07 Jan 2020, 14:00
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germany's towns urge rapid climate action to make infrastructure fit for future

Clean Energy Wire

A more rapid and determined climate and energy transition policy is needed to make Germany's urban areas and general infrastructure fit for future challenges, the German Association of Towns and Municipalities (DStGB) has said at its annual press conference. "We need to push ahead with the energy transition, implement the coal phase-out and achieve sustainable financing. A transition in the transport sector is also needed in order to reach the climate targets," DStGB head Uwe Brandl said. He cautioned that policymakers should be careful to avoid the impression that climate-friendly measures will not create additional costs. "Climate action cannot happen free of charge," Brandl said, adding that investments in the transport sector alone will amount to billions of euros over many years for municipalities, as more busses and trains are bought and railways, bike lanes and other infrastructure is expanded. "Now is the right time to set up a comprehensive long-term investment programme," the DStGB head said.

Even though most renewable energy production takes place in rural and relatively sparsely populated areas, towns and cities are crucial for the energy transition's success, as these consume most electricity and also grapple most with air pollution from exhaust gases and other transport-related challenges. By the end of last year, more than 60 cities in the country had declared a state of "climate emergency" in a bid to illustrate the gravity of current and future effects of climate change. Opponents describe the movement as alarmism.

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