City of Berlin adopts €5 bln climate protection fund to reduce fossil fuel dependency
Clean Energy Wire / Tagesspiegel / RBB
Berlin’s Senate has adopted a five-billion-euro climate protection fund to flow into mobility, energy efficiency in buildings, power supply and the economy. The goal of the fund, which could be doubled to 10 billion euros by 2026, is to improve climate protection, swiftly end dependency on fossil fuels and cut emissions faster in the German capital, according to Berlin’s governing coalition led by the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD). “We’re still living with a 90-percent dependency on coal, gas and oil,” Manja Schreiner, the city’s CDU environment senator, told German public radio. Schreiner added that Berlin needs a “sustainable, integrated energy supply,” and that the focus will be on solar as well as on “properly promoting” geothermal energy, hydropower and waste heat from data centres as energy sources.
The bill will now go for debate in the state parliament in the hope it will be passed by the end of the year. Tagesspiegel writes that if passed, the fund could end up being challenged in court because of Germany’s constitutional restrictions on government debt. The country’s constitution does, however, allow for exceptions to the so-called “debt brake” in cases of “natural catastrophe or in extraordinary emergencies.” The CDU-SPD coalition says it sees the impact of climate change in Berlin, aggravated by the energy and cost-of-living crises as well as the Ukraine war, as an “emergency situation.”
The parties had initially mooted the fund during coalition negotiations in March, saying at the time that additional investments were needed to achieve climate neutrality in the buildings, transport and heating sectors. Still, the CDU-SPD coalition has come under fire for halting new cycle lane projects in the city to save car parking spaces. A citizen-initiated referendum on making Berlin climate neutral by 2030, which failed in March, had also been criticised by the coalition parties.