Local Beacons for Climate Action
BEACON municipalities strengthen their network, exchange good practices for effective local climate action measures and send a strong signal for municipal climate action in Europe. The “Catalysing European Local Climate Action” conference in Heidelberg brought together 90 selected local participants from across Europe to discuss successful approaches to local climate action. The event was part of the Bridging European and Local Climate Action (BEACON) project of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI).
In her opening remarks, Dr Silke Karcher of the German Environment Ministry (BMU) stressed the importance of municipalities and grass root movements for climate action. “People like you inspired us to launch the European Climate Initiative,” she said to the participants and called them “beacons” for climate action.
Among those addressed were the mayors of numerous European cities and municipalities. They reported on the impressive commitment of their municipalities to climate action and energy transformation. Municipal representatives such as Leszek Tabor (Sztum, Poland), Przemyslaw Major (Cieszyn, Poland) Piotr Zając (Zamosc, Poland) and Susanne Geils (Ritterhude, Germany) spoke about measures such as building renovations and photovoltaic systems. They demonstrated not only the diversity of geographic and socio-economic challenges, but also an enormous variety of inspiring mitigation strategies. At the same time, it became clear how similar the problems are in many municipalities.
The conference focused on practical and solution-oriented discussion rounds, for example on energy poverty, local energy communities and municipal development in relation to sustainable mobility. In addition, the municipalities had the opportunity to exchange views in expert forums on current topics with cross-border climate policy relevance, e.g. on municipal data management or the Fridays-for-Future movement. A guided tour of the world’s biggest passive house district “Bahnstadt” by the Heidelberg City Planning Office offered the participants practical insight into climate and future-oriented urban planning and rounded off the conference programme.
The BEACON conference forms a thematic bridge to the International Conference on Climate Action (ICCA). The ICCA is supported by the German Government, the Land Baden-Württemberg and the city of Heidelberg and takes place from 22 to 23 May 2019. The European Climate Initiative finances the BEACON project to promote climate protection through exchange between national governments, municipalities and schools in Europe. The aim is to contribute to stronger European integration through bilateral and multilateral dialogue, with the ultimate aim of creating a common ambition to implement the Paris Climate Agreement.