© 2013 Frederik Schrader / Dresden Marketing GmbH
Climate Alliance Annual International Conference 2015 in Dresden
DEVELOPING EUROPE – Opening
More than 200 representatives of local and national governments, EU institutions, industry and the Amazon region gathered in Dresden for Climate Alliance’s 23rd International Conference from 22 to 25 April 2015 – despite a rail strike in Germany in full force at the time. “DEVELOPING EUROPE – Securing local energy supplies” was the motto of the conference, which saw the attendance of participants from 24 European and Latin American countries.
Deputy Mayor Dirk Hilbert warmly welcomed conference attendees in the name of the host city of Dresden. He pointed out that behind the famous cityscape of Dresden lay a high-tech location with a renowned university and highly innovative companies. He called on the participants to discover the development of the city, a member of Climate Alliance since 1994, for themselves.
Joachim Lorenz, Councillor on Health and Environment of the city of Munich and, as of the conference’s beginning, the outgoing President of Climate Alliance, thanked Dresden for its hospitality in hosting the 2015 conference, which also commemorated Climate Alliance’s 25th anniversary. Lorenz sees Climate Alliance local authorities as so well-positioned that they can form a pillar in the EU’s call for an Energy Union, reducing their climate change impacts for the benefit of all the world’s citizens.
Over the past 25 years, Climate Alliance has also acted in solidarity with the indigenous peoples of the Amazon region, who make large contributions to safeguarding the climate through their exemplary stewardship of the rainforest. Jorge Furagaro, Vice-President of Climate Alliance and Coordinator for Environment, Climate Change and Biodiversity of COICA (Coordinating Body for the Indigenous Peoples Organisation of the Amazon Basin), welcomed the participants on behalf of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon region. He expressed his pleasure regarding the closing ceremony for project GREEN after 15 years of success as well as his anticipation for many other exciting initiatives in the future.
In the audience: Jorge Furagaro, Thomas Brose und Letitia Luzia Yawanawa
The role of municipalities in energy security
Introduction and discussion
Hans-Josef Fell, president of the Energy Watch Group, opened the session, stressing the key role of renewable energy sources for the security of supply. Their use can help tackle the major challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation while significantly diminishing the dangers brought by war and economic crises. Paired with energy savings through energy efficiency, renewable energies are already more economical than fossil or nuclear energy sources in many areas of the world.
Michael Wübbels, deputy chief executive of the Association of Local Utilities (VKU) in Germany presented the challenges for the security of supply from the perspective of public utilities. As suppliers, supporters and partners they are in the focus municipal efforts to heighten the security of supplies. They must adapt to new circumstances, such as the strong expansion of fluctuating renewable energy, and therefore rethink their business models and corporate strategies. Partnerships are a way to meet future challenges.
For Csaba Borboly, member of the Committee of the Regions and Chairman of the City Council of Harghita (RO), ensuring energy security means the combination of energy efficiency with the use of renewable energies. The framework for local and regional energy infrastructure must be improved and ‘citizen energy’ promoted. In his presentation, Csaba Borboly introduced Romanian examples of resource efficiency in buildings, also combining energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies.
Rainer Handlfinger (left) and John Tanner
After the three contributions, the question of the role of municipalities in energy security was discussed by a wide range of actors including the representatives of local authorities Fernand Schiltz of the municipality of Contern (LU), Csaba Borboly of Harghite (RO), Rainer Handlfinger of Ober-Grafendorf (AT) and John Tanner of Oxford (UK), as representative from the national level Camille Gira (LU), from the public utility sector Gerhard Holtmeier, Thüga AG, Michael Wübbels, VKU, and Reiner Zieschank, DREWAG Stadtwerke Dresden, as well as Eriberto Gualinga from the Kichwa community of Sarayaku, Ecuador. All actors conveyed the key message that energy efficiency, energy conservation and renewable energies form the three key important pillars of energy security in which local authorities can take a leading role. Representatives of the municipalities added that for the implementation of measures in the realm of energy security, the participation and engagement of the public is vital. In terms of energy conservation, sufficiency plays an important role. The public utility sector also emphasised the importance of local production for energy security, stressing that distribution grids must be strengthened. An important change in the future will also hopefully be a trend toward consumers using less and less energy, making customer loyalty increasingly important for public utilities.
from left: Rainer Handlfinger, Reiner Zieschank, Camille Gira, Sarah Mekjian (moderation), Gerhard Holtmeier, Michael Wübbels, John Tanner and Fernand Schiltz
Integrating renewables into the local energy supply
To ensure that the energy transition is secure, affordable, environmentally-friendly and socially acceptable, we will need to break new ground and implement creative ideas.
Bernhard Reinitzhuber of the city of Klagenfurt (AT) reported on the preparation and the results of a sustainable energy action plan for the city of Klagenfurt. The biggest challenge for climate protection in Klagenfurt lies in the mobility sector.
Ralf Strothteicher of Dresden’s Municipal Sewage Treatment Plant (DE) presented how a sewage plant was transformed into an energy-autonomous waste water park. By pointing to the example of Dresden’s own sewage plant, he showed which different energy sources can be used in waste water treatment plants and how this municipal energy consumer can be converted to an energy supplier.
Tilman Werner, from DREWAG, Dresden’s local energy supplier, showed the potential large battery storage can play in the energy transition. Presenting a current pilot project of DREWAG’s, whose motto is now, "Sell intelligent solutions, not kilowatt hours."
Climate change mitigation and adaptation
A coordinated climate policy should integrate both mitigation and adaptation. In this light, the Covenant of Mayors, focusing on mitigation, and Mayors Adapt, with its focus on adaptation, are complementary. In the beginning of this forum Lucie Blondel, Climate Alliance staff member in the Covenant of Mayors and Mayors Adapt office, presented the priorities and differences of these two initiatives.
Christian Korndörfer from the city of Dresden (DE) and Matthias Lerm of the city of Jena (DE) presented adaptation measures in the field of urban planning. Dresden faces the challenge of reconciling the characteristics of a garden city with urban density. In answer to the challenge, Dresden wants to build a complex network of green areas along local streams and rivers. Jena’s working approach is based on the "4 Vs: Vermeiden, Verringern, Verträglich gestalten, Versichern (avoiding, reducing, compatible shaping, insuring)". For Venice (IT), a city with a long history of adaptation, Alessandro Tasinato presented the strategies to deal with floods and sediment transport in the lagoon.
Covenant of Mayors – Energy efficiency and security in Eastern Europe
Iryna Horodyska (left) and Mariia Druzhynina
The Covenant of Mayors and Mayors East signatories in former East bloc countries share a common history and former administrative structure that still affects the operational framework of these local authorities. During this session, three signatory local authorities had the possibility to exchange on solutions and experiences regarding district heating, sustainable transport and attracting financing for the implementation of climate mitigation measures.
Fritz Pielenz started by showing how the city of Dresden refurbished its district heating system, ensured its financing. He also delved into how Dresden dealt with a shrinking population after the German reunification. Vita Kontić shared the city of Ljubljana’s (SI) concept and efforts to increase the space reserved for pedestrians and cyclists. She emphasised the importance of involving the public and children as the key target groups. Kontić also recommended applying for awards as a means of disseminating the good project results, which might also attract future funding and investors. Representatives of the Ukraine, Mariia Druzhynina from the city of Vinnytsia and Olena Klak of the city of Zhovkva, continued by presenting good examples of the financing of climate mitigation measures, emphasising the large variety of different funding opportunities available.
A cooperation platform was also launched during this session: The municipalities of the East often have little possibility to share their challenges and solutions in developing and implementing climate mitigation measures. To overcome this obstacle, a cooperation platform was launched in Dresden in the presence of participants from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Ukraine, Hungary, Moldova and Slovenia.
The Covenant of Mayors beyond 2020
Ludwig Arentz (left) and Julie Learnoes
The EU’s Covenant of Mayors initiative clearly demonstrates the importance of the local level, having given rise to some 4,500 Sustainable Energy Action Plans. Further anchoring of the initiative in the EU 2030 energy and climate policy framework is imperative, as is ensuring its longevity.
Julie Laernoes from the city of Nantes (FR) presented how the Covenant of Mayors affected the climate activities even in a leading local authority and emphasised: “The Covenant initiative really helped action at the local level to be more effective”. Tine Heyse from the city of Ghent (BE) sent a note: She stressed that the Covenant needs a long-term goal which should be in line with the long-term objective included in the EU roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050.
Joachim Helbig and Ludwig Arentz introduced the South partnerships of their cities Bonn and Cologne (both DE). They spoke about friction losses because mostly two different sections of the city administration are responsible for the topics climate change and North-South cooperation. By choosing a twin city in the South a more intensive cultural exchange and including more citizens into the partnerships should be considered.
Participants in the audience demanded a more supportive Covenant for the Climate Alliance members and that North-South solidarity should be a part of the Covenant. It was asked for new indicators like ‘new jobs created’ and the togetherness of both initiatives – mitigation and adaptation to climate change – was claimed.
EYD2015: A critical look at development models
Thomas Brose (left) and Jorge Furagaro
Klaus Hecht (left) and Eriberto Gualinga
The current growth-based development model requires a disproportionate amount of resources and is responsible for global problems such as climate change. Indigenous peoples have been developing alternatives in line with their cultural roots.
Jorge Furagaro of COICA criticised the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Indigenous peoples do not see REDD+ as an integrated approach regarding forests. The livelihoods of the Amazon peoples along with their cultural rights, complete with all the diversity in terms of languages, communication systems and ways of life, must be guaranteed. Planting sugar cane and soy beans for the production of biofuels causes deforestation, but preserving nature does not automatically mean preserving the lifestyles of indigenous peoples. Management of indigenous territories and forests by indigenous peoples should be secured by law.
Eriberto Gualinga of the indigenous community of Sarayaku in Ecuador stressed that, for the Sarayaku people, living in the forest means not only preservation but also development in the dimensions of fauna and flora, micro organisations and spirituality. The community does not want to have any oil or mining projects in its forests. They are more interested in safeguard livelihoods over the long term – for decades and for generations. The Sarayaku people wish to share this plea with the world’s nations and the UN.
Julie Laernoes, Vice President of Nantes Métropole, Deputy Mayor of the City of Nantes, France, and Board Member of Climate Alliance: “A successful global climate agreement needs... the full mobilisation of local governments who can tackle climate change effectively with the citizens on the ground.”
Lasha Nakashidze, City of Batumi, Georgia: “Ambitious climate action on the local level means... siginificant impact on the global level.”
Eriberto Gualinga, Community of Sarayaku, Ecuador: “Global partnerships are important... to find a solution to the impending climate changes together: indigenous peoples and western society.”
The role of municipalities - national, European and international
25 Years Climate Alliance – insights, perspectives and experiences
On the 25th anniversary of Climate Alliance Karl-Ludwig Schibel, a founding member and Board Member of Climate Alliance, looked back on a quarter century of municipal climate action. Much has changed since the association’s beginnings 1990, but the founding vision is still relevant and will remain so: climate justice in a sustainable world. “We have to take ourselves seriously” demanded Schibel of all Climate Alliance members, because “a solution for climate change will not come from the UN, the EU or any other institution or person alone, but solutions are coming daily from each municipality.” He went on to describe how Climate Alliance was originally perceived: as visionary, with a sense of mission, but also a bit exotic. In the meantime, many new players in the field of climate change have arisen, so it is increasingly essential to highlight the special identity of Climate Alliance and the “vitality of an international and cooperative city network.”
The role of municipalities in the international process
In the run-up to the UN Climate Summit at the end of the year, many negotiations and conferences will take place including the conference of the Rhône-Alpes region on 1 and 2 July in Lyon (FR). Benoit Leclair, Vice-President of the Rhône-Alpes region, invites all local authorities and NGOs around the world to present a joint message for the negotiations.
Nicholas Nuttall from the office of the UNFCCC referred to another important milestone in advance of the COP: in September, the Post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be adopted by the UN during a summit of the heads of state.
The 21st Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), or COP21, will take place in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015. Camille Gira, Secretary of State for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure in Luxembourg, pointed out that the financing of climate change measures will be extremely important for a global climate agreement. Especially for local actors such as cities and towns, this will play a key role.
Pedro Ballesteros, representative of the European Commission, unfortunately could not be physically present in Dresden but sent a video message. In it he stressed the continued importance of municipalities in the fight against climate change. Ballesteros looked forward to the continued success of the Covenant of Mayors, hoping as well for a broader initiative on its basis at a global level.
Round tables, excursions and project GREEN
Round tables: Innovative climate action projects and initiatives
A total of 15 projects from Climate Alliance cities and towns were presented in two sessions of round tables. Individual presentations were held on a wide range of issues, demonstrating an array of solutions for local climate efforts. Municipalities such as St. Gallen (CH) informed about their energy concept, Modena (IT) about the Local Road Map and Hannover (DE) presented their energy and climate planning initiatives. Further topics covered local procurement, (electrical) mobility, financing of efficiency measures and social sustainability with local shops and North-South cooperation. Hans Joachim Wittkowski of the city of Hagen (DE) even presented the “LUCY the killer mosquito” trilogy, a set of plays for pre-school children addressing population growth, world hunger, poverty reduction, social inequality and climate change.
Dresden organised three informative excursions. The first took participants to the municipal sewage treatment plant in Dresden-Kaditz. Via various renewable energy sources ranging from a roof-top photovoltaic installation to hydro-electric applications through to the use of sewage gas, the over 100-year-old plant covers more than half of its annual energy needs.
To see the Reick cogeneration plant, the destination of the second excursion, participants took one of the city’s 18-strong fleet of hybrid buses. DREWAG Saxony operates the first commercial battery storage at the Reick heat and power plant. The system is being tested as a primary control system for the public power distribution grid and stands as a cornerstone in the development of practical battery storage systems.
The third tour led 40 participants to Hellerau, the Germany’s first garden city. In the neighbourhood’s concept, living, working, learning and culture form a single unit. Houses for workers are placed next to larger country houses, shops, a school with a dormitory and a bath house.
Festival Hall Hellerau, © 2013 Stephan Floß
15 years of project GREEN – A finale of a project for Amazonia
Since 2000, Climate Alliance has supported project GREEN, an initiative that has placed 100 oil paintings with 100 local authorities and institutions across Europe in exchange for generous donations to strengthen the autonomy of Brazil’s Waiãpi people. The paintings, created for the project by artist Michael Arantes Müller, were each inspired by a different word for “green” in the languages of the indigenous peoples of the Brazilian rainforest. For the last 15 years, the project has supported midwifery and self-sufficiency courses for indigenous women as well as the planting of traditional gardens.
In celebration of the project’s 15 years of success, Climate Alliance held a special finale on the eve of the annual international conference in which the 100th painting was presented to Letitia Luiza Yawanawa of Acre, Brazil, President of the Indigenous Women's Organisation SITOAKORE. In this symbol of solidarity, the last painting of project GREEN was given back to the land and people that inspired its creation.
Climate Alliance would like to thank all donors and supporters for their interest in the project and their contributions!
Michael Arantes Müller, Letitia Luiza Yawanawa, Thomas Brose and Marion Schneider
General Assembly of Climate Alliance
Resolution on "The Post-2015 Development Agenda"
From left: Schibel, Lorenz and Brose
Joachim Helbig, Bonn
The resolution entitled “The Post-2015 Development Agenda – From visions to measures and solutions” was presented and discussed at the General Assembly on 23 April 2015. The resolution, stating that Climate Alliance members “remain committed to ambitious global climate protection goals in addition to the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the global sustainability goals,” was passed unanimously with only a few abstentions. The text stressed the critical role of municipalities as an interface between the international, European and national level as well as the local population. As an important requirement, the “integrative and participatory cooperation with our partners in the southern hemisphere” is mentioned, as well as the need for political will and commitment to civil society. Global targets have an impact and Climate Alliance municipalities commit themselves to filling the local level with life.
Resolution “A market model for the energy transition”
The resolution entitled, “A market model for the energy transition – A new energy system design” was composed by the Energy Security 2050 working group of Climate Alliance. It was submitted by the city of Frankfurt (DE) and presented by Wiebke Fiebig, Head of Frankfurt’s Energy Department, during the General Assembly.
In February 2015, the EU Commission presented its strategy for achieving a crisis-proof Energy Union. As part of the current debate, Climate Alliance asks for the EU-wide implementation of the energy transition with the goal of 100 percent renewable energy supply by 2050. This will require a market model that takes the principles of a market economy, climate action and technical conditions into account (basic points detailed in the resolution text).
During the discussion on the resolution, objections to the current text were expressed and modifications suggested. The resolution was thus not passed as such and is now open for amendments, which should be sent to the European Secretariat by 30 June for potential inclusion. The resulting revised resolution is set to be adopted by the Executive Board on behalf of the membership.
Draft in the ‘Members only’ area → Documents (on the left side)
Election of Executive Board members
On 25 April 2015, the General Assembly elected Giulio Guerzoni, Councillor for Sport, Youth, Environment, Energy Policy, Civil Services, Civil Protection and Volunteering of the city of Modena (IT), as well as Simone Raskob, Councillor and Head of the Department for Building and Environment of the city of Essen (DE), to the Executive Board of Climate Alliance for the first time. We congratulate both on their election!
Two members of the board, Jorge Furagaro, Coordinator for Environment, Climate Change and Biodiversity of the COICA (EC), and Eva Schobesberger, Councillor of the city of Linz (AT), presented themselves as candidates and were re-elected.
Seven other board members were elected in 2014 for two year terms and will remain in office:
Rainer Handlfinger, Mayor of the municipality of Ober-Grafendorf (AT)
Tine Heyse, Councillor of the city of Ghent (BE)
Karin Hungerbühler, city of St. Gallen (CH)
Julie Laernoes, Vice President of Nantes Métropole (FR)
Holger Matthäus, Senator of the city of Rostock (DE)
Joan Puigdollers I Fargas, Deputy President at Barcelona Provincial Council (ES)
Fernand Schiltz, Mayor of the municipality of Contern (LU)
Tine Heyse and Holger Matthäus will now jointly assume the function of President, assisted by Jorge Furagaro as Deputy President.
Climate Alliance was forced to give a sad farewell to Joachim Lorenz, Councillor of Munich (DE), and Karl-Ludwig Schibel of Città di Castello (IT). Both resigned from the Executive Board of Climate Alliance after many years of dedicated service. We thank both for their commitment to Climate Alliance and its ideals as well as for the excellent work. All the best for the future!
Dr. Karl-Ludwig Schibel (left) and Joachim Lorenz
Online documentation of the conference on the website of Climate Alliance
Further photos of the conference
Climate Alliance annual report 2014 and planning 2015
The next Climate Alliance Annual International Conference probably will take place in autumn 2016 near Vienna in Lower Austria. We also plan to award the Climate Star winners 2016 during this conference. We look forward to seeing you there!