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BEACON study visits going virtual

The idea of the study visits

As one highlight of the BEACON project, two study visits were planned, during which representatives of the partner countries Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Romania were invited to Germany. A three-day program was planned for 15 education sector multipliers per study visit, such as instructors in teacher trainings, representatives from school authorities and school administrations. The program included visits to schools and educational institutions that carry out energy-saving projects as well as energy-saving laboratories and other environmental educational institutions. The aim of the study visits was to link the actors with one another and use the program impulses to discover commonalities for their work in the field of climate protection.

The first study visit with all three countries took place as planned in autumn 2019. Participants were invited to Berlin, where they were able to visit various schools and to hold expert talks to learn about energy-saving projects on-site. Excursions to energy laboratories and discussions with climate protection managers and the Senate Administration were also on the program and were able to provide important impulses.

The switch to digital inputs

The second study visit was planned for the first half of 2020 but postponed on multiple occasions due to the COVID-19-pandemic. Over the course of 2020 it became clear that international trips could not take place during the project period and that an alternative format had to be developed. However, for these study visits the networking character and direct exchange is essential and cannot easily be converted to a digital format. The new main idea of UfU, the implementing organisation, was to provide multipliers in the partner countries with some informative and illustrative best practice examples for local climate protection. The results were two 15-minute videos for which we worked with a professional film team:

In the film “Wind, Venture, Involvement” (see video below), the energy self-sufficient village Feldheim is presented, which we would have liked to visit with the study visit participants. It is the first and so far only place in Germany that completely generates electricity and heat for its own use and is thus playing a pioneering role in the energy transition. Barbara Ral, Climate Protection Manager of Potsdam-Mittelmark, and Michael Knape, Mayor of Treuenbrietzen, report in the film how the interaction of favourable basic conditions, the courage of individuals to try something new, and the broad involvement of citizens, contributed to the success of such a pilot project. They also explain what steps were necessary to take and what obstacles had to be overcome.

If desired, you can enable English subtitles in the navigation bar of the video.

For the film “Networked-Active-Sustainable” (see video below), Karola Braun-Wanke and Judith Hübner from the Environmental Coordination Office of the Berlin district of Steglitz-Zehlendorf were interviewed. In the Botanical Garden in Berlin they report on how the Coordination Office was developed, what goals it’s pursuing, what their work looks like in practice, and what role networking plays in it. They also provide information about their educational mandate and the environmental model pursued by the city of Berlin. The establishment of the Berlin Environmental Coordination Offices was preceded by an assessment of environmental education offers in the Berlin districts, in which UfU was involved. After the screening of the film, UfU’s management explained the development process of the Coordination Offices to the study tour participants.

If desired, you can enable English subtitles in the navigation bar of the video.

Another presentation was given by UfU about the National Climate Initiative of the Federal Environment Ministry (NKI) at request of the Bulgarian partners. In cooperation with Lothar Eisenmann from ifeu (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg), the NKI was presented as an example of funding opportunities for sustainable educational projects and other climate protection activities in German municipalities and schools.

The study visits were primarily organised by the local BEACON partners, SNRB, NTEF and SEVEn, and inputs from UfU were integrated into the program. In the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, the study visits took place as online workshops and UfU’s input presentations were followed by lively discussions and interested inquiries. Fortunately, the Romanian study visit was able to be carried out as a hybrid event in mid-April, as the majority of the participants were already vaccinated and local conditions allowed for it. The education sector multipliers met in Romania on site, visited various educational institutions in the area, and listened to virtual presentations by UfU.

Participants of the hybrid meeting in Romania were tested. One activity was to visit a vineyard. Copyrights of all three photos: SNRB

Participants of the hybrid meeting in Romania were tested. One activity was to visit a vineyard. Copyrights of all three photos: SNRB

Participants of the hybrid meeting in Romania were tested. One activity was to visit a vineyard. Copyrights of all three photos: SNRB

Three4Climate Position Paper: Including the ‘whole school approach’ and SDG’s into everyday school life

Integrating climate action in teaching

Regarding the incorporation of climate action content in the curricula, the participants from the trio countries report that these topics are already embedded in most curricula, but proper integration of ESD in detail is still missing. The teachers claim that reflection on specific themes can only take place superficially due to lack of time. The integration of climate action topics in teaching thus depends heavily on the teacher’s awareness and the personal attitude towards the general problem of climate change. The participants also expressed the need to increase knowledge on ESD and SDG’s among colleagues.

According to the teachers, the concept of ESD and the ‘whole school approach’ should be the aim for every school. It should not be limited to a voluntary basis, but obligatory for all schools. Yet, possibilities for a holistic approach for schools exist via diverse programmes and present legislation. The UNESCO school programme as well as the Eco-Schools programme provide support and guidance for schools across the globe. In the Three4Climate countries, there is for instance the ITS approach in Slovenia, which foresees a cross-curricular link to address a specific topic, like climate action. In Germany the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) provides learning material for teachers with the programme “Environment in the classroom”.

Main barriers

The most relevant barriers from teachers’ perspective to integrate ESD topics into teaching refer to the lack of ESD-related requirements in national learning objectives, the fragmentation of curricula without a holistic approach to include ESD in all subjects, and the allotted time in existing curricula, which does not take ESD aspects sufficiently into account. Additionally, the communication from state or national level on specific legislation and policies to promote ESD in schools could be improved. The teachers agree that ESD should be embedded in the overall national policy of the respective Ministry of Education. Thus, according to the participants, the main areas of improvement refer to national programmes and plans to integrate ESD in teaching and school activities, to increasing the capacity of teachers, and to providing respective guidance and support to schools. These improvements should occur in a coordinated national approach.

Solutions and demands

The solution proposed by the participants would designate teachers for the inclusion of ESD in each school. This should be organised by the schools themselves or groups of schools and funded by regional/national level programmes. Similarly, it is important to establish incentives in terms of payment for extra work and reducing standard teaching hours to free up time for interdisciplinary project work on climate action and sustainability topics. Further training and guidance for teachers on didactic methods and the provision of learning material for all ages with emphasis on ESD is necessary. More time should also be allocated to these topics to better include them into school life. Thus, external support and services would help increase engagement and knowhow of teachers and school staff. Ultimately, political will and additional budget are needed to overcome existing barriers and improve the ESD approach in all schools. In order to take practical action, schools would need the support of the wider society and high-level politics to build values for future, climate-friendly generations.

Online Conference: Blue and Green Infrastructure for Urban Climate Change Mitigation

Online conference: Blue and green infrastructure for urban climate change mitigation

The event was addressed to city officials, local government employees, planners, designers and landscape architects actually involved in the management of greenery, rainwater management and development of blue-green-infrastructure in cities.

The online conference, broadcasted live from the studio was watched by 252 people. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions in a chat. The interactive online workshops brought together 42 participants and were conducted in three small groups using the Zoom platform and the Mural interactive online whiteboard.

Climate NBS Poland Online conference: Blue and green infrastructure for urban climate change mitigation © Ewa Iwaszuk

Online conference: plenary session

The first panel started with a presentation “Good Practices from Germany as an inspiration for Polish local-governments: presentation of innovative nature-based solutions from Berlin”, conducted by Ewa Iwaszuk from Ecologic Institute. It served as a starting point for a discussion with study visit participants: Jacek Kisiel (City of Warsaw) and Bożena Zając (City of Mysłowice), moderated by Tomasz Bergier from the Sendzimir Foundation. The panelists shared their observations from the visit and perspectives for the introduction of similar solutions in Polish cities.

Panel discussion: perspectives on introduction of innovative nature-based solutions and implementation of best practice examples from abroad in Polish context © Ewa Iwaszuk

The next item on the agenda was a discussion on the experiences of transferring solutions from abroad to Poland, using the example of the Biotope Area Factor (BAF) from Berlin, conducted by Ilona Gosk with urban planner Agnieszka Kowalewska. During the discussion, the provisions of Polish law, which limit the introduction of similar solutions in local land use plans, were discussed.

Discussion on the experiences of transferring solutions from abroad to Poland, using the example of the Biotope Area Factor (BAF) from Berlin ©Fundacja Sendzimira © Ewa Iwaszuk

The last panel presented the results of technical trainings, during which planners and designers developed concepts of specific blue and green infrastructure investments for the cities hosting the trainings. The panel opened with presentations of sample studies from Warsaw, Krakow and Gdynia. Tomasz Bergier, who led this part of the conference, discussed with the guests sitting in the panel: Łukasz Pawlik (Krakow) and Jacek Wiśnicki (Warsaw), who discussed the prospects of implementing the developed concepts. Other investments in nature-based solutions undertaken by cities were also discussed.

At the end of the conference, Ilona Gosk reminded the participants that we all face the challenge of implementing the European Green Deal. She expressed the hope that the presented inspirations will allow the conference participants to take better actions to adapt cities to climate change, achieve climate neutrality, and that the presented cooperation mechanisms will allow the effective use of external funds.

The recording of the online conference is available on YouTube (in Polish).

Interactive workshops

Thursday’s workshop was an extension of the discussions started during the conference. Small groups and use of cutting edge software allowed for interactive discussion and exchange of experience.

The workshop entitled “Cooperation of designers and officials in the implementation of green and blue infrastructure solutions” was conducted by Agnieszka Czachowska and Karolina Maliszewska from the Sendzimir Foundation. During the workshop, the readiness of cities for the implementation of nature-based solutions was discussed and the main difficulties encountered by municipal staff in the process of commissioning, supervising and using blue-green infrastructure facilities were identified. The participants searched for solutions to help implement pilot projects in line with the expectations of cities and designers.

The participants of the second workshop, conducted by Ewa Iwaszuk from the Ecologic Institute and Tomasz Bergier from the Sendzimir Foundation, entitled “How to implement comprehensive and multifunctional blue and green infrastructure systems in Polish cities”, wished there was more time to discuss all the issues raised in the workshop. The participants reported the need for further work on recommendations on how to adapt foreign solutions to Polish realities.

The last workshop entitled “Adaptation of local law solutions from abroad to promote the development of nature-based solutions to Polish conditions” was conducted by Ilona Gosk from the Sendzimir Foundation and urban planner – Agnieszka Kowalewska. During the workshop, participants discussed the conditions that must be met in order to successfully adapt solutions from abroad to the reality of Polish cities. A map of Polish good practices, submitted by the training participants, was also created.

Map of best practices in Polish cities, created during the interactive workshop: “Adaptation of local law solutions from abroad to promote the development of nature-based solutions to Polish conditions” ©Fundacja Sendzimira

Conference materials

The conference was held in Polish. Recordings from individual panels and presentations of the speakers are available on this website.

Interview: Climate Journalism in Czechia and Germany

Tereza Šťastná of the Czech Radio. Photo: Tereza Šťastná

Tereza Šťastná of the Czech Radio (Český rozhlas) was a fellow of last year’s “Central Eastern European Climate and Energy Policy Scholarship for Journalists”. For two months, she worked for Deutsche Welle in Bonn to report about climate and energy issues and to broaden her view on these issues. For the second cohort of the exchange programme, she recommends not to worry but to be open to try something new.

You worked for two months at Deutsche Welle. What was your best experience during the exchange?

It is not easy to answer. The whole programme was a great experience; I met many new people and experts and could see a different kind of work in another media house. Deutsche Welle is a really big name around the world. The whole programme was a great experience.

Tereza Šťastná worked for Deutsche Well in Bonn for two months. Photo: Tereza Šťastná

What do you think the biggest differences are between climate and energy journalism in the Czech Republic and in Germany?

In my opinion, climate and energy issues are more prominently on the agenda in Germany, while in the Czech Republic the topic is underestimated. For example, renewable energies are a much bigger topic in Germany. I also enjoyed the wide net of experts on the issues, which I found in Germany.

What kind of story did you work on during your time at Deutsche Welle?

I spent some time working on insects as a new way of efficient food and ecological eating. Another story was the programme “Klimaneutral Leben” (climate-neutral living) in Berlin. I also covered the issues around Hambach Forest from two perspectives. On the one side there were activists fighting for Hambach Forest, on the other hand there were workers from the coal industry. (Find other interesting stories here).

Why do you think journalists should leave their own country to participate in an exchange?

Such an exchange can give enriching insight into different kind of issues and various options on how to solve them. It makes you leave the social bubble you might live in when you are always working in the same country on the same kind of topics.

During her time in Germany, Tereza Šťastná reported about the protests at the Hambach Forest. Photo: Tereza Šťastná

After being back from the exchange, have there been moments when you noticed the advantages of your experiences abroad?

Of course and in many particular moments. When I came back, I told my boss that we should focus more on climate and energy issues and he was very open to the initiative. I think that the number of reports on climate and energy increased by 50 percent since then. For example, I was able to prepare some kind of expert talk shows. I also brought some practical ideas back home to change workflows in our office.


“The number of reports on climate and energy increased by 50 percent.”

Tereza Šťastná, Český Rozhlas

Is there one wish or recommendation you have for the second cohort of journalists of this programme?

Yes definitely. Do not worry to try something new. Do not be afraid of not having necessary experience or skills, because you can learn them. In Germany and in other media around the world, people are kind and helpful. Moreover, you can broaden your network with people and experts. The exchange is absolutely enriching.

Young Energy Europe Awards Innovative Energy Scouts in Bulgaria

Award ceremony in Sofia

The jury had a hard time deciding which project to honour. After a long discussion they finally chose one winning project and additionally awarded three special prizes. The best project of the Bulgarian Energy Scouts 2019 was developed by the start-up company Dronamics which produces transport drones. In the near future they plan to offer transport services in countries lacking in infrastructure. The project focuses on the efficient production of component parts by 3D printers and reduces the waste of carbon or glass fiber reinforced epoxy resin by 97%. Due to the project, Dronamics strengthens resource efficiency in the production process and not only reduces earlier material losses but also decreases CO2-emisions by 67%.

The three special prizes were awarded to:

  • Spark Fitness & Spa for the implementation of a water filter system. This system replaces more than 23,000 disposable plastic bottles and cups per year, which previously were used by customers and employees. Additionally, the water has positive health effects.
  • Liebherr-Hausgeräte Marica EOOD won a prize for a compressed air project. By replacing an inefficient compressor combined with other measures they will save 296 tons of CO2 per year.
  • Aurubis Bulgaria AD established a railway transport to move copper anodes to the nearest port. Thanks to the energy scouts, the company can replace the transport volume of 40 diesel-powered trucks per week with electric locomotives.

All energy scouts presented their projects with great commitment and based their vision on solid figures and calculations. They faced critical questions from the jury and the audience, which included Stefan Bundscherer and Ulrike Leis, two representatives of the EUKI secretariat. All participating projects contribute to making their companies more modern, more competitive, more climate-friendly, and help reduce their CO2 footprints.

Responsible for the content of this page is the named author / organisation:Young Energy Europe

Study: Assessment of Investment Needs and Gaps in Relation to the 2030 Climate and Energy Targets of Germany

Why is the study exciting and relevant for other EUKI projects and for decision makers in the private and public sector dealing with investment challenges? We show key methods (and their limitations!) for estimating investment needs in –relation to achieving climate and energy targets. This is even more relevant at the moment, because all EU member states are drawing up National Energy and Climate Plans, where they need to report (to the EU Commission and to each other) how they intend to achieve the national climate and energy targets by 2030, how much investment is needed and how the financing can be provided. If you are going to run other investment needs assessment or if your counterparts in the government or the private sector are confronted with similar challenges, our analysis will help you to find guidance through the jungle of existing methods.

The full report is rather comprehensive and can be used as a manual, where you either learn the whole story or where you can look up specific chapters to answer your questions about, say, modelling investment needs for renewable energy!

The short and the long version of the study can be downloaded below.

Summary fo decision makers

Full report

Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility

Conference: Planning for 2050. EU experience with long-term climate strategies

The conference “Planning for 2050” took stock of the experience gained in Europe and presented lessons learnt as well as challenges encountered in different Member States – seeking to connect them to the EU’s own overall 2050 vision.

The conference brought together a range of relevant stakeholders (governments, civil society, business) in an innovative setting, with space for interaction and feedback.

During an interview session on stage, Getlyn Denks from Estonian Ministry of Environment and Dr Silke Karcher from the German Ministry for Environment emphasised the role of long-term climate planning as an opportunity to chart a clear pathway, create a shared vision across governmental stakeholders and ensuring countires can meet their climate targets without damaging their economies.

Technical experts Yves Marignac of negaWatt institute and Katarina Trstenjak from Jozef Stefan Institute emphasised the importance of clear, holisitic vision to design comprehensive decarbonisation policies and avoid emergence of counter measures that offset benefits achieved through climate policy. The experts emphasised that the challenge of achieving net-zero reduction requires systemic analysis and thinking. This includes shifting away from sectorial to cross-cutting approach in policymaking and modelling to explore new decarbonisation potentials.

During the conference participants also had a chance to participate in interactive break out sessions in smaller groups, focusing on specific technical and policy aspects of long-term climate planning. Moreover, representatives of Estonia, France and Germany presented their country’s approaches to long-term climate planning.

In the final, closing panel, representatives of European Commission (Tom van Ierland, DG CLIMA), Member State (Robert Jeszke, KOBiZE, Poland) and industry (Florie Gonsolin, CEFIC) provided their perspectives and visions for the climate-neutral EU by 2050.

Climate and Energy Investment Map of Czechia

Draft of the Czech CEIM is out!

We are glad to share the news that our project has finalized a draft of the Climate and Energy Investment Map for Czechia. The map reflects domestic investment flowing into climate protection and energy transition. It covers total capital expenditure for such measures in two sectors, energy supply and buildings. These are the most important contributors to greenhouse gas emissions of Czechia. The Czech map replicates the Climate and Energy Investment Map Germany, which we published in February 2019.

Figure: Draft of the 2017 Climate and Energy Investment Map for Czechia, CZK billion:

Selected Insights

In 2017, public and private actors invested CZK 18.1 billion in climate mitigation measures in the buildings and energy sectors of Czechia. Investment in energy efficiency measures (CZK 11.4 billion, and 63 % of the total tracked investment) largely prevail over the investment in renewable energy and fuel switch.

The main sources of investment were private entities, such as households and corporate actors, providing 60 % of the total investment (CZK 10.7 billion). The rest were public sources, stemming mainly from the EU Funds and public national budget.

The key instrument used to support investment in the buildings sector were grants while the contribution of other financial instruments was not significant. In the energy sector, the main instruments were feed-in-tariffs and green bonus, representing operational support into renewable energy development.

The intermediaries assisting the provision of capital were national ministries and their agencies, as well as the various actors of the capital market.