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An aerial view of Vienna reveals rows upon rows of trees intertwined with the urban environment

Vienna unveils comprehensive Smart Climate Strategy for the next 20 years

Vienna unveils comprehensive Smart Climate Strategy for the next 20 years

Despite constant strides in terms of sustainable policy, the Austrian capital wants to revamp its efforts to reach climate neutrality by 2040

Last week, city officials in Vienna announced their revamped climate strategy to tackle the mammoth goal of achieving CO2 neutrality in the next 20 years. The document is called Smart KLIMA City Wien and is an updated version of the previous Smart City concept, with a heavy emphasis on climate goals, coupled with a social policy.

Smart KLIMA City Wien is entering its final stages and the local council will vote on its adoption in late February. Mayor Michael Ludwig explained that the main concept behind the new plan is to help Vienna remain the world’s most liveable city in the future.

While, Vienna definitely has a lot of great things going for it, according to 2021’s Global Liveability Index, the city was absent from the top ten list.

Nevertheless, the Austrian capital has been making great strides in terms of urban greenery, sustainable mobility and CO2 reduction. In fact, it has already managed to reduce emissions by 40%, using 1990 CO2 levels as a baseline.

This makes Vienna the federal state with the lowest CO2 emissions per capita in the whole of Austria, despite being the smallest and most densely populated one. Evidently, the Austrian capital does not plan on resting on its laurels and is instead making a concerted push towards reaching the 2040 carbon-neutrality milestone with flying colours.

Another major aspect of the new strategy is social justice, in particular the part where climate policy affects people with low incomes, the elderly and the vulnerable. Mayor Ludwig explained: “Ultimately, people and their needs are the focus of this holistic climate protection policy, from which all Viennese will benefit: be it new jobs, new opportunities, neighbourhoods worth living in or even more sustainability."

Roadmap and target areas: This is how Vienna becomes climate-friendly

The Vienna Climate Roadmap contains over 100 measures that are constantly being supplemented and adapted. At the same time, all measures are underpinned by seven broad values, aimed at shaping the ideal image of the end of the road for climate mitigation.

Here they are:

  • Take everyone with you: climate-friendly policies that take social justice into account;
  • Viennese success stories: Vienna uses the initial advantage through excellent infrastructure, a functioning administration and a high level of social cohesion;
  • Use market opportunities: strengthen the regional economy with sustainable innovations;
  • More Green Jobs: create impactful new profession(s);
  • Actively involving citizens: shaping the future together;
  • Viennese climate modernity: integrating science, art and culture;
  • Doing our own homework: finding good examples.

All measures would then fall into one or several target areas, outlined for potential reduction of CO2 emissions. Here are the target areas and some examples of concrete measures:

  • Energy (photovoltaic offensive, district heating, district cooling);
  • Mobility (expansion of public transport, development and of e-ride sharing offers, city of short distances, hydrogen drive);
  • Buildings (subsidies, simplifications for photovoltaic systems, sustainable construction);
  • Economy and work (climate budget, material efficiency, sharing economy);
  • Zero waste and circular economy (expansion of repair network, waste avoidance);
  • Adaptation to climate change (even more green space, greening and shading);
  • Urban ecology, environment and water (planning of new districts in compact construction and adequate urban density);
  • Health and social inclusion (strengthening health literacy, building new health facilities using zero-energy construction);
  • Education, science and research (expansion of educational districts, new energy self-sufficient school buildings);
  • Digitization (basic digital rights, promotion of digital skills);
  • Participation, commitment and culture (cultural participation, Vienna climate team).

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