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Municipal Climate Conference 2022 – Federal Climate Action Minister Robert Habeck praises German municipalities’ contribution to climate action
Ten German municipalities are today receiving awards for their climate action projects. The winners of the Climate-Active Municipality competition will be announced at the Municipal Climate Conference “Greenhouse gas neutrality in municipalities – Challenges, Ambitions, Actions”, which is taking place in Berlin on 21 and 22 November 2022.
Federal Economic Affairs and Climate Action Minister Robert Habeck said: “Climate action needs active engagement at all levels, whether global or local. At international level, COP27 has just succeeded in setting the right course for climate action. Today the focus is on local engagement in Germany’s towns, municipalities and rural districts, which are showing ambition, creativity and determination in their concrete efforts to push climate action. The prizewinning municipalities are prime examples of how climate action can improve the quality of life, increase harmony and enhance regional added value on the ground.”
The Climate-Active Municipality competition is held annually by the German Institute of Urban Affairs with support from the National Climate Action Initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. The Association of German Cities, the Association of German Rural Districts and the German Association of Towns and Municipalities are cooperating partners. The competition is aimed at towns, rural districts and municipalities. The jury is made up of representatives of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, the Federal Environment Agency and the municipal umbrella associations. This year, entries were welcomed in four categories: “Resource and energy efficiency”, “Climate-friendly mobility”, “Climate-friendly administration” and the special category “Climate action and nature conservation”. There were 107 entries.
The winning municipalities:
Viersen District (North Rhine-Westphalia): Central District Archive – Sustainable combination of the historical and the modern
In the Central District Archive in Viersen, the historical collection is housed in a future-oriented new build. By cutting the use of resources and energy and recycling construction materials, in keeping with the circular value creation principle, Viersen District is setting standards in the field of sustainable construction. Moreover, the combination of photovoltaics, solar thermal systems and thermal ice storage ensures the building’s efficient, climate-friendly operation.
Lörrach District (Baden-Württemberg): Intermunicipal heat planning
With its project “Intermunicipal heat planning”, Lörrach District has developed a strategic instrument that takes account of the potential of all 35 municipalities in the district for a climate-neutral heat supply by 2040 and supports the municipalities in the heating transition. The participatory process of heat planning involving the 35 municipalities and other stakeholders and the resulting heat plan set an example for districts and regions across Germany.
Mindelheim (Bavaria): Energy-saving renovation of the Maria-Theresia-Freibad (open-air swimming pool)
When renovating this open-air swimming pool, the town of Mindelheim prioritised climate action. The renovation project was an outstanding example of how to combine comprehensive energy-saving and energy-efficiency measures, the use of renewables and the careful management of resources. As a result, operation of the municipal open-air swimming pool is virtually climate-neutral.
Climate-friendly mobility category
Darmstadt, City of Science (Hesse): Lincoln area – Mobility that moves everyone!
The Lincoln area of Darmstadt, a City of Science, shows how climate-friendly mobility can be successfully planned and strategically implemented in a local neighbourhood. All relevant stakeholders were involved in an intensive participatory process. Cutting the number of parking spaces, expanding traffic-calming zones in the neighbourhood and increasing alternative mobility services reduce dependency on cars and thus make an outstanding contribution to improved quality of life and climate action.
Pinneberg District (Schleswig-Holstein): New electric fleet – smart and digital
In order to implement its electric vehicle fleet, Pinneberg District developed a persuasive all-round solution with cleverly coordinated elements – from smart booking software and the development of the carport area with electric charging points and photovoltaics on the roof to training courses and driving safety training to improve staff motivation. The smart fleet saves resources, is climate-friendly and is a good example of the mobility transition in practice.
Bielefeld (North Rhine-Westphalia): Car-free for three months
With its project “Car-free for three months”, the Bielefeld is going further than just providing information or appealing to the population, by making participants an attractive offer to get to know and try out climate-friendly mobility. Various mobility options are on offer thanks to cooperation between the city authorities, the climate action advisory council and several mobility providers. At the same time, an ongoing support framework is in place to help promote a car-free everyday life. Sharing the experiences in public and with the public encourages others to join in.
Category 3: Climate-friendly administration
Nohfelden (Saarland): Municipal administration on course for climate action
The municipality of Nohfelden is committed and ambitious in convincingly positioning itself as a “municipal administration on course for climate action”. From procurement to digitalisation, new builds and renovation to mobility and the energy supply – the town consistently aims to cut CO2 emissions in municipal activities and is setting a good example on the way towards being a climate-friendly administration. The organisation of core teams, in which staff work together – with the mayor – across disciplines, is a major factor for the success of the process.
Münster (North Rhine-Westphalia): Climate-neutral administration 2030
With its conceptual study for a climate-neutral administration by 2030, Münster is setting itself an ambitious goal and presenting a detailed view of the necessary steps and responsibilities along the way. It is building on existing concepts and activities and involving various specialist authorities, municipal companies and municipal subsidiaries in a participatory process. The city administration is making an important contribution – particularly by acting as a role model and triggering multiplier effects – to the overarching goal of becoming a climate-neutral city.
Amberg (Bavaria): Administration setting an example in climate action
Amberg has for many years consistently been working to minimise CO2 emissions within the administration. To that end, it has systematically enshrined climate action in all areas of municipal activity, very deliberately involving its staff in this process. Whether in procurement, the vehicle fleet, staff mobility or the energy supply, Amberg serves both internally and externally as a model of climate-friendly administration.
Lake Constance District (Baden-Württemberg): Wetland restoration as an important element of climate action
Lake Constance District began to restore the Hepbacher-Leimbacher Ried wetlands almost 40 years ago and thus to preserve an intact fenland ensemble. To that end, the district authorities gradually bought up areas of land with a view to restoring them. The wetlands are both a habitat for rare animals and plants and a natural carbon sink. Preserving and restoring wetlands like Hepbacher-Leimbacher Ried is thus an important contribution to nature conservation and climate action.