German cities demand resolute action on climate protection, including higher CO2 cost, in a letter to Chancellor Merkel

Joint open letter from the presidents of Energy Cities, Climate Alliance and ICLEI



David Donnerer

Publication date

August 29, 2019

Energy Cities, Climate Alliance and ICLEI have called on the German chancellor Angela Merkel to commit to resolute action on climate protection. “There is a massive discrepancy between the ambitious climate protection targets and real-life politics and legislation. Political decisions in recent years have led to worsening framework conditions for climate protection in many areas, and slowed down the development of renewable energy sources”, write the presidents of the local government networks—all mayors of German cities— in an open letter to the German chancellor.

One of the letter’s signatories is the Lord Mayor of Heidelberg, Eckart Würzner, president of Energy Cities since 2006: “Cities around the world have made great strides in climate protection and provide a great example of how effective climate protection is put into practice. However, local governments have objectives that go beyond this: we want to switch to a fossil-free economy. We call on the governments of the EU countries to improve the legal and financial framework conditions to allow local governments to implement climate protection measures. For this to happen, we need to put in place more rigorous pricing of CO2 emissions than has been the case until now. The money generated should, among other things, be used to develop climate-friendly infrastructure in cities.”

In their open letter to Chancellor Merkel, the presidents of the Energy Cities, Climate Alliance and ICLEI suggest a strategic partnership with the federal government in the form of a permanent exchange. They also ask that the federal government create favourable conditions for climate protection at local government level, including additional and favourable financing of climate protection measures. Some of the specific demands include making climate protection mandatory at all political levels, introducing the passive house standard for buildings—such as seen in the Bahnstadt development in Heidelberg—and a tax on CO2 emissions.

The letter comes at a time when many cities and towns in Germany and Europe are declaring a climate emergency, including Heidelberg. In addition to Eckart Würzner, Lord Mayor of Heidelberg, the letter has also been signed by the Andreas Wolter, Mayor of Cologne; Martin Horn, Lord Mayor of the city of Freiburg and Ashok Sridharan, Lord Mayor of the city of Bonn.

The letter to Chancellor Merkel is available to read in full (in German) here: