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04 May 2010

More than 500 European cities sign up to 2020 carbon pledge

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Latest round of signatories to the Covenant of the Mayors takes number of cities committed to producing climate change action plans to more than 1,600

More than 500 European mayors will this afternoon sign up to a high-profile agreement, pledging to cut carbon emissions from their cities by more than 20 per cent by the end of the decade.

At a ceremony at the European Parliament in Brussels attended by EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso and Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, officials from more than 500 cities will sign the Covenant of the Mayors, committing themselves to a series of measures designed to accelerate emission reductions.

Under the terms of the agreement, the mayors will make a formal commitment to at least match the EU target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. They will also commit to measure their current carbon emissions and develop an official Sustainable Energy Action Plan detailing how they intend to deliver the promised cuts.

The latest round of signatories takes the number of cities supporting the agreement to more than 1,600 in 36 countries, which combined house 120 million citizens.

Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for energy, hailed the covenant as "a key element" in the EU's climate change strategy. "Regions and cities are demonstrating that climate mitigation is one of the best economic recovery strategies," he added.

"Investment in the reduction of CO2 emissions and energy efficiency creates jobs which by their nature cannot be delocalised."

The agreement is intended to encourage sustainable best practices across a wide range of cities and is likely to drive investment in urban renewable energy projects, such as district heating and waste-to-energy systems.


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