City of Berlin rejects popular petition calling for 2030 climate neutrality
Berlin's city government has rejected a popular petition calling for Germany's capital to become climate neutral by 2030, reports regional newspaper Tagesspiegel. "We must now use all our energy to come up with really effective, concrete measures for climate protection and climate adaptation in the crucial sectors in Berlin – instead of always just writing new climate protection targets into laws," the state's environment minister Bettina Jarasch from the Green Party said. Jarasch said she agreed with the main aim of putting climate protection at the centre of policymaking, but added that compliance with certain emission reduction targets could not be influenced by Berlin alone. Therefore, the capital cannot achieve climate neutrality on its own 15 or 20 years earlier than Germany or the EU.
The petition’s initiators said they were disappointed with the city government's position and argued that Berlin will miss its commitment to the 1.5°C target set out in the Paris Climate Agreement. "While the Senate [state government] points to a lack of possibilities for action and regulation at the state level, the European Commission announced last week that 100 cities in Europe want to become climate-neutral by 2030 – including capitals such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Brussels, but also Munich, Dortmund, Dresden and Frankfurt am Main," the alliance said. "These cities are supported by the EU in their transformation. The alliance is therefore surprised why Berlin has not accepted this offer."
The petition demands that Berlin commit to cutting emissions by 70 percent by 2025 compared to 1990 levels as an intermediate step to climate neutrality by 2030. Last year, the city government significantly stepped up prior climate ambitions by deciding to reduce CO2 emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, and reaching climate neutrality by 2045. If the city's parliament also rejects the initiators' demands, the initiative can still enforce a referendum on their proposals by collecting 170,000 signatures.