Ecologic Institute recently hosted a delegation of Rwandan stakeholders consisting of government officials, scientists, and members of civil society. The event, organized by the Development, Climate, and Events teams and supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), aimed to expand Ecologic Institute's international networks and increase the reach of their research results.
The first International Symposium of the NICHES project will combine presentations about international successful examples of nature-based solutions and provide a forum for discussion about current challenges and opportunities in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona.
What is the task of sustainability research and what are its prospects for the coming years? And what are orientation points for the research policy agenda in the context of multiple crises? These are the questions that were discussed with guests from the political arena and civil society on January 24, 2023.
The Berlin Energy Transition Act obliges district administrations to both set up an energy management system and appoint energy officers for their property areas. But what does this mean in concrete terms for the implementation of the energy transition in the districts? What are the tasks and what influence do the energy officers have? Where are the pitfalls, and where is there a need for action and improvement? We discussed these questions with our guests in the twelfth edition of Wandelwecker.
What might social-ecological data governance look like that preserves individual rights and freedoms, ensures participation, and contributes to sustainable urban development? Is the data generated by daily mobility behaviour private or public in nature? What does this mean for data sharing or for targeted and sustainable use of the data? What roles can so-called intermediaries like a data trustee play? In the eleventh edition of Wandelwecker, our morning feature for a social and ecological metropolis, we discussed these questions with two renowned experts.
Berlin can look back on an eventful history of the New Social Movements. Numerous Berlin pioneering organizations from that time are still active: Kraut & Rüben, the Schokofabrik, Oktoberdruck, the Regenbogenfabrik and many more. At the same time, many new alternative-economy enterprises are currently emerging in Berlin - the city that is considered a melting pot of alternative economy. But what is new about today's ideas compared to the motives of over 40 years ago? What can those active today learn from the successes and failures of that time? What experiences can, and should they build on? And: What role do changed framework conditions play? What has become possible or impossible today compared to the past?
The German government has set itself major goals for the expansion of solar energy. One important force in this is citizen energy. Does the draft amendment to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) meet the high expectations for an acceleration in tenant electricity, community self-consumption and renewable energy communities?
Berlin has set ambitious standards for the prevention of CO2 emissions, with significantly stricter targets in the new Climate Protection Act (EWG Bln). What are the targets and opportunities, and what are still the major challenges and barriers? In order to become climate-neutral, it is imperative that the building sector be given greater consideration. The Climate Protection Act and the Berlin Energy and Climate Protection Program (BEK) 2030 emphasize the exemplary role of the public sector in this area. This means that public buildings such as school buildings are a key factor. In the districts' renovation roadmaps, schools sometimes account for more than 80 percent of the buildings that need to be renovated for energy efficiency in the next few years.
With the Fit for 55 package, the European Commission made far-reaching proposals in July 2021 to align the architecture of European climate policy with the goal of climate neutrality. These proposals include the strengthening of the existing emissions trading scheme, the introduction of new emissions trading for transport and buildings, a border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) to protect against carbon leakage and the tightening of regulatory instruments for transport and buildings. However, the proposals raise a number of questions – from distributional effects and acceptance to the consistency of the instruments. In the course of this two-day hybrid event, researchers from the Ariadne consortium discussed these issues with stakeholders and decision-makers at the European level.
The more stringent climate targets of the state of Berlin require that both the heat supply is converted to renewable energies in the next few years and that the building envelopes are ambitiously renovated to make them more energy efficient. This poses great challenges for the state and districts as well as the real estate industry. At the same time, due to the tense situation on the Berlin housing market, there is a need for regulations to protect tenants, which is why the number of milieu protection areas in Berlin's districts has risen sharply. In these areas, which already contain a relevant proportion of old buildings which are in need of refurbishment, there are additional obstacles to climate protection measures that are in line with the objectives.
Europa its on its way towards a circular economy and has set itself an extremely ambitious plan to this end in the form of the Circular Economy Action Plan; among other things, non-recyclable residual waste is to be halved by 2030. But how is it being put into practice? And what does it take to gain more speed here – for example in the textile sector, which is virtually exemplary for the linear thinking of a throwaway culture.
In Berlin, a variety of initiatives show how the economy can be different: with more solidarity, more democracy, more ecological and better for all. We discuss why this is not easy, but can be promising. In the sixth edition of Wandelwecker, our morning impulse for a social and ecological metropolis, we discussed these questions with two experts.
The digital, or perhaps in this case "intelligent" technologies that are to shape all areas of society in the future, especially our cities, need regulation. After all, these kinds of technologies inform, decide and control — but in whose interest and with which objectives in mind? Recently, there has been increasing thought and debate about the possibilities of democratic data governance "from below". Citizens should (also) be able to decide what intelligent, data-driven machines are used for by consciously sharing their data. Can such approaches be a model for the sustainable digitalization of cities and municipalities and provide a counterweight to the data monopolies of large corporations? What could democratic data governance in Berlin look like?
The Berlin Energy and Climate Protection Program 2030 gives solar energy a central role, as it is the most important renewable energy source that can be developed locally. The state government wants to cover 25 percent of Berlin's electricity supply from solar energy as quickly as possible. In the densely populated city, this also requires the roofs of apartment buildings to be used. In the discussion format Wandelwecker on 8 September 2021, Fabian Zuber from the Reiner Lemoine Foundation and Ecologic Institute's Katharina Umpfenbach discussed options transforming the regulation of tenant electricity and local solar power supply. The event was moderated by Valentin Tappeser from IÖW. It became clear that solar expansion can only be achieved at the required speed with a fundamentally new regulatory approach centered around joint self-supply that intelligently links on-site power generation via solar systems with charging of electric vehicles and heat generation.