Op-Ed

Acting against climate change: “it’s politics, stupid”

In Chantilly on 8 and 9 July, more than 150 decision-makers from the public and business sectors, researchers and scientists, and representatives of civil society met to commit to building a low-carbon city for all.

This first University of the City of Tomorrow (UVD) was 24 hours during which they expressed their convictions, shared their questions, opened a rich dialogue, and proposed solutions for living in or financing this city that we must transform or build, as well as for reducing its indirect emissions (because yes, at the UVD, we are not afraid of scope 3!). This project was born out of a meeting between the Palladio Foundation and La Fabrique de la Cité: when we first sketched out this project nearly two years ago with Bertrand de Feydeau, President of the Palladio Foundation, we said to ourselves that our cities deserved and needed this ambitious, partnership-based vision.

Why did exceptional guests not only answer “yes” but also say “yes” to the commitments of the UVD charter as well as to the innovative approach of make.org aiming to make their organisations’ employees (companies, public authorities) and, more broadly, the citizens react? Why did President Biden’s special climate envoy John Kerry, on his way to meet the Russian president in Moscow, stop in Chantilly to tell the assembled leaders of his conviction that action was needed, to accelerate and to reaffirm his belief that we will succeed in meeting the challenge if we give ourselves the means? The extreme events – heat domes, floods in Belgium and Germany – speak for themselves. The other reason concerns the missing piece of the edifice: the ambitious objectives presented yesterday by the European Commission are a reminder that the policies aimed at building social acceptance of the measures to be taken do not exist at the moment. France has had painful experience of this and the Gilets jaunes are on everyone’s mind, well beyond our borders. We know what to do. The question of “how to do it” remains and it is to this difficult task that the UVD has started to work.

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La Fabrique de la Cité

La Fabrique de la Cité is a think tank dedicated to urban foresight, created by the VINCI group, its sponsor, in 2010. La Fabrique de la Cité acts as a forum where urban stakeholders, whether French or international, collaborate to bring forth new ways of building and rebuilding cities.

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