On 27 August 2012, the German Federal Minister for the Environment Peter Altmaier opened the conference at which the insights gleaned from the three-year evaluation of the National Climate Initiative (NKI) were presented. It was moderated by Dagmar Dehmer (Der Tagesspiegel), and Susanne Weber-Mosdorf (Deputy General Director (retired) of the World Health Organisation (WHO), formerly of the Council for Sustainable Development) contributed by describing the role the National Climate Initiative can play in communal climate protection. The presentations and a picture gallery are available for download.
The National Climate Initiative of the Federal Ministry for the Environment has been supporting programs and projects that contribute to climate protection since 2008 and is an important component of the integrated energy and climate program and energy concept of the federal government. Concepts, partnerships, campaigns, and the introduction of innovative technologies for consumers, businesses, communities, and schools have all been supported by the initiative. The NKI supports the goal of reducing German greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020 relative to the 1990 level and by 80-95% by 2050. The initiative aims to move businesses, consumers, and communities to take up climate-friendly measures in areas that show promise for efficiency improvements yet whose uptake is not incentivized by instruments like the EU Emissions Trading System (by which the NKI is financed). These two instruments complement each other very well.
"The National Climate Initiative is flexible and innovative – a lot has already been accomplished in three years. The evaluation of the initiative provides the Federal Ministry for the Environment with the necessary feedback to improve the effectiveness of the NKI even further," said Christine Wörlen (Arepo Consulting), a project manager for the evaluation.
The NKI was evaluated by Arepo Consulting, Öko-Institute, Ecologic Institute, the Environmental Policy Research Center of the Free University of Berlin, Hans-Joachim Ziesing (independent consultant), and the FiFo Institute for Public Economics of the University of Cologne. The evaluation included 21 individual projects, 4 directives, and 3 additions from the years 2008 until 2011. Approximately 900 million euro was invested in these measures, of which 120 million euro was invested in NKI support directives. This portfolio represents the "first generation" of NKI support projects. Since the end of the evaluation period, the conception of the NKI has been further developed, and it will likely continue to be updated with the new experiences gained through implementation and evaluation.
Looking to the Future
For the future, the evaluators have recommended a two-pronged strategy for the National Climate Initiative: First of all, an "incubator" can be used to test climate change innovations that can then be disseminated. Second, a "National Climate Dialogue" could support more public debate about climate protection measures. All measures should aim, from their inception, at supporting effective climate protection rather than creating projects that require continual subvention. By doing so, the National Climate Initiative could further develop its strength as a quick learning, innovative, and effective instrument for climate protection in Germany.