After the failure of the Berlin referendum for more ambitious climate goals, the initiators of the vote and other climate protectionists do not want to back down. "It's a shame for everyone in Berlin. Of course we're going to continue, we're going to keep fighting," said Jessamine Davis, spokeswoman for the "Climate Reset" alliance.
Stefan Zimmer, another spokesman for the alliance, announced that Berlin's climate policy would continue to be followed "critically and constructively". "We will keep an eye on politicians and, as before, bring together a wide variety of actors to ensure that the climate change in Berlin is designed in a socially just manner."
In the referendum on Sunday, according to the election officials, a narrow majority voted in favor of Berlin legally committing itself to becoming climate-neutral by 2030 instead of 2045 as previously planned. However, this was only one requirement for a successful referendum.
The second requirement, an approval rate (quorum) of at least 25 percent of all eligible voters, was not met. That would have been around 608,000 yes votes, so in the end around 165,000 votes were missing. 35.8 percent of the approximately 2.4 million eligible voters took part in the referendum.
Luisa Neubauer: "Let's not stop us"
According to the initiators, the result of the referendum shows that many people in Berlin think that politicians are not acting fast enough when it comes to climate protection. After all, 442,210 people voted yes, more than the CDU received second votes when it won the election on February 12 (428,228). The referendum failed because of the quorum. But he shows: "Berlin wants more climate protection." Thanks to the campaign for the referendum, politicians have also recognized this.
Climate activist Luisa Neubauer was also optimistic. "We won't let the critics and whiners stop us. Let's not forget what we made possible here," she said on Sunday evening at the "Klimaneustart" election party. The result is not a defeat for the climate movement, but a defeat for everyone in Berlin. "First of all, this is a real turning point for everyone who depends on their livelihoods," said Neubauer.
Nevertheless, it must be discussed why numerous people also voted against the referendum. "We don't have to talk around it, I also find it hard to think about what will happen to the people who voted no today. We will continue to fight for the people who voted no today."
After the failure of the referendum, Berlin's governing mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) emphasized that the fight against climate change was one of "our central political tasks". The CDU, which is currently conducting coalition negotiations with the SPD, takes a similar view.
"Berlin says yes to climate protection - but no to false promises," said Secretary General Stefan Evers. Decisive action is now important in order to achieve climate goals as quickly as possible. The Association of Business Associations Berlin-Brandenburg declared that a "climate policy with a crowbar" had not found a democratic majority.
The Greens state chairmen Susanne Mertens and Philmon Ghirmai explain: "The majority spoke out in favor of more climate protection, but the result also shows that the necessary change is polarizing and triggering fears." But that doesn't change the urgency of the issue.
Climate neutrality means that no greenhouse gases are emitted that exceed those that are absorbed by nature, for example. To achieve this, emissions that are harmful to the climate, for example from combustion cars, airplanes, heating systems, power plants or industrial companies, would have to be reduced by around 95 percent compared to 1990. Germany wants to become climate neutral by 2045. The EU wants to be there by 2050.