18 Jan 2023, 13:13
Carolina Kyllmann

NGO alliance calls for Basic Law reform for better climate action in municipalities

Clean Energy Wire

A broad alliance of German trade unions and environmental associations has launched a joint call to the federal government for a legal reform to guarantee more financial support to implement climate protection measures in municipalities. Based on a legal report commissioned by Climate-Alliance Germany (Klima-Allianz) and Germanwatch, environmental associations and members unions of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) are calling for an amendment to the Basic Law, so that the federal and state governments are obliged to carry out municipal climate protection and climate adaptation tasks and also to finance them. Municipal authorities are bound to implement climate protection goals set by the federal and state governments, write the organisations. “So far, however, many municipalities have not been able to fulfil this task adequately due to a lack of financial and human resources,” climate protection lawyer and report author Rhoda Verheyen said. “We have a completely inadequate legal situation at both the task and financing levels,” she added. Currently, the division of tasks to secure financing for climate protection and adaptation between the federal and state governments and municipalities is not ensured, according to the report.

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 for example. “Mitigating the climate crisis through climate protection and climate adaptation measures is a challenge for society as a whole,” the alliance said, calling for this to “finally be perceived as a joint task between the federal, state and local governments.” 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. There are over 10,000 municipalities in Germany.

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