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.
At the event, we want to explain why it is necessary to ambitiously refurbish the energy efficiency of these areas, that this can also be beneficial for tenants in the medium term, and that these areas therefore even represent an opportunity for socially acceptable energy efficiency refurbishments. The districts are an important actor here — what options do they have for action to promote ambitious climate protection in these areas and beyond in neighbourhoods in general without neglecting the protection of tenants?
In the seventh edition of Wandelwecker, our morning impulse for a social and ecological metropolis, we discuss this with two proven experts:
Jörg Zander, District Office Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf
Dr. Julika Weiß, Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW)
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.
On 7 July 2021, Ecologic Institute organized an online event to discuss insights on Sustainable Adaptation Pathways gained in the project "Joint implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement". The panel discussion was moderated by Camilla Bausch, Director of Ecologic Institute and took place as a virtual event parallel to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2021 of the United Nations.
Across Europe, national climate advisory bodies exist in many shapes and forms. Most countries have one or more such institutions. While many of the existing advisory bodies bring together a range of stakeholders and cover a broad range of sustainability issues, over the past five years there has been a surge in the creation of independent scientific councils, dedicated to climate policy.
How well is the EU doing in its pursuit of climate neutrality by 2050? Are national long-term strategies and national energy and climate plans up to the task? Are the recovery efforts in line with this goal? Across EU policy, a range of processes are in the process of developing methods to assess progress towards climate neutrality – but there is no integrated set of "net zero indicators" being developed to do the job. And simple greenhouse gas emission data is not enough to judge whether the necessary transition is happening "under the hood" of Europe's economic sectors.
Biodiversity continues to decline dramatically worldwide. However, current policy instruments, such as the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 and the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, are generating new optimism and a great deal of political attention. Are these processes enough to tackle the biodiversity crisis? Or is radical change and rethinking necessary all the same? At the 6th Future Forum Ecornet, which was organized by Ecologic Institute in cooperation with ISOE on 15 June 2021, approaches for the protection of biodiversity were discussed.
The recent decisions by the Constitutional Court and the German government on national climate legislation have brought new wind to the climate debate. But what does this mean for Berlin? Are the new targets suitable for transfer to the capital? Is the level of ambition sufficient to limit CO2 emissions "in line with Paris requirements" and allow Berlin to shoulder its fair share of the 1.5 degree target? And which areas of improvement do Berlin's politicians have to tackle now in order to set the course towards a climate-neutral Berlin 2045 without burdening the city's most disadvantaged residents in particular?
Many consider the Climate Summit in Glasgow, which will take place end of 2021, the most important summit since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Upon invitation by the Andrássy University Budapest and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Dr. Camilla Bausch discussed recent developments in climate policy in the lead-up to COP26.
In light of the global challenges posed by 2020, the launch of the 2020 Go To Think Tank Ranking Index asked the question "why do think tanks & policy advice matter in times of crisis". The Berlin Launch event, hosted by Ecologic Institute, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, provided space for a lively discussion about the role and placement of think tanks when faced with unprecedented global crises. The 2020 Go To Think Tank Ranking Index is compiled and published annually by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tank and Civil Societies program (TTCSP) with launch events in over 25 different countries.