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Plastics, Green Urban Environments and Local Climate Protection

© Ecologic Institute


Plastics, Green Urban Environments and Local Climate Protection

Presentation within the Study Tour – Knowledge Transfer for Effective Climate Change Policies

Berlin, Germany

On 16 October 2023, Doris Knoblauch (Ecologic Institute) gave a lecture on "Plastics, green urban environments and local climate protection" at a postgraduate course, where 19 experts from ministries, authorities, municipalities, non-governmental organizations and industry from low-income countries and emerging economies were represented and exchanged. The focus was on showing how the triple crisis – plastics pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change – are intertwined and reinforce each other, and what role cities could play in tackling this triple crisis.

The core statements of the lecture include:

  • Cities are major emitters: More than 70% of the global energy-related CO2 emissions are attributed to cities.
  • Cities also need to adapt urgently: 70% of cities are already dealing with the effects of climate change, and almost all are at risk.
  • But cities are also innovation hubs and try to mitigate climate change.
  • The plastics crisis is huge, the exponential growth of plastics production can not be cured with recycling and the increasing plastics pollution is threatening our ecosystems, lives and health.
  • At the same time, the monitored wildlife decreased by 69% since 1970.
  • The spirit of the plastics treaty should be about protecting and restoring ecosystems, preventing pollution and supporting human wellbeing. By centering our living planet in treaty language, and addressing the fundamental drivers of plastic pollution, we can protect biodiversity, empower local communities, and affirm our dedication to the well-being of both present and future life on Earth.

The presentation was part of the Study Tour "Knowledge Transfer for Effective Climate Change Policies" (8 – 20 October 2023), as part of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation International Climate Protection Fellowship, CIPSEM Advanced Training Centre. It was organised and implemented by the Centre for International Postgraduate Studies of Environmental Management (CIPSEM) at the Technical University of Dresden.

Climate change, plastics pollutions and biodiversity loss are three intertwined crises that reinforce each other.


Doris Knoblauch
Co-Coordinator Plastics
Coordinator Urban & Spatial Governance
Senior Fellow
Berlin, Germany