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On the 14th of October, C-Track 50 joined forces with the PROSPECT 2030 (Interreg) and E-Fix projects (H2020) to host a virtual Q&A session for the European Week of Regions and Cities. Project partners invited two experts to discuss the role of regions in the EU’s carbon neutrality objective: Przemyslaw Komarnicki, Professor working at the Fraunhofer Institute of Energy Systems and Infrastructures Research, and Michele Sansoni, Project Adviser at the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME).

Mr. Sansoni, representing the EU perspective in the debate, reminded the audience that the European Green Deal introduced by the European Commission earlier this year will be a crucial tool to achieve a fair and climate-neutral economy by 2050, where economy and growth are decoupled from the use of resources. Sansoni also highlighted the role of cities and regions as enablers of energy and climate targets, through the development of ambitious and innovative projects on the ground. As explained by Mr Sansoni, these projects would not be possible without securing funding and investments first. EASME thus aims to help local and regional authorities in triggering more green financing, avoiding from relying solely on grants but also looking at new innovative instruments available on the market. 

On the other hand, Prof. Komarnicki provided a more technical approach to the topic of carbon neutrality, although he also insisted on the social dimension, as behavioural change and social acceptance will be key to achieve it. Management of the demand side and creating (flexible) energy hubs are some other recommendations of the professor to make carbon neutral regions a reality. “A low-carbon economy is also an economy where all citizens can pay for their green energy” he added, “meaning we should find a compromise between possibilities made from technical innovations and the comfort and affordability of the people”.

With more than 50 participants, the session was highly successful and addressed the various dimensions of the topic, from technologies to financing, including social inclusion and acceptation. A very powerful conclusion emerged from the debate: everyone has a role to play in carbon neutrality, and the role of regions as facilitators is definitely a crucial one.

You can now watch the recording of the session here.