There is only a hole in the ground left to remind us of the old oak tree. The thick tree that delighted walkers in the luitpold grove had at least 100 years on its bark, but it did not survive the drought of 2018 and 2019. When the old oak tree was no longer green in the summer of 2019, the city was forced to take action and remove the tree skeleton from the park with heavy equipment.
The disappeared climate witness on adenauerufer is just one tree among many in bamberg that fell victim to the auberge’s usual drought of the last two years. The garden department’s balance sheet, which will be presented to the city council for the first time today, speaks of loss of vitality, infestation by pests and more or less rapid dieback. Bamberg, according to the city administration, is one of germany’s rain-deficient areas. The water that can be used by plants has fallen by 1.80 meters in two years in the valley of the river regnitz.
And the drought has visibly affected the city’s ground: in 2019, a total of 310 trees had to be cut down and replaced in bamberg. Around 200 of them died as a result of climate change, experts say. What exacerbates the problem: even seemingly indestructible old trees are less and less able to withstand heating. So the loss also added up to a considerable number in the shady grove park: 80 old trees withered here in 2019.
The reason for the precarious situation is not only the lack of rain for two summers.The extent to which temperatures have risen, and with them evaporation, is shown by figures presented to the environmental senate this week. According to this information, the average annual temperature measured by the meteorological station in the sudflur rose from 8.0 degrees in the 1950s to 9.7 degrees in the meantime – one can wait until the first year with an average temperature of eleven degrees is measured in bamberg.
The effects of warming are becoming more and more apparent. But can a small town like bamberg counter this worldwide phenomenon?? For the bamberger linke liste this is not a question. At the end of the summer, city councilor heinrich schwimmbeck caused a stir with his demand that the city declare a climate emergency. Following the example of other municipalities, schwimmbeck envisages that all future decisions will have to be made with a view to climate compatibility.
Now the city administration is countering with a counter-program that is "not much in the way of emergency rhetoric". Climate emergency is not an established legal term, the administration says, explaining its skepticism and referring to the climate alliance, which was founded in 2008 together with the district to define climate protection goals. In the future, this could include eleven points, including a climate adaptation concept, the appointment of a climate protection manager, sustainable climate-optimized urban planning, more roof and facade greening, an environmental advisory council and an evaluation every five years by means of a carbon dioxide balance.
This advance is not uncontroversial. Even before the program was referred to a second reading in the environmental senate on tuesday, the bamberg climate protection alliance took up arms against it: "the draft presented falls far short of our expectations. It is not specific enough and shows that the city does not really take climate protection seriously", criticized tim-luca rosenheimer, one of the spokesmen of the climate protection alliance. An argument followed not only by the greens, but also by the CSU. By the end of january, the alliance, which includes "fridays for future," wants to have and the bamberg council, to present its own program for climate protection in bamberg that is "feasible and goes much further", says rosenheimer. This includes, among other things, an annual obligation to document carbon dioxide emissions in bamberg, even if this calculation should incur additional costs: "so that we know where we stand."
When it gets exciting
Of course, measuring is not the end of the story. The debate in city hall gets really exciting when it comes to whether there is actually a majority for drastic measures to protect the climate. Daniela reinfelder (bub) is currently spoiling the debate by taking the opposite position to the left and the greens. Reinfelder sees no measurable upward trend for bamberg and at the same time doubts man-made causes of climate change. Instead of declaring a climate emergency and creating the costly post of climate manager, she recommends giving the city a stronger foundation to arm itself against heat waves. She says: "global climate change is a fact, but there is no climate emergency in bamberg." Author’s comment:
The criticism of the city’s climate policy touches a sore point. With a few cheap actions à la plastic-free bamberg, it will not be possible to reconcile ecology and economy.
If the city is serious about protecting natural resources, it won’t be able to avoid a U-turn. Easier said than done.
What city can tackle the deceleration of an economic system that ignores the ecological and social consequences of its actions or imposes them on others??
This is less about a change in technology and more about a change in mindset. But that’s hard for a species that has been using the earth with no regard for tomorrow ever since it came down from the trees.
But there is no choice. Either man overcomes himself or nature overcomes him.