Climate Emergency in Bamberg

Climate Emergency in Bamberg – Dedicated session on climate launches climate reboot

On 13 October 2020, the City of Bamberg voted in favour of a climate reboot and is thus the 100th Climate Alliance member with a declaration identifying climate action as a top priority. Climate Alliance members have long been at the forefront in fighting the climate crisis and have demonstrated the power of municipal climate action with a multitude of resolutions and implementing concrete measures.

Like other municipalities before it, Bamberg’s city council deliberately decided against the term “climate emergency”, instead favouring “climate crisis” and “climate reboot”. As Anita Schmidt of Bamberg’s Climate and Environment Office explains, “The measures associated with these resolutions are more important that the terminologies themselves.”

Bamberg then decided on its action plan within a dedicated meeting on climate change. This extraordinary meeting in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis sent a clear signal: the city has recognised the urgency of the climate crisis and is ready to act. “The COVID pandemic is currently affecting almost everything,” Anita Schmidt confirms. Nevertheless, the current situation should not impair the city’s climate action efforts or delay the launch of the city’s climate reboot. The issue of climate action was also seen as too important to be dealt with in an ordinary city council meeting alongside other matters. The dedicated climate session further emphasised the importance of the issue for the city’s leadership.

What exactly does Bamberg’s climate reboot entail? The city council meeting decided on a variety of measures:

  • A 100% funded climate action manager will handle all climate-relevant municipal concerns.
  • A climate check on climate-relevant draft resolutions will examine a resolution’s effects on the climate and promote positive impacts.
  • A climate advisory board made up of volunteers and civil society actors will formulate ideas and initiatives related to climate policy with a close link to the municipal and district level climate council foreseen.
  • A climate summit is planned for 2021. This event will bring the topic to residents and encourage them to get involved.
  • Bamberg will launch an urban CO2 inventory. Despite the current difficult financial situation, unspent funds will be carried over to next year and used exclusively for this purpose.
  • The potential of renewable energies will be further developed, including the use of wind as a new energy source for the city.
  • A car-free weekend with accompanying activities is planned for 2021.

These decisions show how Bamberg is linking its climate reboot with concrete measures. The city is demonstrating that, despite the current precarious situations many municipalities are facing due to the COVID pandemic, climate action must not be neglected. Bamberg is looking further ahead and has recognised the urgency of the climate catastrophe – the crisis that will remain with us after the COVID crisis has passed. The city has made clear that local climate action must have top priority from now on and it is taking action – regardless of whether this is described as a climate emergency, climate crisis or, as in the case of Bamberg, a climate reboot.

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written December 2020