The German city of Essen was chosen as Europe's 'Green Capital' in 2017, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on Wednesday.
The European Commission awarded the title for Essen's success in transforming from a heavily polluted mining center to a clean city and green economy.
Essen is a city in the North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. Its population of approximately 600,000 makes it the ninth-largest city in Germany.
"The greening of cities is essential to achieve the key goal of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which is to limit the global average temperature rise to as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius," the EC's statement read.
Additionally, the role of green cities is significant given that most of the world’s energy is produced in urban areas, along with most of the greenhouse gas emissions.
- From coal rich city to green city
The German city started large-scale coal production in the early 19th century.
According to the announcement, the decline of coal and steel industries in the region led to the closure of the last colliery in 1986. The city then successfully restructured into a services and financial center.
The city of Essen recently committed to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020 over 1990 levels.
Emissions have already dropped by 29.5 per cent in 2011 in relation to 1990, exceeding the German national average reduction.
According to the European Commission website, Essen was singled out for its exemplary practices in protecting and enhancing nature and biodiversity and in efforts to reduce water consumption.
Additionally, the city participates in a variety of networks and initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve the city’s resilience in the face of climate change.
Essen (Germany),‘s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands), Nijmegen (Netherlands) and Umea (Sweden) were shortlisted from 12 entries across Europe.
By Gulsen Cagatay