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Climate Protection in the Pankow District – Successful examples from other municipalities

Doris Knoblauch bei ihrem Vortrag in der BVV Pankow.

Climate Protection in the Pankow District – Successful examples from other municipalities

Berlin, Germany

On 20 November 2019, Doris Knoblauch of Ecologic Institute was invited as an expert to a hearing on "Climate Protection in the Pankow District" at the Pankow District Assembly in Berlin. The expert's presentation dealt with possible climate protection measures in terms of content (e.g. how the change in mobility or nutrition can succeed), but focused on organisational aspects, such as how climate protection can be anchored as a cross-sectional task in the district administration and within the population.

In the area of mobility change, a successful practical example is the transfer point "Umsteiger" in Kiel. At a central location of this mobility centre, it is easy to switch from trains to buses, bicycles, ships, taxis or rental/car-sharing cars. There is also a bicycle station including a bicycle parking garage.

Concerning the transformation in diet, another example demonstrated that the proportion of vegetarian food consumed in canteens increases by 40 to 80 percent if the offer of vegetarian food is increased by only 50 percent – without any coercion or prohibitions.

As far as administrative structures are concerned, climate protection should be incorporated not only in the long-term (e.g. through a long-term goal of climate neutrality), but also in the administration and among citizens. Doris Knoblauch gave the following successful examples from other municipalities:

  • In Bremerhaven, a Youth Climate Council was set up, which enables young people to actively engage in municipal climate protection at the political level. The Youth Climate Council has the right to speak in the Environment Committee and its own small budget to carry out projects on its own responsibility.
  • Also in Bremerhaven, the Climate City Office had maintained a shop in the pedestrian zone for a while. This served as a central point of contact for all citizens who had questions on the subject of climate protection. In this way, citizens were able to engage in low-threshold discussions with the administration.
  • In Austin, Texas (USA), representatives of individual minorities could apply as so-called community climate ambassadors. They take part in a workshop on climate protection, conduct at least five interviews with representatives of their community and cooperate with the sustainability office. Subsequently, they disseminate information on the climate protection plan in a targeted manner to the community for which they are climate ambassadors.
  • In several municipalities, the respective administrative trainees were specifically trained as climate multipliers. This means that they meet regularly, network and are particularly sensitive to climate protection issues after completing their training.
  • Above all, a climate protection manager must be well integrated into the administration. How exactly this can be organised depends on the structures and people in a community. Either as a staff unit, or at the building authority, at the environmental office or at another suitable location, in order to enable the climate protection manager to work across all sectors.

As a conclusion, Doris Knoblauch emphasised that a well designed overall package is needed to achieve climate neutrality. Individual measures alone are not enough. In other words, especially now that everyone is talking about the climate crisis, communities should not fall into hasty actionism, but consciously choose a comprehensive approach.

Further experts were Corinna Altenburg (German Institute for Urban Affairs, project manager of the "Service and Competence Centre: Municipal Climate Protection"), Bernhard Siegel (research assistant at Prof. Dr.-Ing. Volker Quaschning in the PV2City project: "Contribution of photovoltaics to a climate-neutral energy supply in urban areas") and Dr. Cornelia Niemeitz (Spandau District Office, Control Centre for Sustainability and Climate Protection).

A well thought-out overall package is needed to achieve climate neutrality.


Doris Knoblauch
Coordinator Plastics
Coordinator Urban & Spatial Governance
Senior Fellow
Berlin, Germany
Climate Neutrality, Climate Crisis, Climate Protection, District Assembly, BVV, cities, communities
Pankow, Berlin