Can the city save the climate?

The dramatic situation in bamberg in the summer of 2019 is currently becoming drastically apparent in memmelsdorfer strabe: a two-trunk birch tree at dientzenhofer gymnasium has died within just 14 days.

More stately trees fail in the scorching heat and persistent drought. Even robust linden and oak trees are now experiencing difficulties. There is simply no water, and this is already in its second year. "It could rain until the end of the year, there would still be a deficit", explains head of the garden office robert neuberth.

Also with regard to the massive damage in the forest, there has not been such a situation so far. "It's anything but fun." In the meantime, even the fire department is helping to dig up the city's struggling trees. A novelty.

Motion in the city council

The fight against heat, drought and climate change requires creativity – and that is what the city council is currently struggling for. The question is, what can the municipality do?? If it's up to heinrich schwimmbeck (bamberger linke), the city should declare a climate emergency without delay (see pro commentary). His proposal was discussed by the city parliament before the summer break.

The declaration of climate emergency is intended to show that a municipality is committed to the paris climate goals of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius if possible. This sounds technocratic, but when the appropriate resolution was passed, it meant that all decisions had to be made with climate friendliness in mind.

In constance, the first city in germany to declare a climate emergency, the mayor cancelled the leasing contract for his official car. It is possible that the cost of parking in the city center will become drastically more expensive.

In erlangen, the first bavarian city in a climate emergency, the proportion of vegetarian meals in schools and municipal daycare centers is to be increased. There are also considerations to convert more parking spaces into bicycle parking spaces in order to encourage bicycle traffic, or to develop new criteria for sustainable building.

In other municipalities, recognition of the climate emergency is politically controversial. So it is not particularly easy to declare a climate emergency in bamberg either. Although there is agreement across party lines that more needs to be done in climate protection. But many people were shocked by the word "climate emergency. CSU faction leader helmut muller even sees it as a fighting term. Dieter weinsheimer (bamberger allianz) criticizes the fact that another resolution is being made on matters that ultimately exceed the council's own possibilities. Daniela reinfelder (bub) is the biggest skeptic: she doesn't see a climate emergency in bamberg (see contra comment).

Grune and SPD, on the other hand, fully support schwimmbeck's motion. It is high time to become active. If it had been up to them, bamberg would have declared a climate emergency by now.

But the administration is also reticent. "It is undisputed that something has to be done", explains environmental officer ralf haupt. But instead of declaring a climate emergency, the administration now wants to draw up its own action plan and present it to the environment senate in november. Then it was also possible to decide on a resolution of one's own.

Among other things, it would be possible for the city to bring in an external expert to suggest what can be done in addition to the efforts made so far. According to haupt, the city is already on the right track with renewable energies in the climate alliance with the district. In addition, they want to further increase the share of e-mobility. The energetic renovation of city buildings would also be conceivable. But everything has to mesh. "There are always limiting factors", says haupt with regard to financing.

Meanwhile, robert neuberth's department must continue to fight against the consequences of climate change. His garden office has mutated into a giebamt, and yet: for the period from october 2018 to the end of the year, he expects that a total of 100 trees will have to be felled due to drought damage.

Climate emergency dispute: a pro and a con

Pro by heinrich schwimmbeck (bamberger linke): acknowledge climate emergency

The climate change of our time is man-made, due to the destruction of the earth's atmosphere by CO2, which is produced by burning coal and oil. Consequently, mankind can – still – influence the climate with CO2-saving measures. This must be done immediately and massively and quickly. If global warming is not limited to an additional 1.5°C by 2050, the increasing global warming will no longer be reversible. Almost all climate researchers worldwide agree on all this. In this worrying, dramatic situation, in this "climate emergency we are therefore. It's one minute to twelve.

It is elementary and indispensable that the city council and the city administration also recognize this climate emergency, that they have an awareness of the seriousness of the situation and that they feel jointly responsible as a municipality. How else are you supposed to draw the necessary consequences from this?? Declarations and resolutions alone are not enough, of course. There must also be action, d.H. Effective measures to follow. There is a plethora of suitable measures to curb CO2 emissions in a wide variety of areas, some of which the municipality has access to. It is not enough to do one or two of them, we have to do many of them. So much so that by 2050 only one tonne per person will be emitted into the atmosphere, not ten tonnes. We can and must contribute to this in bamberg as well. And hopefully all other municipalities and countries do the same!

Contra by daniela reinfelder (bub): there is no climate emergency in bamberg

Proclaiming a climate emergency – in a nutshell – gets us nowhere! The planned reductions will cost us all a lot of time – and money ! Instead of always introducing new bureaucratic procedures, we should focus on creativity and citizen participation and do something. Instead of establishing a climate manager and constantly making new petitions, we should switch to sensible ACTION. Our partner city villach shows us a wonderful example with "green bus stops", leipzig or utrecht in the netherlands have already done this.We need to green our cities more. Why do we like to sit in the basement in hot weather?? Because trees are the best shade providers, among other things. Besides they are oxygen producers, carbon reservoirs and dust filters. Everyone can create their own biotope in front of their house, on their balcony or windowsill, or plant the traffic island in front of their apartment. We need new ideas on how to use our resources more consciously, how to counter heat waves or how to preserve biodiversity. We need healthy, affordable homes instead of expensive carbon-neutral new construction projects. AND we need unconventional and courageous decisions that turn ideas into facts. Climate change is a fact, but the climate emergency in bamberg is to be questioned. Is there a climate emergency in bamberg at all?? No, says the statistics of the german weather service station in bamberg.


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