EU-Japan 100 Cities Event on Climate Action: Day1
25 and 26 January 2023
On 27 May 2021, the European Union (EU) and Japan announced a Green Alliance to accelerate their respective transition towards a climate-neutral, circular and resource-efficient economy over the coming decades. The alliance is the first of its kind for the EU and represents an important milestone for the implementation of the European Green Deal and Japan’s Green Growth Strategy. “The EU-Japan 100 Cities Event on Climate Action” contributed to the discussion on how the EU and Japan could enhance cooperation at city level in order to meet the shared goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. This event, organised by Delegation of the European Union to Japan (EUD) and IGES was held on 25 and 26 January aiming to facilitate exchange between EU and Japanese cities through sharing good practices and solutions taken by leading cities.
The threats posed by climate change are increasing all over the world, and cities are at the forefront of increasing loss and damage incurred by flooding, drought, extreme heat, sea-level rise, and more. Cities represent the level of government closest to citizens and are the first to witness and address the impacts of climate change. Thus, both the EU and Japan recognize the important role cities play to engage their communities to implement climate ambitions, with timely action to reach the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Globally, cities consume more than 65% of the world’s energy, accounting for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions. It is therefore crucial that cities act as experimentation and innovation ecosystems to help all others in their transition to become climate-neutral by 2050. Given the importance of cities, both the EU and Japan are supporting local governments’ efforts to raise their ambitions and promote local climate actions to achieve zero carbon emission goals by 2050.
On 28 April 2022, the European Commission (EC) announced the 100 EU cities that will participate in the EU Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030, the so-called Cities Mission. The EU mission selected 100 smart and carbon-neutral cities in European regions and 12 cities from associated countries. It is expected that more cities will follow the selected frontrunner cities and pursue carbon neutrality by 2050.
In June 2021, the Government of Japan developed the Regional Decarbonization Roadmap in cooperation with sub-regional governments, setting out priority measures and actions to achieve zero carbon such as the creation of at least 100 “leading decarbonized regions” by fiscal 2030. In April 2022, the Ministry of the Environment selected the first 26 Decarbonization Leading Areas (DLAs) based on the “Regional Decarbonization Roadmap (RDR)” which includes a target to create more than 100 DLAs by 2025.
The selected cities/areas are expected to implement proposed actions to achieve net-zero target, share their experience with other cities, and pursue carbon neutrality at least by 2050.