Freiburg im Breisgau - An action plan to be renewed?

Assessment of the territories’ climate action


Association Climate Chance (Climate Chance)

Since 2015, the Climate Chance Association has been involved in the mobilization in the fight against climate change. It is the only international association that proposes to bring together on an equal footing all non-state actors recognized by the UN. In order to strengthen their action and to give credibility to the climate stabilization scenarios, the Climate Chance Association launched in 2018 a Global Observatory of Non-State Climate Action, which aims to explain the evolution of greenhouse gas emissions, by crossing national public policies, with sectoral dynamics, private actors’ strategies, local public policies and actions undertaken by local actors. In order to analyse the coherence of local public policies, Climat Chance proposes an assessment of « territorial mobilisations » through selected examples of cities and regions. Here, Freiburg im Breisgau.

The city of Freiburg adopts its first «  Klimaschutzkonzept  » (climate action policy) as early as 1996 with a target of a 25% reduction in GHGs by 2010 compared to 1992. Its implementation, mainly focused on the building and transport sectors, has led to a reduction of only 11.1% in overall emissions but 30% per capita. There has been relative stagnation since 2007, with 1.76 MtCO2eq emitted in 2014. That same year, however, the Fribourg City Council voted the objectives of -50% of emissions by 2030 compared to 2014 and carbon neutrality by 2050. To strengthen efforts at all levels, a new Klimaschutzkonzepts 2018 is being developed, based on a year-long process of consultation and citizen participation.


In 2014, 58.9% of GHG emissions were concentrated in the residential and tertiary sectors, and 19.3% in industries. In order to become carbon neutral, Fribourg must halve its energy consumption by 2050 and meet 95% of the remaining demand with renewable energies. The most emblematic project is the transformation of the city hall completed in 2017 into a positive energy building through a combination of several technologies (EnergieWendeBauen 2018). The municipality is seeking to strongly develop cogeneration of electricity and heat, an important tool to reduce GHG emissions in the city due to the proximity between production and consumption sites. The Klimaschutzkonzept plans to install 3 to 4 units per year, thus saving 68,000 tCO2eq each year compared to conventional heat supply (Gov freiburg 2017). 8 schools and a cultural centre are already supplied by these units. Solar energy remains the main source favoured by Fribourg, which estimates its photovoltaic installation and production capacity at 860 GWh, i.e. almost half of the canton’s current final electricity consumption. In 2015, 4% of the electricity consumed in Fribourg came from photovoltaic (PV) panels. In May 2017 the city launched the campaign «  your roof can do more ", which aims to better inform the population and promote the installation of PV systems, and has resulted in savings of approximately 280 tCO2eq. In the same year, renewable energies avoided a total of 38,000 tCO2eq.


Households account for more than a quarter of final energy consumption in Fribourg. In order to make better use of its potential to save electricity, the city offers free advice. The 500 households advised so far represent a savings potential of around 238 tCO2eq per year. In addition, the «  Energy-efficient renovation  » programme encourages homeowners to carry out renovations to improve their energy efficiency (contribution amount : € 550,000 in 2018). More than 10% of buildings in Fribourg have thus been subsidised over the duration of the programme.

The share of transport in GHG emissions is low (22% in 2014) but has remained constant in recent years. However, car journeys only represent 21% of trips in 2016, and several recent projects should further reduce this figure : extension of the metro in 2013 and 2015, 420 km of cycle lanes in 2017 (EcoMobility Freiburg). At the end of 2018, following the success of the first flywheel accumulator in 2014, a second will be integrated into the tramway network which will enable the energy stored by its rotation to be returned to other needs (Reporterre 2018).


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