Cities are at the frontline in the fight against climate change. Europe is an urban continent, and three out of four Europeans live in towns or cities. International agreements at the UN will be vital to addressing the challenge of global warming, but actually implementing these agreements in practice will require national governments to support and cooperate with municipalities and local governments.

Local and municipal governments are also going to be forced to cope with the impact of climate change, from flooding to heatwaves and other extreme weather events. How can Europe’s towns and cities adapt to a more sustainable future? What part can technology play in this transition, from public transport and renewable energy to AI and new ways of organising society?

Want to learn more about how cities are using technology to tackle climate change? Check out our infographic below (click for a bigger version):

What do our readers think? We had a comment come in from Ritsa, who wonders if it’s possible to design greener cities without completely changing our way of life (and she doesn’t really think it is). What would ordinary life actually look like in a “greener city”?

To get a reaction, we spoke to Belinda Gottardi, Mayor of Castel Maggiore in Italy, as well as a member of the board of the Covenant of Mayors, and spokesperson on climate for the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR). What would she say?

Next up, we had a comment from Cãlin, who asks whether technology (such as data from traffic cameras, drones, etc.) can help solve issues such as traffic congestion, air pollution, and CO2 emissions in cities.

We put Cãlin’s comment to Eckart Würzner, Lord Mayor of Heidelberg, for his response. How would he respond?

For another perspective, we put the same comment to Manuel Carmona Yebra, Policy Officer at the EU Commission’s Directorate‑General for Climate Action.

Last but not least, we had a comment sent in by Ivan, who thinks big tech companies should be encouraged to invest in greening cities through innovation.

We put Ivan’s comment to Nithya Sowrirajan, a Director at Google. What did she think should be the role of the private sector in greening cities?

How would Eckart Würzner, Mayor of Heidelberg in Germany, respond to the same comment?

Is your city doing enough against climate change? Can technology cut traffic congestion and CO2 emissions in cities? Would ordinary life be different in a future “green city”? What should be the role of the private sector (e.g. big tech companies) in greening cities? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

Photo by Aslıhan Altın on Unsplash
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14 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Francesco de Buzzaccarini

    Plesae stop with this climate panic . “Climate change is real and its impacts are mostly negative, but common portrayals of devastation are unfounded. Scenarios set out under the UN Climate Panel (IPCC) show human welfare will likely increase to 450% of today’s welfare over the 21st century. Climate damages will reduce this welfare increase to 434%”. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162520304157?fbclid=IwAR2oI6aFw2HU6GHwTVZYJTVmrNRE-HuIMXRb4miE1F4THZVXXoWjYAsJM2o
    Read this and then let’s talk again.

  2. avatar
    Michał

    Sure, here is the biggest single polluter in my city. (In seriousness the environmental movement is like the Catholic church selling indulgences).

    On the bright side, there does seem to have been a reduction in poor people burning trash to heat their homes. Not sure how they managed that, but it’s been much easier to breathe.

    Serious question – why does the corpo – environmental movement focus so much on global warming, to the detriment of other environmental indicators, like simple air pollution? The latter is much easier to demonstrate, and presumably the result should be the same.

    https://www.weforum.org/organizations/arcelormittal

  3. avatar
    Maria

    Forget. With so much CO2 in a few time we will be alliens. Cute?

  4. avatar
    Paolo

    Absolutely not. I live just outside of Milan and public transport to get into the city centre is a mess. I have no choice but to drive to work.

  5. avatar
    Javier

    Yes! The municipality is finally starting to build more cycle lanes and offer subsidies to buy electric bicycles.

  6. avatar
    Francoise

    Why not make public transport free for everyone just like in Luxembourg?

  7. avatar
    Jonathan

    I always thought Brussels had relatively low air pollution until I downloaded have an app on that tracks air quality. Clearly not enough is being done!

  8. avatar
    Xavier

    Cities across Europe need to introduce congestion charging to discourage people from driving into city centres, coupled with serious investment in public transport network.

  9. avatar
    Oskar

    More grants to install solar panels and better home insulation.

  10. avatar
    Anika

    I’m hoping the European Climate Pact will give citizens like me the tools to properly contribute to the fight against climate change, rather than having to wait for politicians to snap into action.

  11. avatar
    Manuel

    Phasing out cars which run on fossil fuel is definitely a step in the right direction.

  12. avatar
    Linda

    Danish schools have baked climate change awareness into school curricula. My kids are far more aware of how to save the planet than I was at their age!

  13. avatar
    Oreste

    No local government has the tools or funds to tackle climate change without the help of the private sector. Politicians need to design new financing models to attract investment from tech companies.

  14. avatar
    Esther

    Governments should stop offering businesses tax breaks on company cars.

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