewable energies powering heating and cooling, and challenges in decarbonisation.

The brochure dives into the potential for more sustainable heating and cooling practices. Half of Europe’s energy is currently used for heating and cooling purposes, most of which is thermal energy in buildings and industry. 66 percent is produced from fossil fuels, while only 13 percent is from renewable sources. The amount needed for different sectors and processes varies, with the wholesale and retail sub-sector having the highest energy demand.

During the EUSEW 2017 in Brussels (Belgium) HRE4 held a networking stand titled Meet your match – your thermal resource map, model and optimisation system and was present at various sessions, including Innovation in the renewable heating and cooling, and Building Blocks for European Leadership in Renewables - the importance of the local level. In these sessions decarbonisation goals were looked at in the context of the HRE4 cornerstones, along with advantages in using the new Pan-European Thermal Atlas (Peta4).

To view the HRE4 brochure, click here.

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EMAS at ICLEI