International pioneers agree: Double Strategy is key to success for local climate action

An international workshop, held in Berlin on 24 September, focussed on innovative methods for avoiding greenhouse gas emissions at the local level. At the invitation of the "Climate Dialogue", pioneers of local climate action from Europe and North America discussed successful case studies.


International guests from France, Norway, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, as well as California (USA) and British Columbia (Canada) came to Berlin to learn about the "Nationale Klimaschutzinitiative" (National Climate Initiative) (NKI) and the successful implementation of municipal climate mitigation initiatives in Germany, as well as to share their experiences from similar strategies.

Focus on "change agents" in municipalities and promoting local climate mitigation initiatives

Questions on how to promote change agents in municipalities were at the forefront of this one-day intensive gathering. Around 270 climate mitigation managers are currently employed in German municipalities. Furthermore, funding of pioneers for particularly aspiring municipalities was discussed, as it pertains to the NKI’s “master plan” program. These well-known instruments for the funding and control of climate mitigation projects at the local level also exist in different forms in other countries.

During the workshop, participants had the opportunity to gain detailed insight into various approaches and "recipes for success" in the area of climate mitigation. Themes ranged from unpopular but successful greenhouse gas reduction measures to highly sought-after training programs. Participants spoke about road tolls in Norwegian cities and the assertiveness that climate mitigation managers learn in the German "Change Agent Course".

Making municipal climate mitigation successful: Passionate doers and new structures

International guests discussed the so-called “Double Strategy” as a particularly successful measure in municipal climate mitigation. This strategy can be explained as follows: successful climate mitigation needs both people who passionately get down to work as well as new institutional structures and decision-making processes at the local level. At the end of the workshop the integration of local issues into regional and national programs was discussed. The Canadian province of British Columbia was exemplary in this context: The “B.C. Climate Action Charter” determined at the provincial level the mandatory commitments for substantially reducing the carbon footprints of all municipalities within that region.

At the conclusion of the workshop, the participants were unanimously agreed: it is fortifying and inspiring to have an exchange of experiences that informs the implementation of local climate mitigation on a national level through funding programs and incentive instruments. The Climate Dialogue workshop in Berlin continued the successful series of events that provide an opportunity for the international exchange of ideas on municipal climate mitigation. Previous events have been held in Durban (2011), Doha (2012) and Warsaw (2013). The participants will continue to trade thoughts on the challenges and solutions surrounding municipal climate mitigation.

The Berlin think tank adelphi has a leading role in organising the "Climate Dialogue" venture, a three-year consortia project that includes as participants the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg (IFEU), the Climate Alliance, the German Institute of Urban Affairs (difu), EBUS - Institute for Development Consultation and Supervision, and the Eduard Pestel Institute. The project supports climate mitigation initiatives at the local level through opportunities for networking and reflection, as well as programs for advanced training and further education.

» More information on the “climate dialogue” project