International project AURORA launched to empower the people of Europe to take ownership of the climate change debate. Five crowdfunded demonstrators in Denmark, England, Portugal, Slovenia
and Spain will be built to reduce the carbon footprint of 7000 citizens.
According to an ambitious new research project, the climate crisis can only be tackled effectively if citizens are empowered to play a much more active role in transforming the energy sector, taking a stake in delivering the EU’s ambitious target to reduce carbon emissions by 55% within a decade. Launched in December 2021 as part of the European ‘Green Deal’ initiative, the project called AURORA (“Achieving a new European Energy Awareness”) fosters an explicitly citizen-led, bottom-up approach compared to the more top-down strategies and political statements such as at the recent government summit in Glasgow (COP26).
“It is people who make the difference in climate change”, says project coordinator Dr. Ana Belén Cristóbal López, Technical University of Madrid: “Indeed it is often the poorest in our society who stand to gain most from reducing their carbon emissions and saving money on heating, lighting and transport.”
AURORA will work with 7,000 citizens across five locations in Denmark, England, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain, to give them a greater say in how their energy is generated and used. These communities of ‘citizen scientists’ will crowd-fund local photovoltaic facilities to produce a total of ca. 1 megawatt of renewable energy. To make the climate crisis less abstract for citizens, the project will first focus on creating awareness of the ‘carbon footprints’ of our daily energy choices. The citizens will receive tailored recommendations how to make more informed energy decisions to reduce their emissions.
The results will be shared with many other citizens across Europe with the goal to start a bottom-up
movement for change. The project will therefore also advocate politically for a more citizen-driven approach to tackle the climate crisis, for instance by engaging with the Environment Programme of the United Nations and European policy makers preparing for the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt (COP27) in 2022.
The AURORA project is a part of the EU’s renowned “Horizon 2020” programme and started in December 2021. €4.6 million will be invested over the next 3.5 years.
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