26 Feb 2024, 13:32
Sören Amelang

City of Berlin’s climate plans in shambles as 5-billion-euro funding scheme deemed illegal

Süddeutsche Zeitung / taz

The City of Berlin’s plans for massive climate investments are on the brink of collapse after legal experts have deemed the current funding scheme as illegal, according to media reports in newspapes Süddeutsche Zeitung and Tageszeitung (taz). Law experts commissioned by the city government, a coalition of the Christian Democrats (CDU) and Social Democrats (SPD), concluded that the planned mechanism involving a "special climate protection fund" worth 5 billion euros is "not permissible". The conclusion of the legal opinion was received as "very bad news" by the CDU parliamentary group, and "a disaster" by SPD members of Berlin's state parliament. The city government's coalition party members added the legal opinion was not wholly surprising, given that a November ruling by Germany’s constitutional court had declared a similar funding mechanism on the federal level as unlawful. In all likelihood, the government of Germany’s capital now faces the task of finding alternative ways to fund its planned climate initiatives.

Berlin’s city government adopted the 5-billion-euro climate protection fund last summer, with the aim of financing projects in mobility, building energy efficiency, and power supply, among others. At the time, it said the fund could be doubled to 10 billion euros by 2026. Berlin's environment senator, Manja Schreiner from the CDU, last year had said the city government's focus of action for the climate protection fund was to reduce fossil fuel dependency by boosting solar power deployment as well as “properly promoting” geothermal energy, hydropower and waste heat from data centres as energy sources.

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