Heidelberg, a mid-size medieval city in Germany’s southwest, has signed up to the C40 Green and Healthy Streets declaration for fossil-fuel-free streets.
Heidelberg’s pledge is the most aggressive in Germany so far as cities rather than national or international bodies take the lead in cleaning up their air.
According to Bloomberg.com, the university and industrial town of some 150,000 inhabitants will buy only exhaust-free municipal buses starting in 2025 and will ensure that a major part of its urban area is zero-emissions by 2030, Mayor Eckart Wuerzner said Tuesday in a statement. Heidelberg joined a list of 14 bigger municipalities like London, Mexico City and Los Angeles to sign the C40 Green and Healthy Streets declaration for fossil-fuel-free streets.
Wuerzner’s commitment “illustrates the determination of mayors around the world to take bold climate action,” said Mark Watts, C40’s executive director.
Germany, a global powerhouse of carmaking as the base of BMW AG, Volkswagen AG and Mercedes parent Daimler AG, lags behind other countries in setting a date to end the use of automotive combustion engines. The U.K. last year followed France in declaring a ban on sales of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2040. Merkel, sometimes dubbed the “car chancellor” by Germany’s media for her perceived accommodating stance on auto manufacturers, hasn’t committed to such a deadline.
Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News, is the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. He’s also president of the board of C40 Cities, a group of municipalities that will work with the International Council on Clean Transportation and Emissions Analytics to measure vehicle emissions with remote sensors and portable emissions monitoring equipment. His Bloomberg Philanthropies is one of the funders of C40.
More information on the Reinventing Cities competition, eligibility criteria and the project sites in each city can be found at http://www.c40reinventingcities.org/