A holistic approach
Through the Climate Alliance, some 1,700 member municipalities and districts covering 27 European countries as well as a variety of regional governments, NGOs and other organisations are actively working to combat climate change. In terms of members, Climate Alliance is the largest European city network dedicated to climate action. Our members, ranging from small rural towns to cities with populations in the millions, accept climate change as a global challenge that requires local solutions.
This fact is demonstrated in Climate Alliance’s long tradition of promoting climate action both in European municipalities and with the indigenous peoples of the Amazon River basin, where local peoples have been practicing sustainable forestry for millennia. Equipped with an intimate knowledge of their environment and a direct connection to realities on the ground, they are, much like local governments the world over, best positioned to put climate action into practice within their territories. For European municipalities, such action typically comes in the form of initiatives for renewable energies, energy efficiency or energy conservation. For indigenous communities, climate action typically revolves around safeguarding their forests and territorial rights. We at Climate Alliance thus pair an emphasis on ambitious municipal action in Europe with support for stewardship of the rainforests by the indigenous peoples who call it home.
Talk is good, real action is better. In addition to a commitment to climate justice via a partnership with indigenous peoples, each town, city and district joining Climate Alliance must pass a municipal resolution committing itself to cutting CO2 emissions by 10% every 5 years. This equates to a halving of per capita emissions by 2030 from 1990 levels – far more ambitious than any of the goals set on national and European levels thus far. Additionally, every member city and town supports indigenous peoples via a pledge to abstain from the use of tropical woods from unsustainably managed sources and to focus on FSC certified timber in their public procurement. These goals make Climate Alliance the only network of its kind with tangible targets – our members are leading the fight against climate change from the bottom up.
The growth of a movement
Climate Alliance was founded in 1990 when a group of 33 institutions comprised of 12 municipalities from Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well as 6 indigenous organisations of the Amazon Basin met in Frankfurt, Germany, motivated take action against the climatic changes taking place. Our network has strong roots in the German speaking world, but its principles have drawn interest from municipalities across Europe from the very beginning. The Alliance now boasts representatives from almost all EU countries and has seen the opening of National Coordination offices to help support members in a total of six countries.
National Coordination Offices provide support for and help set the agenda with Climate Alliance members in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Luxembourg and Hungary. The National Coordination for German member cities, a source of many Climate Alliance offerings with an international reach, is based at the international headquarters of the Climate Alliance Secretariat in Frankfurt, Germany.