Potentials of Climate Emergency Declarations for degrowth transformations. The ambivalent stance of German municipalities in conflicts over a post-fossil future


  • Anton Brokow-Loga Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
  • Timmo Krüger Bauhaus-Universität Weimar




Degrowth, climate emergency, municipalities, conflicts, post-fossil transformations


This paper addresses the scope for action by municipalities in a climate emergency and places it in the framework of ecomodern (urban) policy. We analyse the way in which two German ‘climate emergency municipalities’ translate conflicts of post-fossil transformation into concrete political and planning strategies. Although more than 2,200 authorities around the world have already declared a climate emergency, research on the impact of these resolutions on the political orientation of municipalities is very limited. Our research focus is on the (potentially agonistic) treatment of conflicts in planning. We argue that in times of a socio-ecological crisis, success in conflict resolution cannot refer to appeasement and depoliticisation. Instead, we propose a framework of five criteria, based on critical theory on ecomodern strategies, planning processes and degrowth. Thus, this practice-related and explorative paper connects empirical insights from the German cities of Constance and Berlin with an innovative normative framework. The findings tell a complex story of an, at least partial, admission of the failure of previous climate mitigation strategies, a lack of social institutions of limits, an instrumental relation to nature and a disregard for social injustices. The paper discusses how municipalities, in the context of ongoing tensions over the post-fossil transformation in Germany, on the one hand hold on to business-as-usual approaches, but on the other hand also set political impulses for change.


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Issue publication date 2023-10-30 (version 2)
Published online first 2023-10-13 (version 1)




Research Article

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Brokow-Loga A, Krüger T. Potentials of Climate Emergency Declarations for degrowth transformations. The ambivalent stance of German municipalities in conflicts over a post-fossil future. RuR [Internet]. 2023 Oct. 30 [cited 2024 May 25];81(5):523-37. Available from: https://rur.oekom.de/index.php/rur/article/view/1666