Panel discussion #1 Local action for a climate-neutral, fossil-free city for all!

7 - 9 pm

Loft in the Schankhalle Pfefferberg
Schönhauser Allee 175, 10119 Berlin

Wearing an FFP2 mask is mandatory throughout the the entire event.

GUESTS: Fossil Free Berlin, Klimaneustart Berlin, Philine Wedell (Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry), MODERATION: Maike Majewski (Transition Town Pankow)

In August 2019, Pankow’s local city council (BVV) declared a climate emergency in the municipality – which is also where Prater Galerie is located. Acting at a point in time when the climate debate became a central issue in Germany during the heatwave of 2019, the BVV followed the example of numerous cities and municipalities worldwide. That summer, the Initiative for Climate Emergency Berlin (Volksinitiative Klimanotstand Berlin) also handed over a petition with 36,458 valid signatures supporting the declaration of a climate emergency. The Berlin Senate decided to declare a climate emergency in December of the same year, renewing its commitment to the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Climate change is a global phenomenon that plays out very differently at the local level, affecting ecosystems and people worldwide in unequal ways. It represents a global challenge because neither extreme weather events, nor species extinctions, nor infectious diseases stop at state borders. Even the rise in temperatures that is now already unavoidable is going to drastically change the conditions for living organisms and forms of human social life. Locally-caused emissions have an impact on the global climate system, connecting distant places through the principle of cause and effect, and this bears on questions of climate justice. In particular the industrialised nations of the global North, which historically have caused the highest emissions and profit most from globalisation, are called upon contribute to the mitigation of climate change and environmental destruction. The necessary transformation must be planned and consistently implemented at the federal, state, city and municipal levels.

This first panel discussion of the events program for Fossil Experience will consider how a full commitment to climate justice and adherence to the 1.5°C limit will be implemented on a local level, and what consequences this will entail. What has been done since the climate emergency was declared in 2019? What structural changes in terms of infrastructure, energy provision, and transport must be implemented in Berlin, and which stakeholders are driving for such changes? How can the transformation be financed while ensuring that housing is affordable for all? How might art and culture contribute to the development of a post-fossil and sustainable city?

Fossil Free Berlin is a local group of volunteer-based and experienced campaigners. As a part of a worldwide network of over 1,300 Fossil Free groups located on all continents, they advocate for divestment in order to prevent climate change. Divestment is the opposite of investment. Money (for example from shares, mixed funds, and index funds) is consciously withdrawn from companies with undesirable or harmful business models so as to pressure them to change.

Klimaneustart Berlin is a civil movement that emerged out of the Initiative for Climate Emergency Berlin (Volksinitiative Klimanotstand Berlin). It acts as a platform and network to facilitate horizontal exchange between civil society, science, and politics. It is currently planning a referendum on the reform of the Berlin Energy Transition Law (Berliner Energiewendegesetz). This will secure enough scope for action to achieve the necessary reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It will also define a timeline for these changes. The referendum’s central demand is the reduction of the timeframe in which climate neutrality is to be achieved from 2050 to 2030. Present measures are simply not adequate for making the requisite contribution to maintaining the 1.5°C limit.

Maike Majewski is an environmental educator and has coordinated the Transition Town Pankow network since 2011. All around the world, but adapted to local conditions, Transition initiatives use “hands, hearts and minds” to test out how people can live more sustainably and better together. In doing so, they are guided by the principles of permaculture: caring for the earth, caring for others, self-care, and the fair distribution of harvests and resources. In the face of today’s ecological and social crises, Transition Town initiatives help to shape the inevitable change with understanding, compassion and practical action – in conjunction with many other civic movements of course.

Philine Wedell is responsible for the Solarcity Berlin Master Plan: Solar energy has a significant renewable energy potential for Berlin. The Masterplan Solarcity demonstrates how Berlin can generate 25 percent of its power needs with solar power. To achieve this goal, solar installations with a capacity of at least 4,400 megawatts will be installed on the city’s roofs. The Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry, and its coordination office Masterplan Solarcity have been managing the implementation of the master plan since 2020 and are the first point of contact for all those involved.

This event is part of the project Fossil Experience by Prater Galerie. More information about the exhibition and program can be found here.

Fossil Experience is supported by Stiftung Kunstfonds, LOTTO-Stiftung Berlin, and the Senate Department for Culture and Europe, kindly supported by Förderband Kulturinitiative Berlin and Schankhalle Pfefferberg.

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