Southern German city declares 'climate emergency'

A city in southern Germany has become the first in the country to declare a "climate emergency," following similar moves in Canada, Britain and Switzerland.

Aldermen in Konstanz, near the border with Switzerland, voted unanimously late Thursday to back a resolution promoting measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and transport.

The city of more than 80,000 inhabitants had the driest summer since 1990 last year, exposing long-hidden sand banks on the adjacent Lake Constance.

Germany's Environment Ministry said the move would help raise awareness about climate change.

Ministry spokesman Stephan Gabriel Haufe said Friday that "it's a kind of cry for help," but added that "concrete actions" not just symbolic gestures are necessary now. The German government aims to pass a law setting climate goals this year.