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Climate protection and adaptation

Bonn is committed to climate protection and climate adaptation

The City of Bonn has been committed to climate protection since the mid-1990s and to climate adaptation since the year 2011. The goal of all climate protection measures is to reduce local CO2 emissions. The way to achieve this is through a reduction in energy use, the efficient use of energy, and the substitution of fossil fuels with renewable energies. The City tries to counteract the consequences of the climate crisis, which can no longer be averted, by means of adapted planning, which in particular takes into account the urban climatic situation.

For a city like Bonn, climate protection and climate adaptation can be influenced and controlled in various fields of action. These options range from urban planning, energy supply and public relations to political engagement in city networks.

Climate protection

Goals

Bonn is to become climate neutral by 2035. As part of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, the City of Bonn has also committed to reducing CO2 emissions in Bonn by at least 40 percent by 2030. This target was also adopted in the City of Bonn's „Mission Statement on Climate Protection and Climate Adaptation.“

Strategy

A Climate Plan 2035 for Bonn is currently being developed with external support. This plan defines, among other things, Bonn's residual CO2 budget until 2035, identifies reduction paths, and develops strategies and scenarios with a view to 2035. The core of the climate plan is a concrete activity plan for an initial period of three years (2023 - 2025). The plan should be available by the fall of 2022.

In addition, a broad-based participation process „Bonn4Future - We for the Climate“ will be carried out in 2021 and 2022. In various participation formats, it will address the question of how the process toward a livable, climate-neutral Bonn can succeed. The complex process is being implemented in cooperation between the City of Bonn and the 'Bonn im Wandel' transition town initiative and is closely linked to the development of the Climate Plan 2035.

In the „Climate Neutral Corporation“ project, a roadmap is also being developed for the city administration and all affiliated companies in which the city holds a majority stake. 

The Climate Neutral Bonn 2035 program office coordinates climate protection activities within the administration. The implementation of this complex cross-cutting issue is a priority in numerous departments.

The priority measures in climate protection are:

Greenhouse gas monitoring

Since 2008, the City of Bonn has been conducting differentiated greenhouse gas monitoring. The current balance shows that CO2 emissions have fallen by 33 percent per capita by 2018 compared to 1990. This means that the CO2 emissions of the citizens of Bonn still amount to 6.4 tons per inhabitant every year.

Energy-efficient new buildings

Since 1997, the City of Bonn has set higher requirements - as compared to the legal standard - for the energy efficiency of new buildings. They are bindingly and verifiably agreed upon when selling municipal land and in contracts with investors. The current standard is the Efficiency House55. For larger building projects, energy concepts are drawn up taking renewable energies into account.

For municipal buildings, especially schools and daycare centers, the city goes one step further. Here, the efficiency building Standard 55 with passive house components basically applies, with the aim of achieving very low energy requirements.

Energy-efficient refurbishment of old buildings

A major lever for CO2 savings can be found in the area of old buildings. Old buildings that have not been renovated to meet energy efficiency standards consume many times more energy than buildings built to new standards. The Bonn Energy Agency, which was founded by the City of Bonn together with 20 organizations, has been active since 2012 to tap this potential. It pools the expertise of energy consultants, planners and specialized trades to provide qualified advice.

Expansion of renewable energies

In addition to geothermal energy, the greatest potential for renewable energies in Bonn lies in solar energy. Advice on this is also offered by the Bonn Energy Agency. The City provides incentives for further expansion with a subsidy program for photovoltaics. More PV systems are also being installed on municipal roofs.

With the online solar roof cadaster, Bonn residents can find out in advance whether a photovoltaic system or a solar thermal system can be installed on their house.

The City is the first in North Rhine-Westphalia to make the installation of photovoltaic systems mandatory for certain new construction projects. The solar obligation applies to all projects for which the City concludes urban development contracts with investors and owners. PV systems must also be installed on new buildings in the case of urban development measures and the sale of municipal land.

Adaptation to climate change

In climate adaptation, the City of Bonn is pursuing the goal of continuously developing into a climate-resilient city. 

After the City of Bonn participated in the BMBF-funded project „ZURES“ from 2016-2019 - in which, among other things, a city-wide climate analysis and planning information map were created - a subsequent BMU-funded project called „mutabor“ started in June 2021. The aim of this project, which will run until 2023, is to develop a city-wide strategy for implementing adaptation measures. Scenarios for the year 2035 are to serve as the basis for this, which are based on differently ambitious adaptation activities and thus show the achievable effects.

The City of Bonn also intends to develop further in the sense of a sponge city in view of increasing heat and drought periods on the one hand and heavy rains on the other. This goes hand in hand with the goal of infiltrating, evaporating, storing or using rainwater locally wherever possible and thus leaving it in the natural water cycle.

In addition, the City of Bonn provides financial incentives in the form of subsidies for green roofs and facades as well as for the unsealing and greening of surfaces. In addition, it is also possible to reduce the portion of the precipitation water charge of the split wastewater charge if areas are greened and disconnected from the sewer.

Heavy rains - flood prevention

The City of Bonn is undertaking numerous projects to adapt its infrastructure to climate change with regard to heavy rains and flood prevention. Since the first extreme event in the recent past in 2010, an entire package of measures for climate adaptation in the city has been initiated in addition to participation in research projects (e.g., together with the DIFU). A warning system for creek floods has been set up and is being continuously expanded, as are extensive structural flood protection measures. Operational processes have been optimized and citizens have been provided with extensive information on how to take precautions themselves. Resilience to heavy rains now also plays a key role in urban development, in new construction areas and even in existing residential areas.

Mobility

The share of transport in the city of Bonn in total greenhouse gas emissions was 26.8 percent in 2018. The mobility field of action is therefore a central building block for achieving climate neutrality in Bonn. In view of the growing population in Bonn, solutions must also be developed and implemented for the road network of the City of Bonn, which is burdened by car traffic.

The means of transport provided by the so-called environmental alliance (walking, cycling and public transport) are particularly space- and energy-efficient and cause low emissions. The City Council thus decided in 2019 that the modal split, i.e. the share of the environmental alliance in the traffic volume, should be increased to 75 percent by 2030. The City of Bonn is therefore promoting the switch to environmentally friendly modes of transport with various measures. 

The desired mobility turnaround pursues the goal of providing not only climate-friendly transportation but also needs-oriented and affordable services to enable comprehensive and sustainable mobility for all people. The mobility of tomorrow should be inclusive and barrier-free and promote social participation. It should be reliable and crisis-proof. It aims to mitigate noise, reduce air pollutants and increase road safety. 

In addition to providing mobility services, urban spaces should once again be more places to linger and meet, and have a high level of climate resilience. 

With the parking strategy for the entire city area, the City of Bonn adopted guidelines in February 2022 on how parking space in the city is to be managed in the future. The goal is to implement parking regulations on a neighborhood basis, in particular the introduction of resident parking zones or parking fees with special regulations for residents, in order to reduce parking pressure for residents and parking search traffic. Freed-up spaces are to be used for alternative mobility options, for greening, and cultural or gastronomic purposes. In this way, the neighborhoods are to be revitalized, and a better quality of life is to be created with the participation of the people of Bonn.

With the adoption of the Bonn Bicycle Decision in February 2021, the City Council instructed the administration to strengthen bicycle and pedestrian traffic by, among other things, creating a safe and barrier-free continuous bicycle and pedestrian network. The goals also include the reconstruction of intersections and junctions and the provision of new bicycle parking spaces.

Upgrading the infrastructure will make bicycling more attractive and increase the share of bicycle trips. In addition to the opening of one-way streets to bicycle traffic, the installation of bicycle lanes and the continuous expansion of bicycle parking facilities in the city districts as well as at public transport stops, more than 50 bicycle lanes have been established to date. 

The main cycling routes have been provided with junction wayfinding, which can be used to plan trips via the state's cycling route planner. In 2018, the new bike station at the main train station opened, providing 24-hour service with automatic access. The new bicycle parking garage at the main station was opened at the end of 2020. A bike rental system has been in place since the fall of 2018. This is to be supplemented by a cargo bike rental service in the city center area in 2022. As part of a funding project, the city is also upgrading bike paths to fast routes for cycling and setting up mobile stations in the city center. 

The City of Bonn is also focusing on e-mobility: In recent years, the city's vehicle fleet has begun to gradually switch to electric drives. By the fourth quarter of 2022, 115 electric vehicles (cars, trucks and special vehicles) will be in use by the City of Bonn. Together with the "Jobwärts" project team, the City's ambitions and goals for the next few years have been defined. According to these, the entire fleet of company cars (passenger car class) is to be converted to e-mobility by the end of 2024, to the extent possible in terms of deployment. In addition, alternative commuter trips are to be increased by the end of 2025 and the certification of the City of Bonn as a "Bicycle-Friendly Employer" by the ADFC is to be pursued.

Compared to other cities of its size, the City of Bonn has one of the densest public transport networks in Germany. Stadtwerke Bonn offers four different modes of transport: light rail, streetcar, bus and a bicycle rental system. The public transport network is continuously being adapted to the increasing demand, with more frequent and extended times on offer. The City is also constantly working on proposals to speed up bus and rail traffic, for example by optimizing traffic signals or eliminating bottlenecks.

A further addition to Bonn's public transport network could also be a cable car in the future. The standardized assessment carried out in 2021 came to the conclusion that a cable car as part of Bonn's local public transport system makes sense from an economic point of view and is therefore eligible for federal and state funding. The City is now in the process of initiating a planning approval procedure.

CarSharing is another building block for the mobility turnaround in Bonn. CarSharing can reduce motor vehicle traffic as well as parking space requirements. In 2022, approximately 100 CarSharing parking spots in public spaces, distributed all over the city area, are to be put out to tender. The conversion of car sharing to electric mobility will be taken into account at the same time.

The regional rail network is being steadily expanded as well. Several new stops have been added in recent years, such as the „Bonn UN Campus“ stop. On the right bank of the Rhine, work is currently underway to build additional tracks for the extension of S-Bahn line 13 from Troisdorf via Beuel to Bonn-Oberkassel. The City of Bonn is committed to further expansion of the tracks and electrification of the S 23.