1990 – 2020 | A 30 Year Journey

Our alliance for the climate has been on quite a journey over the last 30 years. Here is a are some of the highlights...

The 1990s

In 1990 the foundation for the Climate Alliance is laid. Delegates from Amazonia meet with representatives from twelve cities throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well as 15 organisations for a working meeting in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 

Left to right: Andreas von Schöler (former Mayor of Frankfurt), Evaristo Nugkuag (former Climate Alliance board member), Lioba Rossbach de Olmos (former Climate Alliance staff) in Frankfurt, 1992.

Climate Alliance Italy is founded in 1991. On year later, 16 cities (AT, DE, IT, NL) sign the founding declaration of the “Climate Alliance” association. In 1992 the board of directors is formed by representatives of member municipalities. 

In 1993 Climate Alliance receives official recognition as a non-profit organisation. Climate Alliance establishes a network consisting of a European Secretariat in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and National Coordination Offices in Italy, Netherlands and Austria. The first annual conference is held in Enschede, Netherlands. Climate Alliance Netherlands (Klimaatverbond) is launched. Climate Alliance members set up the association’s first working group “CO2 reduction strategies in Climate Alliance” (today known as CO2 Monitoring).

Climate Alliance begins work on its first EU project in 1994. One result is the first version of Climate Alliance’s catalogue of measures, used as a checklist for members. Climate Alliance Austria is launched in the same year.

In 1995 Climate Alliance Luxemburg and Switzerland are founded. This year Climate Alliance also collaborates with its indigenous partners on the topics of biodiversity and intellectual property rights. A first study on the rights of indigenous peoples in Amazonia is conducted. Climate Alliance continues to grow and reaches the 500 member mark in 1996.  

In 1997, Climate Alliance presents a first status report at the UN Climate Conference in Kyoto, which for the first time puts the scope and range of municipal commitment in the international spotlight. In 1999, Climate Alliance introduces its members to the “Green” art project, which encourages the participation of cities to generate funds for indigenous projects.

The 2000s

The winners of the first Climate Star, 2002.

Member municipalities adopt the Bolzano Declaration as an additional policy document in 2000. In addition to halving CO2 emissions as a mid-term goal, a climate-compatible value for all greenhouse gas emissions per inhabitant is additionally defined as a long-term goal.

In 2002, Climate Alliance draws further attention to climate action by rolling out a several campaigns. For the second time, a relay race raises awareness in Austria. The European Mobility Week is launched with the motto “In Town without my car”. Children collect 30,000 Green Footprints through a campaign by the same name, making use of environmentally friendly transport – at first in Germany and later throughout Europe. For the first time, Climate Alliance presents the Climate Star award for climate action.

Through a project partnership with FORMABIAP, a programme focusing on the training of indigenous teachers, the solar lamp project is launched in Iquitos, Peru, in 2004. In cooperation with the teachers, this new technology is demon-strated locally.

Climate Alliance further develops its CO2 emissions reductions goals in 2006. Emissions are now to be reduced by ten percent every five years. This corresponds to a halving of per capita emissions (starting year 1990) by 2030 the latest.

One of the most important developments in 2007 is the opening of a Climate Alliance office in Brussels, initially staffed by one employee. The office represents Climate Alliance in dealings with the EU Commission and EU Parliament as well as at all European initiatives and events.

Covenant of Mayors launch in the European Parliament, 2008.

At the Climate Alliance International Conference “Climate Action Across Borders” in 2008, taking place in both Aachen, Germany, and Heerlen, Netherlands, a first draft of the Covenant of Mayors is presented. In the same year, the CITY CYCLING campaign is launched for the first time in Germany – later to be carried out in Luxemburg (TOUR Du DUERF) and other European countries. Climate Alliance develops the  EcoSpeed Region CO2 monitoring tool. Climate Alliance Hungary is founded in 2009.

The 2010s

At the Climate Alliance International Conference in 2010, the General Assembly adopts a resolution on Ecuador’s ITT initiative to protect the Yasuní National Park from oil exploitation. Climate Alliance expands eastwards in 2011 within the framework of Covenant of Mayors EAST.  

In order to stimulate exchange and support financial applications, Climate Alliance establishes the Working Group of Financing in 2012. COICA, Climate Alliance’s indigenous partner organisation, introduces a resolution for an Indigenous REDD+ Concept, which is adopted by the members. The resolution proposes an alternative to the UN’s REDD mechanism for including forests in emissions trading.

Family photo at the Climate Alliance International Conference in Luxembourg, 2014.

The Austrian Klimabilanztool (Climate Balance Tool) is developed with the help of the Working Group on CO2 Monitoring in 2014. Mayor’s Adapt, a new sister initiative of the Covenant of Mayors, puts the issue of adaption to climate change into the focus and is integrated with the Covenant just over a year later under the name of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.

In 2015 the network establishes the Climate Alliance Working Group on Adaptation. The A Good Life is Simple campaign gets off the ground with the aim of raising awareness of the global impact of our everyday decisions.

The network adds to its offerings for German municipalities in 2016 with the Climate Protection Planner, an emissions inventory instrument.  In 2017, the European Committee of the Regions lends official support to Climate Alliance’s positions on adaptation in a statement on the EU adaptation strategy. 

A new IPCC report in 2018 prompts Climate Alliance to appeal to politicians and society. Global warming must be limited to 1.5°C. Climate Alliance members stress this aspect in the Barcelona Declaration.

Tine Heyse, Climate Alliance President, and Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of EU Committee of the Regions signing a joint action plan, 2019

In 2019, Climate Alliance and the European Committee of the Regions adopt an action plan to strengthen the influence of the local and regional level in the fight against climate change. The emergency in the Amazon Basin plays a major role in the 2018 annual conference – 88 cities sign a declaration calling for joint action to protect the indigenous peoples of the Amazon Basin and the Amazon rainforest.

Today

In 2020 Climate Alliance turns 30. It is a significant year – in terms of global climate action as well as for Climate Alliance. A perfect opportunity to reflect on the past 30 years and also pave the way for the next 30 years.