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Climate protection and adaptation

Bonn's commitment to climate protection and adaptation

The City of Bonn has been involved in climate protection since the mid-1990s and since 2011 also in the area of climate adaptation. The goal of all climate protection measures is to reduce local CO2 emissions. This is to be achieved by reducing energy consumption, using energy efficiently and substituting fossil fuels with renewable energies. The City is trying to counter the unavoidable consequences of climate change by means of adapted planning that takes particular account of the urban climate situation. 

For a city like Bonn, there are options to exercise influence and control in various fields of action for climate protection and climate adaptation. They range from urban planning, energy supply and public relations to political involvement in city networks.

Climate Coordination Unit

A Climate Coordination Unit has been established to coordinate the activities on climate protection and climate adaptation. It monitors, for example, the city's internal climate protection management and is supported by representatives of various departments. Through the climate protection campaign, Bonn's citizens are sensitized to climate protection and alternative courses of action are presented.

Goals

As part of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, the City of Bonn has committed itself to reducing CO2 emissions in Bonn by at least 40 percent by 2030. This target has also been adopted in the new "Mission Statement of the City of Bonn on Climate Protection and Climate Adaptation". In November 2019, the City Council also took the decision to make the city climate neutral by 2035. To this end, there will be a broad-based participation process in 2021 and 2022 called "Bonn4Future - We for the Climate. In various participation formats, it explores the question of how this goal can be achieved. The complex process is being implemented in cooperation between the City of Bonn and the Bonn im Wandel association.

In terms of climate adaptation, the City of Bonn is pursuing the goal of continuously developing into a city that is sensitive to and copes with climate change. 

Key measures in the two areas of action of climate protection and climate adaptation are:

  • CO2 monitoring: Since 2008, the City of Bonn has been conducting differentiated CO2 monitoring. The current balance sheet shows that CO2 emissions have decreased by 25 percent per capita by 2016 as compared to 1990. This means that the CO2 emissions of Bonn's citizens still amount to 6.9 tons per year and inhabitant. The transport sector, which is still growing, accounts for the largest share at 41 percent. It is followed by private households with 29 percent, trade and services with 20, industry with 7 and municipal facilities including buildings with 3 percent respectively.
  • Energy-efficient new buildings: Since 1997, the City of Bonn has been making higher demands – as compared to the legal standard - on the energy efficiency of new buildings. They are agreed upon in the sale of municipal land and in contracts with investors in a binding and verifiable manner. The current standard is the Efficiency House55. For larger construction projects, energy concepts are drawn up that take into account renewable energies. For municipal buildings, especially for schools and daycare centers, the city goes one step further. Here, the Energy Efficiency 55 standard for new buildings applies, comprising passive-house components with the aim of very low energy consumption.
  • Energy-efficient renovation of old buildings: The highest potential for CO2 savings lies in the area of old buildings. Existing buildings that have not been energetically renovated consume many times more energy than a house built to new construction standards. In order to tap this potential, the City of Bonn, together with 20 partner organizations, with a focus on the crafts, founded the Bonn Energy Agency in 2012. It bundles the expertise of energy consultants, planners and the specialized trades to provide qualified advice.
  • Solar roof cadaster: Another service offered by the City: Bonn residents can use the solar roof cadaster to find out online whether a photovoltaic system or a solar thermal system can be installed on their house.
  • Adaptation to climate change: The City promotes measures to adapt to climate change: In the "Greening of Buildings" funding program, green roofs and facades on existing buildings are eligible for funding from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. A further "unsealing" funding program is expected to start in the fall of 2021.With funding projects with partners from science and practice, the City of Bonn has developed basic principles for climate adaptation in the field of heat. As a result, a high-resolution climate analysis and climate scenarios are now available, as well as planning reference maps as a basis for consideration in urban land use planning.  As a result of a project with the German Weather Service and the State Office for Environment, Nature and Consumer Protection NRW, a planning tool for simulating the effects of climate adaptation measures in different building structures is available - also for other NRW municipalities.

Heavy rains - flood prevention

The City of Bonn has initiated numerous projects for climate adaptation of the infrastructure with regard to heavy rain and flood prevention. Since the first extreme event of the recent past in 2010, in addition to participation in research projects (e.g. together with the DIFU), a whole package of measures has been initiated for the city's climate adaptation, starting with the establishment of a warning system for stream floods, extensive construction measures, advising citizens and optimizing operational processes. Heavy rain resilience now also plays a key role in new construction areas and even in existing settlement areas.

Mobility

In the field of mobility, the City of Bonn promotes the change to mobility by bicycle and has set itself the goal of significantly increasing the proportion of bicycle trips of currently 15 percent.

The expansion of the respective infrastructure will make cycling more attractive and increase the proportion of bicycle rides. In addition to opening one-way streets to bicycle traffic, the establishment of protective lanes and the continuous expansion of bicycle parking facilities in the city districts and at public transport stops, more than 50 bicycle lanes have been established to date. The main routes of the bicycle traffic have been provided with a junction signposting system, which can be used for planning trips via the country's bicycle route planner. In 2018, the new bicycle station at the main railway station was opened, which offers a 24-hour service with automatic access. A bicycle rental system has been in place since the fall of 2018. In a sponsored project, the City is developing cycle paths into fast cycle routes and setting up mobile stations in the city center.

The City of Bonn is also focusing on electric mobility: in recent years, the city's vehicle fleet has begun to gradually switch to electric drives. The municipal subsidiary Stadtwerke Bonn operates electric filling stations in the city area and uses electric buses in public transport. A complete switch to electric buses is planned by 2030.

Incidentally, the City of Bonn has one of the densest public transport networks in Germany compared to other cities of its size. Stadtwerke Bonn offers four different means of transport: light rail, streetcar, buses and a bicycle rental system. The public transport network and operating times are continuously being adapted to the increasing demand. 

The regional railroad network is also being constantly expanded. Several new stops have been added in recent years, such as the stop "Bonn UN Campus". On the right side of the Rhine, work is currently underway to build additional tracks for the extension of the S-Bahn line 13 from Troisdorf via Beuel to Bonn-Oberkassel. The City of Bonn will further extend existing lines and electrify the S 23.

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