Climate Emergency in Aschaffenburg

Climate impact assessment and climate neighbourhood manager for more climate action

On 15 July 2020, Aschaffenburg sent a strong signal by declaring a climate emergency and thus supporting the global climate emergency movement. As a Climate Alliance member since 1994, the city has been committed to local climate action for decades. With the climate emergency resolution last summer, Aschaffenburg officially designated the mitigation of the climate crisis as a top priority.

The city council set a clear focus with the Aschaffenburg resolution: climate action must be included in all future city council resolutions. Therefore, the city was looking for a formal and quick way to check the climate relevance of draft resolutions without slowing down local administrative processes. The city administration found what is was looking for in KöP (Climate Protection Management in Public Projects), a German project of ifeu and Climate Alliance. Within this framework, the climate impact assessment was developed. The Excel-based tool enables municipalities to easily check and optimise local projects for their climate relevance and climate impact, from the initial idea to the draft resolution.

In Aschaffenburg, the new assessment scheme based on the KöP project worked after just a short training phase. Local departments have since been implementing the climate impact assessment almost autonomously. Due to the simple handling, administrative units can focus on the essentials of municipal work – elaborating CO2 balances for different implementation versions of smaller projects is no longer required.

This also leaves more time for further climate action measures. In addition to the climate impact assessment, other areas were also addressed in the climate emergency resolution, e.g. buildings. The city council has a clear goal: renovations and especially new buildings should strive for the highest energy standard. Neighbourhood energy advisors are to expand the city’s long-standing advisory services and help to increase renovation rates in the long term. The city council has approved the recruitment of five neighbourhood managers. This decision is currently being reviewed in budget discussions.

The example of Aschaffenburg also demonstrates how to deal with local climate protection activists and how local climate action can benefit from their impulses. Already at the beginning of 2020, the city reacted to the demands of the local Fridays for Future group and brought them into the municipal energy and climate action commission. Today, members of Fridays for Future Aschaffenburg are permanent members of the city’s Agenda21 sustainability advisory board, appointed by the city council.

In addition to numerous local measures for more climate action, the city also emphasised one demand as part of its climate emergency resolution. The federal and state governments must create framework conditions to improve local climate policy through incentives, funding and regulation. This is because the local level plays a central role in tackling the climate crisis, as the current climate emergency movement and the commitment of countless cities and municipalities around the world are demonstrating.

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written February 2021