Climate Neutral Week: A Greek City’s Journey to Becoming Climate Neutral

Cities account for only 4% of the EU’s land area, but they are home to 75% of EU citizens. They are very energy intensive, consuming over 65% of the world’s energy and are responsible for more than 70% of the global CO2 emissions*. Thus, cities can and should play a key role in achieving climate neutrality – one of the main goals of the EU Green Deal. The city of Kozani in Greece, one of the pilot cities in the European project SCALIBUR and a lighthouse in the HOOP project, has been selected among the European Mission 100 cities to become climate neutral and smart by 2030.

The region of Western Macedonia and its capital, Kozani have entered a post-lignite era. To achieve the transition towards climate neutrality by 2030, Kozani will be working on innovative strategies and solutions in four key areas: transport and smart mobility, energy efficiency, circular economy & resource management and digital transformation.

The first Climate Neutral Week in Kozani, which took place between 30 May and 5 June 2022, offered an opportunity to accelerate the transition on a city level through engaging key stakeholders and citizens. During the week, six hybrid multi-stakeholder events attracted local, regional, and national stakeholders offering a space to exchange on barriers and opportunities presented by the transition to climate neutrality. The events touched upon different topics like best practices for waste management, smart mobility, clean energy, digital transformation, sustainable tourism, and waste valorisation from the agricultural sector. One of the events focused entirely on financial aspects, aiming at identifying suitable financial tools and exploring the investment potential for the deployment of innovative valorisation technologies in the region of Western Macedonia.

The Climate Neutral Week also focused on raising awareness among Kozani’s citizens regarding the topic of circular bio-economy and supporting them to get a clearer understanding of how they can directly contribute to making their city more circular. Citizens had the opportunity to talk and engage with ‘local champions’ – active citizens and social start-ups who are promoting the concepts of reuse, recycle and upcycle.

Additionally, several interactive citizen events took place on the weekend, including an informative poster exhibition, games on sorting waste properly, and Do-It-Yourself workshops. Over 1000 children joined the week’s events, including sessions such as how to make beeswax as an alternative to packaging or producing ink from leftover food.

The Climate Neutral Week was organised by The Cluster of Bioeconomy and Environment of Western Macedonia (CluBE) together with the CSCP and in collaboration with DIADYMA, a waste management company and the municipality of Kozani organised a series of events and activities.

For further questions, please contact Dimitra Ioannidou.

*European Commission