Madrid on the path to climate neutrality

The city of Madrid has presented this week the Roadmap towards climate neutrality by 2050, a document that marks the Spanish capital’s climate commitment and sets the challenge of reducing the city’s GHG emissions by 65% in 2030 compared to 1990, and highlights the key role of EIT Climate-KIC in achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

The City of Madrid’s Roadmap to Climate Neutrality by 2050 aligns municipal policies with European and national policies, and raises the level of ambition required for cities that want to be at the forefront of this global movement. But it not only responds to the 2030/2050 emissions reduction target, but also aims to have a direct impact on improving quality of life, developing a low-carbon economy and increasing security and resilience to climate risks.

According to the new document, the climate action reflected in this Roadmap derives from the general objective established by the Madrid 360 Environmental Strategy to transform Madrid into a more environmentally sustainable city, directly affecting an improvement in the quality of life, the development of a low-carbon economy and greater security and resilience in the face of climate risks. It identifies and develops those actions particularly relevant to Madrid 360 in terms of reducing GHG emissions, with the aim of halting, reversing and mitigating the effects of Climate Change.

Despite the actions taken to date, the document emphasises the need to intensify decarbonisation measures. To this end, it provides information on the sectors and levers with the greatest potential to reduce emissions, identifying those transformative actions in municipal plans that accelerate the transition to a low-carbon model. For example, the sum of emissions abated by the residential sector (2.9 MtCO2e), followed by the services sector (2.7 MtCO2e) and transport (2.4 MtCO2e) account for 90% of the emissions to be reduced. It is in these three sectors where the administrations must intensify action, although without failing to act in other areas such as waste management.

The document has carried out an economic analysis which shows that many of the levers and actions identified, in particular those on mobility, have a balance of economic benefits (negative net cost) and a return on investment of more than 50% in the long term, driven not only by the direct savings produced but also by other co-benefits, for example, in terms of health associated with the implementation of the measures.

This Roadmap aims to guide the city of Madrid towards meeting the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, but also incorporates the vision of increasing adaptive capacity to the adverse effects of climate change and promoting resilience to climate risks.

EIT Climate-KIC’s key role

The document highlights the importance of collaboration with other local actors, regional and national administrations, and research and innovation centres as essential for the achievement of the objectives pursued.

Likewise, the Roadmap highlights the importance of international urban networks and initiatives in charge of supporting and making visible the leading role of cities in the global challenge of Climate Change. In this way, the document mentions in up to 7 occasions the role of EIT Climate-KIC in the city’s path towards decarbonisation.

Faced with the great challenge of urban transformation and the cross-cutting integration of climate action in municipal policies, the city of Madrid signed up to up to the EIT Climate-KIC’s Deep Demonstration of Healthy, Clean Cities.

In 2019, Madrid was selected as one of the 15 demonstrator cities to become carbon neutral by 2030 under the EIT Climate-KIC’s Deep Demonstration of Sustainable and Healthy Cities programme, enabling it to assess and innovate on collaborative processes and mechanisms to accelerate the transition to climate neutrality.

The Deep Demonstration of Healthy, Clean Cities is a multi-stakeholder, public-private collaboration platform that aims to co-design and promote innovative projects that accelerate the decarbonisation of cities. In this way, Madrid Deep Demonstration operates as a public-private platform The Deep Demonstration of sustainable and healthy cities is a multi-stakeholder, public-private collaboration platform that aims to co-design and promote innovative projects that accelerate the decarbonisation of cities. In this way, Madrid Deep Demonstration operates as a public-private platform serving municipal policies, which facilitates collaboration in the medium and long term, in order to structure, connect and finance a portfolio of sustainable transformation projects in the city.

For this purpose, the platform is structured in three complementary dimensions:

  1. Experimentation, is the operational dimension, dedicated to the facilitation and management of the portfolio,its areas and the projects under implementation.
  2. Platform services, the learning and communication dimension. The Madrid Deep Demonstration platform provides a series of internal services to ensure common methodologies and languages to ensure common methodologies and languages to accelerate key processes in the deployment of the experimentation portfolio.
  3. Orchestration is the dimension of institutional, political and citizen commitment, which aims to turn Madrid Deep Demonstration into a reference platform for urban innovation, for which it will be crucial to provoke deep institutional and organisational changes towards the sustainable transformation of the city.

The driving group is formed by the Madrid City Council (the challenge owner), the Technical University of Madrid and Ferrovial. The City Council is working with an interdepartmental group, Grupo Clima Interdepartamental, made up of staff from various governmental areas of the Madrid City Council to ensure that the innovation being worked on in this Deep Demo is not dissociated from the reality and actions in the city.

The Technical University of Madrid, through the Innovation and Technology for Development Centre (itdUPM), acts as a local facilitator, integrating the participation of the various stakeholders, connecting local opportunities and coordinating the development of the work with EIT Climate-KIC. The Technical University of Madrid has also set up a range of applied research communities in areas such as mobility, natural resource management or open data, which will provide scientific and technical support to Madrid Deep Demonstration.

EIT Climate-KIC’s group of international support organisations: Democratic Society, Bankers without Boundaries, Dark Matter Laboratories and Material Economics, provide the platform with expert knowledge on financing, citizen mobilisation, business model and urban strategy. Other public institutions are also involved, such as the Matadero-Madrid Centre for Contemporary Creation, which promotes awareness-raising and communication initiatives, in coordination with the strategy of the City Council’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Department. Finally, private companies such as Ferrovial, Iberdrola, Distrito Castellana Norte and Iberia, are the link with the strategies and projects of the private sector and business associations, and social initiatives, such as El Día Después, contribute to the participation of other social agents and shared learning with other cities.

The project portfolio is mainly structured along 4 lines:

  1. Sustainable mobility and promotion of safe public transport combined with remote working modalities (teleworking) and flexibility of entry and exit from work experienced in the COVID-19 pandemic period, impacting on greater well-being and improvement of personal-work conciliation.
  2. Urban naturalisation or green infrastructure through the promotion of strategic interventions for the renaturalisation of buildings and urban facilities (such as Matadero-Madrid, schools, senior centres) and public space (such as the River to Pradolongo itinerary) in multiple parts of the city using new models for their connection and citizen participation, linked to large ongoing city-scale projects such as, for example, the Metropolitan Forest.
  3. Regulatory Sandbox that consists of identifying policy barriers that hinder progress towards decarbonisation, for example when developing a new urban development such as Madrid Nuevo Norte.
  4. Neighbourhood and housing regeneration through energy efficiency, electrification of building heating systems and rehabilitation in vulnerable housing.

Economic study of the decarbonisation of Madrid

TThrough the Deep Demo platform, an economic study has been carried out to evaluate the costs and benefits of reducing emissions in each of the decarbonisation levers. The study has determined that most of these levers have a positive economic balance for the city considering both direct and indirect benefits such as the reduction of energy costs for the city, the creation of employment or the improvement of citizens’ health. Thus, the study concludes that the decarbonisation of Madrid is not only desirable in environmental terms, but that environmental improvement also leads to improvements in quality of life and economic prosperity on the road to climate neutrality.

 
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