State Secretary Flasbarth: "Many cities in both countries are taking climate action"
Poland’s Environment Minister Jan Szyszko and State Secretary for the Environment Jochen Flasbarth affirmed the two countries’ mutual cooperation on municipal climate action and air quality. During the Warsaw Climate and Energy Talks conference series, State Secretary Flasbarth noted: "The transition to a low-emission economy is not just a task for politics. Everyone needs to play a part – governments cannot decree climate action. In order to succeed, we have to win people over. We have to start where people live and work: in towns and cities."
Despite varying starting situations, numerous German and Polish municipalities are taking pioneering action for the climate and, therefore, also for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. More than 800 Polish municipalities have applied for funding for the development of low-carbon growth plans. The German Environment Ministry (BMUB) is involved in expanding advisory assistance services for these municipalities.
At the moment, the BMUB is supporting two projects that facilitate German-Polish exchange at local and regional level through the establishment of climate action city partnerships, among other initiatives. Partner cities in Poland and Germany, for example Herten and Szczytno, Wunsiedel and Łapy, are actively cooperating on municipal-level climate action and issues of air quality control. The cooperation covers topics including energy upgrades for public buildings, increasing the share of electricity from renewable sources and reducing energy consumption, e.g. through modernising street lighting. Polish municipalities show particular interest in cooperation on financing issues and public participation processes.
The Warsaw Climate and Energy Talks were launched in 2013 by the BMUB and the Polish Environment Ministry. The aim is to make the German-Polish dialogue among political, economic, scientific and civil stakeholders more robust. At this year’s conference, opened today by Minister Szyszko and State Secretary Flasbarth, Polish and German municipalities will share their experiences with and plans for the transition to low-emission economies and will discuss possible solutions.