Porto Climate Pact mobilizes European cities to lead in the environmental transition

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Filipa Brito

The commitment is Porto’s, but its scope is enhanced by bringing the whole of society together around ambitious goals concerning carbon neutrality. This week, the vice-mayor of the Municipality of Porto presented the Porto Climate Pact at the “Getting Fit for 55” meeting and at the General Assembly of the Eurocities Network.

“The European Ecologic Pact is not a problem, but the solution to the current crisis, and we, as cities, stand firm in our determination to speed up its implementation”. Thus began Filipe Araújo’s intervention that led him to participate in the “Getting Fit for 55 and Beyond” initiative.

The vice mayor of Porto City Hall has no doubt that “regarding the climate crisis, we must act together”. And that is why the Porto Climate Pact was signed, “an initiative through which the Municipality intends to bring society together in a commitment to ambitious goals in terms of carbon neutrality”.

With about a hundred signatories, including institutions, academies, companies and citizens, the Porto Climate Pact was presented in January and is part of this “Fit for 55”, a pack of new legislative proposals to help countries of the European Union to cut the greenhouse gas emissions to at least 55% by 2030.

The online initiative included the participation of other European Mayors and decision-makers in sharing actions and solutions so that the review of legislation in the areas of climate and energy ensures equitable conditions to comply with the European Ecological Pact.

Filipe Araújo sees “Fit for 55” as a “great opportunity for Europe to speed up the transition and maximize the benefits of climate action, energy independence and social equity”. “We have to accelerate together”, he highlighted, with the certainty that “cities can do better”.

At the “Getting Fit for 55” conference, the councilman responsible for the Environment and Climate Transition shared how “100% of the energy we consume in municipal units [of Porto] comes from renewable sources” or how “we are investing in the production of our own energy through solar panels in 29 buildings, many of them schools”. Filipe Araújo also mentioned the work of Águas e Energias do Porto, responsible for the energy transition in municipal housing.

For the vice mayor of Porto, “It is crucial to guarantee proper access and absorption at the local level of all financing instruments, national or European”. Filipe Araújo mentioned projects such as the new subway lines and the BRT, in addition to the trend towards free public transports, able to respond to one of the “structural problems” of people living in the city: mobility. “As cities, we have a holistic view of the needs of our citizens and our power to fulfill those dreams is closer to the needs and wishes of the population”, he concluded.

Cooperation and commitment of big cities

The Municipality of Porto, as president of the Eurocities Environment Forum, was also invited to participate in the General Assembly of this network of large European cities, where the vice mayor took the theme “Climate Leadership in Cities – Cooperation and Commitment”.

Filipe Araújo reaffirmed Porto’s main priorities: the climate, natural-based solutions, and the circular economy. After having surpassed the goal to reduce the carbon footprint proposed for 2020, the Municipality assumes to reach neutrality in 2030.

Measures such as the option for renewable energies, the Terminal Intermodal de Campanhã or STCP’s “green” buses allow for a reduction in the emission of more than 30 tons of carbon dioxide.

Porto’s vice mayor showed Eurocites how the city is investing in adapting to natural based solutions like Parque Central da Asprela or the rehabilitation of water lines.