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Global and local climate action

The UN Climate Change Conference sets the policy framework, but action is taken in towns and cities. Five facts about municipal climate protection

Municipalities also place great emphasis on climate protection.
Municipalities also place great emphasis on climate protection. © picture alliance / SULUPRESS.DE

1. Climate protection is a global task, for which UN Climate Change Conferences define the policy framework. In 2015 the Paris Climate Agreement set the goal of limiting global warming to significantly less than two degrees Celsius and, if possible, 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial era.

2. Germany and the European Union have set themselves ambitious targets. The Federal Government has raised the targets defined in climate protection legislation, which was most recently amended in 2021: greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by 65% compared to 1990 levels by 2030 and greenhouse gas neutrality is to be achieved by 2045. With its Green Deal the EU aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

3. Municipalities play a key role in climate protection – from cities to villages. That is why the Federal Environment Ministry’s National Climate Protection Initiative, for example, also provides targeted support for projects in cities, towns and rural districts. From 2008 until the end of 2020, within the framework of the municipal guideline, the initiative supported roughly 18,700 projects in over 3,975 municipalities with a total of 820 million euros.

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4. Climate protection is already at the top of the agenda in municipalities. When mayors were asked about the most important issues of the future in a 2021 mayoral survey by the German Institute for Urban Affairs, “climate, energy, and sustainability” came top with a share of 53%.

5. Citizens also expect concrete action to be taken in their municipalities. In a survey commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation, more than half the respondents (55%) said they were already noticing the effects of climate change today in their city or municipality. As a result, they also wanted increased climate action where they live.


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