Rotterdam’s Climate Agreement includes plans for large-scale solutions such as offshore windmills, a hydrogen network and insulation of social housing, as well as smaller-scale initiatives such as car-sharing and cycling classes for children.
The mayor of Rotterdam has described how the city created its Climate Agreement in partnership with over 100 private companies and organisations in a bid to halve CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Ahmed Aboutaleb, mayor of the City of Rotterdam, notes that: “Rotterdam faces a big task ahead.” Ultimately, the city is aiming to be 100 per cent energy-neutral by 2050.
The energy supply in the Netherlands is 93 per cent based on fossil fuels today and Rotterdam’s industry and port contribute around 20 per cent of the national CO2 emissions. Further, Rotterdam is situated in one of the lowest-lying river deltas in the world, making it particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Research conducted by the municipality finds that three-quarters of citizens in Rotterdam are worried about the effects of climate change.
Aboutaleb said: “That is why the city government, with an active role from vice-mayor for sustainability, clean air and energy transition Arno Bonte, took the initiative to make a climate agreement with over 100 private companies and social organisations."
For six months, and under the leadership of independent chairs, the private companies and organisations took part in five climate round tables with the city, based around specific themes: port & industry; built environment; mobility; clean energy; and consumption.
The partners included petrochemical companies, energy infrastructure providers and private banks, as well as social housing corporations, Erasmus University and mobility start-ups. Over 100 pupils from schools and the university also participated and shared their ideas.
Rotterdam’s industry and port contribute around 20 per cent of the national CO2 emissions.
The roundtables resulted in the city’s Climate Agreement, launched in November, which includes 49 ‘climate deals’ that aim to boost the reduction of greenhouse gases and stimulate a CO2-free economy. The Climate Agreement includes plans for large-scale solutions such as offshore windmills, a hydrogen network and insulation of social housing, as well as smaller-scale initiatives such as car-sharing and cycling classes for children.
“Our agenda shows that if private and public partners work closely together, we can make progress. I am very pleased with the constructive discussions that have led to this result. Now is the time to act,” Aboutaleb said in a blog post on C40 Cities.
He added: “We want to use the energy transition not only to reduce CO2 emissions but also to create new economic and labour opportunities. In order to do so, educational institutions and private companies must work together to develop the 21st-century skills that are needed.”
A project called H-vision will focus on large-scale production of ‘blue hydrogen’ from natural and refinery gas. There will also be a drive to increase production of green hydrogen, for which larger electrolysers are needed, as well as to integrate the electricity produced.
Bouwinvest, a Dutch real estate investor with around 1,200 residences, two office buildings and two shopping centres in Rotterdam, has pledged that all properties will run on renewable energy by 2045. It will also develop new green mobility solutions.
A project called H-vision will focus on large-scale production of ‘blue hydrogen’ from natural and refinery gas.
Under one of the climate agreements, all suitable roofs in business and industrial areas will be equipped with solar panels and, where possible, will deploy wind energy. Independent specialists will advise building managers and business associations.
The Erasmus University has pledged to be CO2-neutral by 2024. This process includes mapping the ecological footprint of the university, a roadmap to a sustainable campus, and a working group that focuses on the sustainability of education and uses the campus as a living lab for applied research.
Further, food leftovers will be offered to students in order to decrease food waste and each week students can receive a package of fruit and vegetables in exchange for three hours of volunteering.
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