Climate Neutral City of Lëtzebuerg: Shaping the city of tomorrow now

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In 5 distinct areas, we have put forward concrete proposals on how the City of Luxembourg can become climate neutral in the next 10-20 years.

The coming decade is crucial. The COP26, currently taking place in Glasgow, is the decisive moment to drive global climate action in the next decade. We need to set the course now to achieve climate neutrality and thus the 1.5°C targets of the Paris Climate Agreement. A large proportion of environmentally harmful emissions are generated in cities. Therefore, appropriate action must be taken there. Oslo, for example, has committed itself to climate neutrality by 2030; Helsinki, Heidelberg... by 2035. The City of Luxembourg must follow these examples with political courage for consistent climate protection.
 
In Luxembourg, CO2 emissions are to be reduced by at least 55% by 2030. However, Luxembourg City is sticking to its target of only 40% emission reductions by 2030. The mediocre Climate Pact certification of Luxembourg City (68%) shows that the DP-CSV Board of Aldermen does not consider climate protection a priority. By comparison, Esch-sur-Alzette (75.5%), Schifflande or Beckerich (84.6%), for example, have achieved a higher level (gold). As the city with the largest population in Luxembourg and as the economic centre of the Greater Region, Luxembourg City must finally commit to the Paris Climate Agreement, set itself the goal of climate neutrality and present concrete plans on how to achieve this with the help of the new pacts (Climate Pact 2.0, Nature Pact, Housing Pact 2.0).
 
The City of Luxembourg must take the lead in the fight against climate change instead of continuing to manage the status quo. We as déi gréng Stad Lëtzebuerg have shown that this is possible at our press conference on 5 November 2021. In 5 distinct areas, we presented concrete proposals on how the City of Luxembourg can become climate neutral in the next 10-20 years.
  • Climate-friendly construction: More green in urban spaces
  • Energy efficiency and renewable energies: A solar system for every roof
  • Circular economy: A collaborative and waste-free city
  • Mobility: A better quality of life through an interconnected bicycle network
  • Together instead of top-down: Serious involvement of citizens
 
 
1. Climate-friendly construction: More green in urban space
 
The city of the future is a city that lives, that is naturally cooled by trees and plants, where nature protects against flooding, and where energy is not only consumed but also produced. In such a city, people are at the centre. To achieve this, urbanism must at last be conceived and implemented in a future-oriented way. Therefore we call for: 
 
  • The General Development Plan (PAG) and the Building Ordinance must be fundamentally revised to meet the challenges of climate protection and climate adaptation. Instead of rock gardens and waterproofing, we need greening and water permeability.
  • A climate adaptation strategy for the city of Luxembourg that helps to mitigate the unavoidable consequences of climate change for citizens. This includes the systematic greening of urban space, roofs and facades and the expansion of green spaces in order to be better prepared for extreme heat, drought but also heavy rain, as well as a revision of wastewater management (rainwater utilisation, separation system...).

 

2. Mobility: A better quality of life through an interconnected bicycle network

To reduce the use of CO2-intensive means of transportation, urban space must be planned differently. Significant emission reductions can be achieved through more walking, cycling and public transport. The positive side effects of such measures include less air pollution, less congestion, fewer accidents and better health for citizens. That is why we call for:
  • An expansion of pedestrian, bicycle and shared space zones in the city centre, in the centres of neighbourhoods and especially in front of schools.
  • A safe Stater Vëlosreseau: connect the main cycle routes, link the neighbourhoods to these routes and consistently focus on soft mobility in the individual neighbourhoods.
  • An expansion of the tram network, and giving priority to bus transport over motorised private transport. 
  • An expansion of car sharing, and the establishment of additional stations for the bicycle rental system, including the provision of rental cargo bikes.
  • A revision of the parking system, including residents' parking in neighbourhoods, with the aim of reducing traffic. 
  • The expansion of public electric charging stations.
 
3. Energy efficiency and renewable energies: a solar system for every roof

In terms of renewable energies and energy efficiency, Luxembourg City is far below its potential, as can be clearly seen from the photovoltaic energy case: only around 221 kWp of photovoltaic capacity are currently installed on Luxembourg City buildings. According to our calculations, the total potential is around 10,000 kWp. Currently, the city is only using 2% of this total potential. If this potential were exploited, 2,250 households (9,000 people) could be supplied with green electricity. In addition, there is great potential on private roofs.

The energy refurbishment of the 800 municipal buildings and the electrification of vehicles are also only progressing at a snail's pace. Furthermore, heating with climate-damaging natural gas or heating oil is not being challenged. That is why we are calling for:
  • Solar panels belong on every new urban and private roof with high potential. Solar systems must be retrofitted on all roofs of city-owned buildings.
  • A concrete timetable should be drawn up by when all buildings owned by the City of Luxembourg must be renovated in terms of energy efficiency and the vehicle fleet must be emission-free.
  • The use of climate-damaging natural gas, which is used for heating in the majority of Luxembourg City, is to be reduced through a clear phase-out strategy (heat pumps, heat networks...).
  • In addition to state support, the City of Luxembourg must provide financial support to citizens for the installation of private solar systems and zero-emission heating systems.

 

4. Circular economy: a collaborative and waste-free city

Climate, environmental and resource protection go hand in hand. Therefore, the circular economy, sharing and second-hand must be promoted. Luxembourg City also produces a disproportionate amount of residual waste and thus wastes considerable resources. That is why we are calling for:

  • In addition to resource centres in residential neighbourhoods, repair workshops should be created where people can work and borrow tools. Co-working spaces for start-ups, pop-up stores for second-hand shops etc. should also be created.
  • Regional, organic food in the city's canteens and an upgrading of vegetarian and vegan options.
  • A reform of the waste fee: it should be calculated according to emptying or weight. In this way, citizens who avoid or reduce waste will be rewarded.
  • A zero-waste strategy for the city of Luxembourg includes the avoidance of waste at all levels of the city and the provision of reusable materials to support green events.

 

5. Together instead of top-down: serious involvement of citizens

A climate-neutral city can only be created together. In order for profound changes such as the transition to a climate-neutral city to become a reality, the measures must be developed and implemented together with citizens, associations and all relevant groups. We demand:
  • Broad citizen participation so that all relevant actors can participate in the implementation of the climate protection measures and take responsibility. The concrete measures for climate protection in the city of Luxembourg should be advanced in dialogue with the public, experts, the administration and politics.
  • To create a contact point with transversal competences, where citizens can inform themselves about and contribute to all climate-relevant topics.

 

Climate Neutral City of Lëtzebuerg: Shaping the city of tomorrow now

Cities are the central element of the global ecosystem. If we want to tackle the climate crisis, urban centres must reinvent themselves. Cities have the opportunity and the responsibility to massively reduce their emissions with all the measures that are already technically feasible today. Instead of treading water, the City of Luxembourg must set itself the goal of climate neutrality and give itself the necessary means to achieve it with its citizens, administrations and businesses in the next 10-20 years.

déi gréng Stad Lëtzebuerg have already submitted a motion to declare a climate emergency on 13 December 2019, based on the Climate Alliance template. Although the city is a member of the Climate Alliance, the motion has not been discussed to date.

If we want to stop the global climate crisis, we have to act locally - and right now!