Envisaging New Connections

NetZeroCities supports cities as they commit to ambitious action to get to climate neutrality. In supporting cities to develop and enact ambitious climate action plans, the Cities Mission aims to stimulate new ways of working and connecting, across sectors and institutions. The Climate City Contract (CCC) model helps cities to engage with stakeholders and make systemic change possible – and the NetZeroCities Portal helps cities to put that model into action.

With Mission Cities committed to engaging in the CCC process that incorporates many other aspects of their existing climate planning and reporting, we see a significant opportunity to enable connections with other development and reporting services and initiatives within the public and private sector.

Improving climate data management is a key part of this story. The current approach to climate data at city level is fragmented and uncoordinated, with multiple reporting requirements for cities, and inconsistent terminology hindering connectivity between support platforms and services.

A Framework for Collaboration

The NetZeroCities Portal supports cities as they engage with the Climate City Contract process, helping them find their way through the steps of creating their Commitments, Action Plans, and Investment Plans. Many resources are available for cities in the Portal: our Climate Transition Map, guidance documents and templates supporting the development of Commitments, Action Plans, and Investment Plans, and much more. Our current CCC action plan template supports cities to create a portfolio of actions inclusive of cross-sectoral impact pathways on Built Environment, Energy Systems, Mobility, Nature-Based Solutions and Waste, through collaboration and innovation with stakeholders at multiple governance levels.

The Portal is also the space where cities submit their CCCs for feedback from NetZeroCities and review by the European Commission. For each Mission City, we have built the City Dossier – a detailed dataset on the city’s vision, GHG emissions, political status, investment needs, capacity building priorities, stakeholders, collaborations, skills, and barriers. This is updated with the CCCs submitted by the cities, including imports from third parties on GHG emissions, such as Covenant of Mayors and CDP/ICLEI.

We have also developed a suite of recommended additional co-benefit indicators on Biodiversity, Economy, Environment/Public Health, Resource Efficiency and Social Inclusion. These are not yet finalised but provide a wide variety of measures by which cities could potentially monitor and report on the co-benefits of climate action.

NetZeroCities’ Starting Points

  • We want to create an open API to the NetZeroCities portal, by which the city can connect any of their private and public partners to data from their CCC action plans and other existing city-level datasets which we have collated. This could enable:
  • Cities to use various digital tools offered by academia or private/public sector climate-tech firms to support their action plan development, including scenario modelling, impact pathway options, trajectory planning, carbon budgets and cost-benefit analysis.
  • Cities to build connections between their planning and reporting requirements for the Mission and for other public agencies, initiatives, and projects.
  • Ease of use of the mandatory reporting data on GHG emissions, via 2-way connections with the Covenant of Mayors and CDP/ICLEI reporting platforms, to avoid duplication of data entry and enable data to be used across different systems.
  • Flexibility and adaption of use of additional indicators, meaning the city could select from the recommended list of indicators by NetZeroCities (such as Biodiversity, Economy, Environment/Public Health, Resource Efficiency and Social Inclusion) but equally incorporate any of their other reporting requirements, at the national, regional or European levels.
  • Cities to take decisions more quickly thanks to the potential future harmonisation of the data(sets) used by providers, which will eventually enable them to act at a much faster pace.

Throughout all relationships with partners, in both public and private sector, we want to ensure:

  • The city will always explicitly authorise the use of their data and will maintain ownership and control of their action planning and reporting data at all points.
  • All partners are committed to technical interoperability, and support convergence where possible on terminology and classification of climate actions and reporting.

Get Involved!

In order to make progress we need to get widespread input and involvement from everyone working in this area. We therefore intend to develop these connections via upcoming NetZeroCities ‘hackathons’, open to any Mission City and any organisation (public, private or NGO sector) currently working with a Mission City, in late 2023/early 2024. If you are interested in attending the hackathons, please contact us via hello@netzerocities.eu