Theme: Cities and Climate Change
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Ladies and Gentlemen,
as a Minister responsible for the environment as well as building and urban development, the issue of cities and climate change is close to my heart!
By 2030 almost 60 percent of the world population will live in cities. And indeed it is cities which are particularly vulnerable to climate change. At the same time, cities generate more than 60 percent of all carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, mainly through energy generation, industry, vehicles and heating and cooling.
But there is also an enormous potential for saving energy and reducing emissions in cities. They are hotbeds of innovation, where new ideas are born and implemented.
These aspects of cities must be strengthened!
Cities are particularly suited for electric mobility and special mobility models such as car sharing, which can be integrated with the use of public transportation and bicycles. This is precisely where we are taking action in Germany and are promoting targeted investments.
There is also much savings potential in the buildings sector. Through our broad-based CO2 building rehabilitation programme, we have renovated around 3.6 million residential units in Germany since 2006, reducing the annual CO2 emissions by over 7.4 million tonnes. We also promote the energy-related modernisation of urban districts.
Urban climate adaptation will require enormous financial outlays – an additional one trillion US dollars is needed annually on a global level according to World Bank estimates.
Many cities, particularly in poorer countries, do not have access to the funds required. Moreover, cities in richer countries are often over-indebted and therefore unable to make long-term investments, above all those needed in transport, energy efficiency, the buildings sector and waste and water management. If we invest in these areas systematically, cities can be part of the vanguard in tackling climate change.
The alliance presented this afternoon, the City Climate Finance Leadership Alliance, aims at meeting this challenge. We welcome both this alliance and the "Compact of Mayors", in which cities set themselves ambitious reduction targets.
Because cities are both the main source of climate change, but also offer solutions to the problems at hand, it is all the more important that they have a voice in the international discussion on the issue. This event here today is a sign that slowly but surely that voice is being heard.
Thank you very much.