Although the “Climate Emergency Declaration” was adopted by the European Parliament as a symbolic act, more and more countries, and even cities, began to take the issue seriously. On December 18th 2019, the Munich city council declared a climate emergency, and the municipality said it intended to reach climate neutrality by 2035.

As early as November 28, 2019, when the European Parliament voted on the climate and environment emergency, the German branch of the Fridays for Future movement initiated by Greta Thunberg stated that “the fact that the EU is declaring a climate emergency without acting is like the fire brigade screaming ‘There’s a fire!'”

According to the joint declaration, by 2035 carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by 55% on the entire European continent and, by 2050 European states would reach climate neutrality—that is, they will balance the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere with the amount removed, by different methods. In Munich, the city council voted to reach this final goal by 2035, and the exact plan was to be drawn up and put into effect mid-2021. At the time, Jens Roever, spokesman for the city’s climate policy department, stated that the scientific community had made it clear that achieving climate neutrality by 2050 was not fast enough.

What does the Climate Emergency Declaration represent?

The Climate Emergency Declaration is a symbolic document adopted by the European Parliament in which the signatory countries commit to reaching climate neutrality by the year 2050. But in addition to this document, several territorial entities, such as states, counties or cities, declared a climate emergency on their own.

In 2020, around the world, 1,261 territorial jurisdictions in 25 countries declared a state of emergency, according to official data. Thus, the nearly 800 million people who live or carry out carbon dioxide-emitting activities in the signatory territories will be obliged to devise ways to clean the air of carbon dioxide by 2050.

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In this context, the municipality of Munich has already informed the companies in its territory that the city will have to balance the production of carbon dioxide with its removal from the atmosphere by 2030, 20 years before the deadline voted by the European Parliament.