Priorities of municipalities and local communities from Germany and Poland often converge to achieving – or maintaining – economic prosperity, as well as ensuring a good quality of life for all, including efficient infrastructures and a clean environment. A transition to a low-emission economy is a vision that can deliver social, economic and environmental benefits for local communities. In practice, it encompasses, for instance, the deployment of clean technologies, new forms of collective action, improved energy systems, the promotion of sustainable urban design and green mobility. There is a crucial role for individuals, communities and networks in developing, testing and scaling-up those solutions – alongside decision-makers.
Transformations do not unfold without tensions. A low-emission transition will require profound changes in terms of infrastructure, business models as well as individual habits. In order to support this process and nourish the debate, the independent think-tanks adelphi, WiseEuropa and Institute for Sustainable Development launched a Polish-German discussion on the benefits of a low-emission economy for local development.
In early 2016, a roundtable was held in Warsaw under the project Polish-German cooperation for low-emission economy in cities, which brought together civil society representatives and local governments from both countries. Participants shared their unique experiences and demonstrated that a transition to a low-emission economy in cities can bring both immediate and long-term benefits for local development.
"Tapping into the co-benefits of low-emission economy in cities" draws on this discussion, and offers a basis for further reflection about selected benefits based on evidence from Germany and Poland.