In this talk, Detlef Gerdts (Head of Department, Environment and Climate Protection, City of Osnabrück) provided an overview of the City of Osnabrück’s ambitious goals and programming, and reflected on 25 years of climate initiatives. Since signing onto Germany’s Climate Action Master Plan in 2012, Osnabrück’s Energiewende (energy transition) is on track for 100% renewable electricity, 90% renewable heating and cooling, and 60% renewable transportation by 2050. Mr. Gerdts emphasized the need for intense cooperation between the city and its hinterland, with clear benefits for both, in order to achieve its energy goals. Other key lessons included institutionalizing the goal beyond politics to create a safe environment for investment, as well as the need for enabling finance mechanisms. In terms of public saliency, the already high cost of electricity in Germany aided the feasibility of renewables, while a history of anti-nuclear sentiment contributed to the public acceptability of the goal. Innovative project examples from Osnabruck included a survey of solar radiation feasibility for rooftop PV (the first city in Europe to do so) and a thermographic aerial survey identifying insulation status of homes. Both projects provided data to individual homeowners about their properties, allowing them to make informed decisions about the costs and benefits of retrofits and PV installation. In both examples, citizens could take action individually, without requiring mass investment or financial incentives from the city.
Carbon Talks 15th June 2016 read more »