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Climate-neutral municipalities Opportunity windows for sustainable consumption?

Municipalities and regions are important actors and often pioneers in national climate protection. They translate the international climate change agreements of Paris into the local context and implement them together with local actors, initiatives and projects. However, they have not been addressed directly in the Federal Government's National Sustainable Consumption Program (NPNK).

By targeting household GHG emissions and consumers' choices, the NPNK is already sending clear signals. Thus, sustainable consumption is recognized as a relevant adjusting screw for the transformation of economy and society towards sustainable development as well as a tool of climate protection.

This can be useful for a strengthening of climate protection. A starting point for the promotion of sustainable consumption and the simultaneous achievement of climate protection goals is the conscious cooperation of regional and municipal climate protection agencies with regional networks and initiatives for sustainable consumption.

Climate protection management in municipalities and regions is aware of the local living realities and needs of citizens and can thus specifically address the planning and implementation of climate protection measures and directly address and activate citizens.

An analysis by the Institute for Ecological Economic Research (IÖW) of 160 regional climate protection concepts reveals that more than half of the concepts examined have set climate neutral targets. In these ambitious concepts, the consuming fields of need described in the NPNK are taken up and underpinned with measures to achieve climate protection goals. There are especially activities established in the fields of need "energy consumption in private households" and "mobility". More activities to promote sustainable consumption are already spread in the fields of need "work" and "nutrition". On the other hand, there are still no concrete consumer-related measures for the fields of need "clothing", "housing", "leisure" and "financial investments".

The synergy potentials between sustainable consumption and regional climate protection efforts are manifold and used naturally in some consumer sectors and regions. Greater integration of the concept of sustainable consumption in local and regional climate protection activates potential synergies and can make successes substantially and quickly achievable.