The European Union (EU) has set itself ambitious climate and energy policy goals within the framework of the Paris Agreement. In many European countries, however, ambitious climate protection measures often face scepticism or even rejection. The reason for this is often a lack of understanding of the potential of climate action, or investment power that has been weakened by the financial and economic crisis. Although there are progressive actors who implement climate policy measures and recognise their potential, the number, scope and visibility of these projects must be significantly increased to enable a sustainable transformation from the local to the national level.
Promoting climate policy, strengthening European integration
The project "Bridging European and Local Climate Action (BEACON)" is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI), which was launched by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). It increaseed the acceptance and impact of climate policy projects in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe and to initiate further climate mitigation measures. How can energy costs be cut down on? How does sustainable mobility improve the quality of life in cities? What does climate policy have to do with a future-oriented investment policy? By promoting transnational dialogue on issues such as these, the project acted as a BEACON for municipalities across Europe by making the benefits of climate policy measures – and thus also of EU climate policy – more tangible. The focus of the project was on cooperation and the exchange of good practices among municipalities, national decision-makers, and educational institutions with the aim of reducing political, technical and social barriers at local and national level. Last but not least, cross-border cooperation strengthened cohesion within the EU.
Fostering knowledge transfer in the EU
In close cooperation with local partner organisations, adelphi led the cooperation with 25 local authorities from the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Greece and Portugal, as well as nine German municipalities. Through various dialogue and advisory formats, technical knowledge and process-related know-how were conveyed to the municipalities:
- Good practices in local climate policy were discussed in multi-country workshops. An open dialogue on obstacles and opportunities provided new impetus for the implementation of climate policy measures on the ground.
- Individual advisory support enabled the 25 European municipalities to deepen and operationalise this knowledge.
- Valuable examples and proven strategies from Germany were made available through translation and country-specific adaptation of existing guidelines.
- Five city partnerships benefited from one-on-one support which reinforced their cooperation and helped them develop joint climate action projects.
- All participants and further municipalities came together at two European municipal conferences (2019 and 2021) to present their local actions and network in an informal and supportive atmosphere.
adelphi also worked together with Guidehouse to identify and analyse successful national climate policy instruments in sectors outside of the European Emissions Trading System (transport, buildings, agriculture, waste, small industrial plants). The goal was to feed the research findings into the design of medium-term climate strategies and policies in Germany and other EU member states, and thus promote mutual learning within the EU.