Smart cities slashing CO2 emissions in Europe

  • July 19, 2023
  • William Payne

Smart cities are driving strong savings in carbon dioxide emissions across Europe, according to British research firm Juniper Research. According to Juniper, smart cities will slash CO2 emissions by 53 percent over the next five years.

The firm finds that currently smart city technologies are saving 161 million metric tonnes of CO2 throughout Europe. In the next five years, this saving in emissions will rise to 247 MMT, an increase in CO2 savings of 53 percent.

Reducing emissions is a key driver for smart city deployments, with environmental sentiment running high in Europe. In some European cities, reducing emissions has become a key battleground, with London in particular pursuing an aggressive CO2 reduction target which has led to considerable political resistance from its outer boroughs and popular objections to the smart technology being deployed to implement the reduction targets.

According to Juniper, cost pressures prevalent in the European energy sector mean that governments should focus on strategies enabling both cost reduction and renewable energy deployments, such as greater use of AI in smart grid systems.   The research firm has also announced that Berlin is the smartest city in Europe. In a ranking of smart cities in Europe, Berlin’s focus on micromobility and transport infrastructure gave it the edge over London, which came in second place. According to the report authors, Berlin has adopted a joined-up approach to building a smart city. This includes an app for all transit city-wide, a renewable energy approach and a big push on infrastructure for transport sharing.

Juniper places London in second place, while Spain won two places in the top five, with Barcelona coming third and Madrid fifth in the ranking. Fourth place was awarded to Rome.

The roll-out of the Jelbi Mobility as a Service (MaaS) app played a major role in Juniper awarding Berlin first place. According to the Hampshire-based research firm, the app has succeeded in unifying public and private transit in one app.

Research co-author Nick Maynard said: “Europe, as the birthplace of MaaS, has seen significant development and deployment of the concept over the past few years. As such, transit in leading European smart cities is a central part of future strategies for smart city development – cities aiming to follow this approach must take a coordinated method to transit; embracing the benefits of MaaS in reducing congestion.”