24 Apr 2023, 13:10
Carolina Kyllmann

German municipal spending on climate insufficient to reach targets – report

Clean Energy Wire

German municipalities are increasingly caught between rising climate protection needs and limited resources, a report by state-owned development bank KfW found. Municipalities’ spending might not be enough to reach the country’s climate targets – despite allocating around 15 percent of planned investments to climate protection measures – as the current system is missing financial and human resources, according to the report. “Above all, the lack of personnel and skilled workers, in addition to the unclear financing, increasingly presents itself as a central bottleneck for the implementation of transformation measures,” the authors write. They add that climate protection and adaptation are probably the greatest transformative need for municipalities, although less than four percent of planned investments will be used for climate adaptation measures.

A variety of reforms are needed to clarify concrete measures that municipalities should contribute to Germany’s overall national climate targets, the authors recommend. “Reliable and adequate financial resources for the municipalities are the best guarantee that the municipalities will be able to meet the challenges of climate change on the ground by their own efforts,” they conclude. While more than half of the municipalities expect investments in climate protection and adaptation to increase in the future, 51 percent believe that the current financing mix will not cover higher investment needs, according to a KfW survey.

Municipalities play a major role in implementing Germany’s climate goals by being at the forefront of municipal heat planning, urban land use planning, transport or water supply and waste management, as well as the energy-efficient renovation of buildings and the conversion of lighting to LED for example. According to a report by Agora Energiewende, to achieve Germany’s climate goals for 2030, the financial requirements for municipal investments alone amount to around 170 billion euros.

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