Why business as usual is just not good enough

ClairCity has been modelling emissions scenarios for each of their partner cities across Europe to figure out whether they are on track to meet air quality and carbon emission targets. Ahead of the Global Strike for Climate on September 20th and Zero Emissions Day on September 21st, we speak with our head modeller Kris Vanherle from TML in Belgium about ‘business as usual’ and whether that is enough for a future with clean air.


Why business as usual is not enough
Example of emissions modelling, showing how current pledges (business as usual) will almost certainly exceed 2° C warming. Source: World bank (2012). Turn down the heat. Why a 4˚C warmer world should be avoided.


So what is business as usual?

A business as usual (BAU) scenario is used as a benchmark to assess the impact of new policy measures in alternative emissions scenarios. Typically, the BAU scenario takes a central/conservative estimate of technological changes. Most importantly, they ONLY considers confirmed policy measures taken in the past that have a prolonged effect in the future.

A typical example in the case of air quality is emission standards of new cars (the so-called EURO-standards). While this policy measure is fully implemented, the impact takes some time to come into full effect because of the slow pace of vehicle replacement.

Apart from policy measures, a BAU scenario typically takes a central/conservative estimate in new technological evolutions – think electric vehicles. As well as a central/conservative estimate in non-technical trends such as population growth and/or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. For variations in key trends it is possible to produce a range of figures, or a “bandwidth” for an expected future without further policy action.


What has your modelling revealed in ClairCity?

When assessing the BAU scenario in the ClairCity project, we’ve found that air quality will improve over time. This is due to existing policy measures coming into full effect, in combination with generic technological trends. These trends include the uptake of electric vehicles and lower domestic energy demand with new building techniques.

However, air pollution is not solved in full in the BAU scenario, which means that people will continue to suffer the health impacts. Even zero-emission electric vehicles cannot solve the problem due to particulate matter emitted from tyre and brake wear and tear. Moreover, the pace of improvement is slow and will continue to lead to exceedances of EU air quality limits in the immediate future. This leads to a twofold challenge: how to solve the immediate issue of exceedances of air quality standards; and how to develop new measures to improve air quality in the long-run.


What do you recommend we do about this?

On the basis of ClairCity findings, we recommend further (policy) action at two levels. Firstly, to ensure air quality is within current standards for human health, we need strong action to reduce pollution levels immediately. Examples of effective measures to address this are restricting access for polluting cars in city centres or banning the use of solid fuels for residential heating (and actually enforcing the ban!).

Secondly, action is also needed in the long-term as it is expected air quality standards will tighten further as evidence mounts for the adverse health effects from even low levels of pollution. To achieve compliance to more stringent targets and under continued pressure from concerned citizens, city authorities in particular will have to be more ambitious. This will require developing a more profound long-term strategy to fundamentally solve the problem of air pollution and carbon emissions.


What will that involve?

This will involve measures that have a strong yet gradual effect in the future and will impact the very core of the city. This means changing how we get around in the city, moving away from private car transport to more active travel, and requiring a fundamentally different strategy from city authorities in terms of public infrastructure investment. More ambitious urban planning and building codes for new buildings could also lead to zero-emissions of houses.

School Strike 4 Climate - Be Part of the Solution not the Pollution
School Strike 4 Climate Zagreb Demonstrations

We can see in the BAU scenario there is clear progress, but this is not enough to stop the impacts on human and planetary health.

ClairCity is urging for more action in the short-term to avoid air pollution exceedances and carbon emissions, and to achieve a future with clean air for all.




Zero Emissions Day happens each year on September 21st. It raises awareness of the need to act on air quality through a 24-hour Moratorium on the use of Fossil Fuels: http://zeroemissionsday.org/

The Global Climate Strike takes place from September 20-27th and is connected to School Strike 4 Climate (Fridays for Future). https://globalclimatestrike.net/

ClairCity has been producing resources for citizens wanting to act on these issues. Find them in our Take Action section or click on the cities above to find out how you can take action locally. We’ll be adding more resources in the coming months so stay tuned!



Lunch with the President for Aveiro region seniors

To celebrate our video activity with older people in the Aveiro Region in 2018/19, we organised a lunch with some very special guests. The President of the region (CIRA), José Ribau Esteves, along with the President of Albergaria-a-Velha Municipality, António Loureiro, had lunch with our winning video entrant, José Seixas and his wife Maria. Olga Cravo from the ClairCity project also joined the lunch, held at the “Mercado do Peixe” restaurant at the end of April 2019.

Mr Seixas, a resident of Albergaria-a-Velha, is involved in the Idade Maior Program which was how he had come to get involved in the ClairCity video project. The Idade Maior program is an initiative of the Municipality of Albergaria-a-Velha, working with people aged 55 or over.  The program aims to promote new discoveries and healthy lifestyles, and value lifelong learning and the capacities, skills, knowledge and culture of older age groups. The activities are selected to increase the self-esteem and self-confidence of seniors and promote social opportunities and the exchange of experiences.

Watch José ‘s winning video:

3ª Conferência Anual ClairCity – CIRA

Decorreu, com enorme sucesso, no passado dia 10 de abril de 2019, no edifício da Assembleia Municipal de Aveiro, a terceira Conferência Anual ClairCity, uma iniciativa conjunta entre a Universidade de Aveiro (UA) e a Comunidade Intermunicipal da Região de Aveiro (CIRA).

A conferência teve como objetivo principal sensibilizar os cidadãos da CIRA em relação à poluição atmosférica e às emissões de carbono, observando como todos contribuem para o problema e de que forma este afeta a saúde dos cidadãos e as suas vidas. Para isso, contou com a presença de diversos oradores, desde investigadores do projeto a representantes de entidades locais.

Posters de boas práticas


O sucesso deste evento só foi possível devido à forte participação dos cidadãos da CIRA. A eles e aos oradores o nosso muito obrigada!

Um especial agradecimento à Costa Nova pelas belíssimas peças oferecidas aos oradores.

Algumas fotografias do evento:

O sucesso do “ClairCity Skylines”


Lançamento do “ClairCity Skylines”

A Universidade de Aveiro e a Comunidade Intermunicipal da Região de Aveiro ‐ CIRA, realizaram, no passado dia 11 de fevereiro, na sede da CIRA, uma Conferência de Imprensa de apresentação do novo jogo “ClairCity Skylines”.
Este evento contou com a presença de vários elementos da equipa nacional do projeto, entre eles Myriam Lopes, coordenadora científica do projeto e José Eduardo Matos, secretário executivo da CIRA.


“ClairCity Skylines” na comunicação Social

Desde o seu lançamento, o jogo “ClairCity Skylines”, foi amplamente divulgado através de vários órgãos de comunicação social. Esta lista reúne as principais divulgações:

PT News, 20 fevereiro 2019

Diário de Leiria, 20 fevereiro 2019

Diário de Viseu, 20 fevereiro 2019

Diário de Coimbra, 20 fevereiro 2019

Diário de Aveiro, 20 fevereiro 2019

O Instalador, 19 fevereiro 2019

Jornal Online da Universidade de Aveiro, 19 fevereiro 2019

Notícias de Aveiro, 18 fevereiro 2019

Rádio TerraNova, 18 fevereiro 2019

Ambiente Magazine, 18 fevereiro 2019

Região de Aveiro, 15 fevereiro 2019



Solving traffic congestion in Mediterranean cities

REMEDIO is an international project focusing on high density areas surrounding the city centres in middle sized cities and towns in the Mediterranean region. The project is tackling the thorny issue of traffic congestion – how to reduce the impacts and the causes of this bane of modern urban life.

Cities and towns across the Mediterranean region typically include roads often suffering from traffic congestion. People living in these urban areas are subject to various negative impacts on their daily lives: noise, air pollution, traffic congestion, and poor availability of green spaces. Many of these problems are directly or indirectly linked to the need for mobility “imposed” or stimulated by city life, but in themselves they cause lower health outcomes, negative economic impacts and social exclusion.

The REMEDIO project provides three stages:

1) Territorial partners implement soft actions of low carbon mobility solutions (e.g. a bike sharing network in Split and Treviso; bicycle, pedestrian and parking areas in Loures; redesign of a major penetration axis with a second generation bus lane in Thessaloniki).

2) Scientific partners jointly implement an Integrated Modelling Tool (IMT), in order to assess the present and future scenarios road performance. This includes:

  • Traffic and freight transport modules based on the “Simulation of Urban Mobility” (SUMO) traffic model,
  • Pollutant emissions, Carbon footprint and Energy modules based on the “Passenger Car and Heavy Duty Emission Model (Light)” (PHEMLight) model,
  • Air dispersion module based on the ‘Pollutant dispersion in the atmosphere under variable wind conditions’ (VADIS) model,
  • Noise module based on the the “Common Noise Assessment Methods in Europe” (CNOSSOS-EU) methodology
  • Cost and Health modules based on statistical modeling to relate air pollution and meteorology to health events (deaths, hospitalization) and on the estimation of medical costs

IMT is used to simulate the pilot activities for low-carbon mobility solutions resulting in a set of scenarios representing present and future mobility and environmental settings.

3) The city communities are engaged in testing an operational path towards a participatory governance such as “horizontal condominiums” or “road contracts” that should lead to higher environmental and mobility performances.

Alongside these activities, there is an education programme led in Treviso, implemented in cooperation with the ISIDE network. This network of schools promotes energy saving and environmental awareness. Thanks to the REMEDIO project, 20 educational paths involving about 20 classes with 500 students for about 245 hours with 11 educators and teachers and 4 administrative officers were implemented over four months.

The REMEDIO consortium consists of eight partners: Regional Agency for Environment Protection in Veneto Region (Italy), Municipality of Treviso (Italy), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), Instituto Superior Técnico (Portugal), University of Seville (Spain), Metropolitan Development Agency of Thessaloniki S.A. (Greece), City of Split (Croatia), and the Municipality of Loures (Portugal) from five different Mediterranean countries.

For more information on REMEDIO (REgenerating mixed-use MED urban communities congested by traffic through Innovative low carbon mobility sOlutions), visit the project website www.remedio.interreg-med.eu

This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Já chegou o jogo ClairCity Skylines!

Como governaria a Região de Aveiro?

Já alguma vez pensou em ser Presidente de Câmara? No ClairCity Skylines tem a oportunidade de atuar em locais conhecidos da Região de Aveiro, decidindo como poderá ver e sentir a sua região nos próximos 50 anos.

Cabe-lhe a si decidir como administrar a Região de Aveiro, mantendo o ar limpo e deixando os habitantes felizes. Teste você mesmo, fazendo o download do ClairCity Skylines para Android ou iOS. Pode ainda deixar o seu comentário no Facebook.

Iremos utilizar estes jogos em seis cidades europeias, pelo que seremos capazes de ver as diferenças nas escolhas que os residentes de cada cidade fazem para resolver os problemas da poluição do ar e das alterações climáticas. Esperamos que cidades diferentes encontrem soluções diferentes – há muitas formas de melhorar o mundo e o nosso objetivo é ajudar cada cidade a encontrar a forma mais adequada à sua realidade.

Faça o download para iOS aqui.

Faça o download para Android aqui.


Oliveira do Bairro vai associar-se à Semana Europeia da Mobilidade

O Município de Oliveira do Bairro vai associar-se à Semana Europeia da Mobilidade promovendo a iniciativa Mix&Move, que contará com um vasto programa de atividades, entre 14 e 22 de setembro, que contará com concertos, “jogos sem fronteiras”, cinema, cicloturismo, o Dia Europeu Sem Carros e a Caminhada Solidária Noturna.

Jorge Pato, Vice-Presidente da Câmara Municipal de Oliveira do Bairro, explicou o conceito da iniciativa: “Aproveitámos o slogan da campanha deste ano da Semana Europeia da Mobilidade para construir uma marca do Município que se perpetue em próximas edições e que comunique a dimensão e a quantidade e variedade de iniciativas que preparámos para esta semana, numa lógica de sensibilização e animação”.

Ainda segundo o autarca, o conceito Mix&Move vai “agregar, sob a chancela da Semana Europeia da Mobilidade, o Dia Europeu Sem Carros, os Jogos Sem Fronteiras, a Festa da Juventude, com os seus concertos, e a Caminhada Solidária Noturna, criando uma dinâmica que junta vários públicos, das crianças aos seniores, em áreas tão diversas como o desporto, a música, a moda, o cinema, e até mesmo a solidariedade e a sensibilização para as causas ambientais.”

Pontos altos da iniciativa serão os “Jogos Sem Fronteiras”, nos dias 14 e 16, a atividade de cicloturismo no dia 16, as atividades dedicadas ao público sénior no dia 18, o desfile de moda promovido pela Associação Comercial e Industrial da Bairrada (ACIB), no dia 21, os concertos de dia 21, com os Wet Bed Gang, e 22, com Mastiksoul, e o Dia Europeu Sem Carros e Caminhada Solidária Noturna, no dia 22 (sábado), evento que tem ganho grande notoriedade a nível não só regional, mas também nacional. As noites de fim de semana serão encerradas por DJs, nos dias 14, 15, 16, 21 e 22.

De destacar ainda as iniciativas promovidas em parceria com a ACIB, que passam por um concurso de montras do comércio local, com a temática da Semana Europeia da Mobilidade 2018 (“Combina, recicla e move-te!”), o alargamento do horário de funcionamento com campanhas de descontos para os seus produtos e a promoção de ementas saudáveis por parte dos estabelecimentos de restauração.

Ainda no âmbito da iniciativa, a Câmara Municipal vai convidar os seus munícipes a decorarem as varandas e janelas das suas casas, sob o tema “Ambiente e Mobilidade”, oferecendo a cada residente no centro da cidade de Oliveira do Bairro um Moinho de Vento, para que seja colocado de forma visível na sua decoração. Será ainda oferecido um balão com uma luz led, para serem colocados nas casas no dia da Caminhada Solidária Noturna (22 de setembro), uma vez que as luzes da cidade estarão apagadas, de forma a potenciar o efeito visual do evento.

À exceção do Dia Europeu Sem Carros, que volta a ter como palco a Av. Dr. Abílio Pereira Pinto, e o ciclo de cinema na Biblioteca Municipal, todas as restantes atividades vão realizar-se na Praça do Município, junto ao edifício da Câmara Municipal, que contará, entre 14 e 22 de setembro, com tasquinhas e animação diária, que passará por atividades desportivas e aulas de ginásio (aeróbica, fitness, Aero Combat, etc) para além dos espetáculos atrás referidos.

As inscrições para o Cicloturismo Mix&Move e Caminhada Solidária Noturna podem ser feitas através do preenchimento de formulários online, disponíveis através dos seguintes links http://bit.ly/2LbSUnD e http://bit.ly/2nJwKQo.

Sobre a Semana Europeia da Mobilidade

A Semana Europeia da Mobilidade, que vai já na 17.ª edição, realiza-se anualmente entre os dias 16 e 22 de setembro e faz parte do calendário de eventos e atividades não só do Município de Oliveira do Bairro, mas também de muitas cidades e vilas de toda a Europa e também já de outros continentes. Em Portugal, que participa na iniciativa europeia desde a primeira hora, tem-se vindo a gerar um grande movimento de adesão, não só por parte do público, como através de um número crescente de parceiros que colaboram ativamente com as autarquias envolvidas.

A edição deste ano tem como slogan “Combina e Move-te!”, inspirado no tema da multimodalidade, que aproveita as vantagens específicas de cada modo de transporte como uma mais-valia e que, em combinação entre si, podem oferecer soluções de transporte mais eficientes.

Fonte: https://www.cm-olb.pt/PageGen.aspx?WMCM_PaginaId=29859&pastaNoticiasId=29856&noticiaId=48656

ClairCity annual conference 2018


The ClairCity annual conference 2018 took place in our partner city of Sosnowiec, Poland on 25th April 2018.

It was attended by a range of local, national and international organisations and interested participants, as well as our ClairCity team and External Advisory Board members. The day was split into four sections, covering different issues. Click on the links below to see the slides from each presenter. These links cover two of the four sessions from the day. A full selection of all presentations will be available shortly.

European and international experiences

The (re)emerging problem of solid fuel use and PM emissions in Bristol and the UK (Bristol City Council) Andy Edwards

Pro-environmental behavioural change: Role of personalised informational intervention (iSCAPE project) Muhammad Adnan

Integrated air pollution management in Delhi city (Indian Institute of Technology) Mukesh Khare Residential wood combustion in the Nordic area (NILU) Susana Lopez-Aparicio

ClairCity project presentations

The ClairCity process – bringing the evidence together & ClairCity Skylines app. Enda Hayes (NO GIFs)

GreenANTS app. Mirjam Fredriksen

Delphi process and citizen voice. Jim Longhurst

Modelling behaviour in heating and transport. Kris Vanherle


Our local contacts in Sosnowiec made this short report about the event.