Green Party pushes for more trees and plants in Germany's inner cities
The Green Party has called for an investment programme worth 800 million euros to make Germany's inner cities greener by planting trees and reducing soil sealing in a bid to cushion the impact of rising temperatures on urban centres, the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland reports. In a bill by its parliamentary group, the party claimed extreme weather events in inner cities are on the rise. It added that "extended droughts and heat waves" are making cities "up to eight degrees [Celsius] warmer than their environs," a situation that is compounded by occasional heavy rain events that "let our cities literally spill over." Expanding green areas that absorb water and reduce heat can act as a "natural air conditioner" that provides city dwellers some respite to cool down and get a breath of fresh air, the party argued. "Urban green areas and nature sanctuaries are a piece of environmental justice for our cities," said the Greens's urban development spokesperson Daniela Wagner. According to the article, the number of days per year with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius has risen substantially during the past decade, with many cities reporting an increase in hot days of 50 to 100 percent between 2010 and 2020.
The extreme heat waves and droughts that hit Germany and many other parts of Europe in 2018 and 2019 have had a significant impact on public opinion in Germany, with climate change quickly climbing to the top of the list of concerns for many people. The hot and dry weather has put a great deal of stress on inner city vegetation as well as on forests, and led cities across the country to declare a climate emergency to signal the need for more environmentally-friendly policies.