ICOS Cities key objectives

ICOS Cities

Urban areas contribute to a large share of global and European fossil fuel emissions - cities are therefore at the heart of emission reduction efforts. The ICOS Cities Horizon 2020 project develops systematic observations of greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas.

On this page:

ICOS Cities brings together and evaluates the most innovative measurement approaches of greenhouse gas emissions in densely populated urban areas. The project supports the European Green Deal and aims at developing useful tools and services for cities in support of their local climate action plans.


  • State-of-the-art instrumentation and innovative developments
  • Internationally agreed and standardised measurement protocols to the improvement of which the project will also contribute
  • Europe’s top scientists from prominent research organisations
  • An international Science Advisory Board gathering some of the world’s top-notch researchers in the field of greenhouse gas measurements in cities


  • Co-designing the services based on users’ needs: user involvement e.g. through interviews of city officials and policy-makers, co-design workshops etc.
  • Results of attitude surveys of the pilot city citizens feed into the solutions and concepts created
  • Policy briefs and guidelines for cities and national policy-makers
  • Creation of educational materials for schools

ICOS Cities


Three cities,Paris, Munich and Zurich, were selected as pilot cities for the project, by an international panel of scientists. The selection was made based on the cities' climate action plans, current policies and climate ambition, in addition to their contribution to improve the existing greenhouse gas inventories

The project closely collaborates with the cities in order to design relevant climate services and tools based on the city needs.

12 additional cities covering the European continent are supporting the project: Antwerp, Barcelona, Basel, Brno, Athens, Copenhagen, Heidelberg, Helsinki, Krakow, Rome, Rotterdam and Porto.  The cities provide a diversity of profiles in terms of geography, population, and economic activity. They give feedback and share experiences throughout the project, while highlighting the needs of European cities in terms of climate action.


EU flagPAUL, Pilot Applications in Urban Landscapes - Towards integrated city observatories for greenhouse gases (ICOS Cities), has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No 101037319.