While European countries have typically been perceived as more environmentally progressive and more in favor of climate change legislation, the recent breakdown of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen left much to be desired in political commitments to emissions reduction.
In a move that mirrors the earlier pledges of Seattle, Vancouver, Sweden and Denmark to become carbon neutral, the Covenant of Mayors (Europe's corollary to the American Mayors Climate Protection Center) has pledged to reduce overall carbon emissions 20% by 2020. Such a reduction in ten years is substantial, not least because the Covenant of Mayors represents over 500 European cities and over 120 million people in 36 countries, according to the Edie Legal Resource Center. One disticntion of the Covenant of Mayors is that rather than acting against official policy of the federal government, as the Mayors CPC was forced to do during the Bush Administration, the Covenenta of Mayors its itself an initiative of the European Commission and as such has the full range of EU expertise and funding at its disposal.
Like the United States, the EU has reconized the disproportionate role of cities in contributing to climate change. As over 80% of all energy is consumed in cities, this is where any efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions much start. Hopefully, this renewed committment by the EU to reduce carbon emissions will help spur greater investment in the green fleet technologies to create a large number of green jobs.