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Climate action in Bonn

Bonn is to become climate-neutral by 2035. In addition, the city must adapt to the unavoidable consequences of climate change and take precautions against extreme weather conditions. Achieving these goals will require major joint efforts by politicians, the administration, citizens and businesses.

A local approach to a global challenge

In order to achieve the agreed goal of climate neutrality by 2035, the city has developed the "Climate Plan 2035" as a strategy for a climate-neutral city as a whole, which was adopted by the City Council in March 2023. In the "Bonn4Future - Wir fürs Klima" (Bonn4Future - We for the climate) participatory process, citizens have developed proposals for the path to a climate-neutral, livable Bonn 2035, which will be submitted to the administration and politicians and dovetailed with the climate plan.

The City of Bonn Group will also launch a work program for the climate neutrality of its administration and associated companies. Climate protection is a cross-cutting issue that considers and affects all areas of life: how and with what energy we are supplied, how we live and heat, how trade, commerce, services and industry organize their processes and how we eat, consume and organize our leisure time.

The city is also taking account of the unavoidable consequences of the climate crisis, which are particularly noticeable in Bonn in the form of heat waves and heavy rainfall. The urban climate is given special weight in urban planning. A concept for a water-sensitive city is in the works. And funding programs for greening buildings and unsealing support private and commercial activities.

The central coordination office for urban climate protection is the Climate Neutral Bonn 2035 Program Office in the Mayor's Division. Solutions for the challenge of climate adaptation are developed and implemented in the Environmental Prevention and Planning section of the Office for the Environment and Urban Greenery. The Program Office and the Office for the Environment and Urban Greenery work very closely together.

A glance back

The City of Bonn has been committed to climate protection since the mid-1990s and takes responsibility to locally combat or limit the causes and consequences of climate change. Ultimately, the incentive was also due to the establishment of the UN Climate Secretariat in Bonn.

Important steps into this direction were an initial energy and climate protection scheme, detailed CO2 accounting, and a comprehensive action plan, with the aim to

  • reduce energy input
  • use energy efficiently
  • replace fossil energy sources by renewable energy sources and
  • reduce CO2 emissions through sustainable mobility.

At the beginning of the past decade, questions of resilience to climate change and its effects were increasingly brought to the fore. In Bonn, due to its location in the Rhine valley, the impacts of climate change go along with an especially problematic urban climate.

A mission statement on climate protection and adaptation forms part of Bonn’s comprehensive municipal Sustainability Strategy that was adopted in February 2019:

  • GHG emissions in Bonn will be reduced by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990. This development will be monitored every two years
  • The city will become a CO2-neutral society by the year 2050
  • By 2050, Bonn’s energy supply will almost completely be generated from renewable energies
  • The City of Bonn will continuously develop into a climate-resilient city, which will reduce vulnerability

Moreover, Bonn’s City Council declared Climate Emergency in July of 2019 to show that climate protection has the highest priority in all municipal action. At the same time, a strong signal was sent out for national and international legislation.

Together with more than 30 German fellow mayors, Bonn’s then Mayor Ashok Sridharan agreed on key principles for sustainable development, laying down the ambitious goal of becoming entirely climate neutral by the year 2035.

Climate Protection Coordinating Unit

A city such as Bonn has the potential to advance and control climate action and climate adaptation in various areas of activity. This involves city planning, energy supply and public relations as well as the political commitment in city networks.

In order to coordinate activities on climate protection and climate adaptation, the city administration has set up its own coordinating unit for climate protection. For example, it controls the city's internal climate protection management and is supported by representatives from a wide range of specialist areas. The climate action campaign sensitizes Bonn's citizens to climate protection and shows them alternative courses of action in their daily routine.

With regard to climate adaptation, the City of Bonn is pursuing the goal of continuously developing into a climate-dependent city. The main measures are: