Neubauer also “finds it hard”: climate movement surprised by many no votes
Neubauer also “finds it hard”
Climate movement surprised by many no votes
03/26/2023 9:59 p.m
In the Berlin referendum for a stricter climate policy, 442,000 voters voted for the issue. However, due to the quorum, it is not enough to win. Worse for initiators and supporters, however, is that there are almost as many no votes as there are yes votes.
Climate activist Luisa Neubauer has shown optimism despite the failed referendum for more ambitious climate goals. “We won’t let the critics and complainers stop us. Let’s not forget what we made possible here,” said Neubauer at the election party of the “Climate Restart” alliance. The decision failed because the required minimum number of yes votes was not reached. The result is not a defeat for the climate movement, but a defeat for all residents of Berlin.
“First of all, this is a real turning point for everyone who is dependent on their livelihoods,” emphasized Neubauer. Nevertheless, it must be discussed why numerous people voted against the referendum. “We don’t have to talk about 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.”
The “Climate Restart” alliance wanted to use the vote to change the Berlin Energy Transition Act. Specifically, Berlin should commit itself to becoming climate neutral by 2030 and not by 2045 as previously planned. 442,210 eligible voters voted in favor of the issue, 423,418 voted against. In order to decide on the stricter climate targets, at least 25 percent of those entitled to vote would have had to vote in favor, that would have been around 608,000 yes votes.
Referendum without counter-campaign
The alliance “Klimaneustart” had forced the vote with a four-month collection of signatures in the previous year. If successful, the amended law would have been adopted and entered into force. The fact that the number of yes and no votes was roughly equal in the end came as a surprise to many. Before the referendum, only supporters in the city had mobilized and campaigned for their cause. There was no counter-campaign.
The initiators of the vote expressed disappointment with the outcome. “It’s not just a project from an initiative that has failed, it affects everyone in Berlin. It’s a shame for everyone in Berlin. Of course we’re going to continue, we’re going to keep fighting,” said Jessamine Davis from the “Klimaneustart” alliance.
“No to false promises”
Despite the failed referendum, the foreseeable capital coalition of the CDU and SPD wants to make the fight against climate change a central point of their work. “We are aware of the urgency, even if the referendum has not received the necessary approval,” explained Berlin’s current mayor, Franziska Giffey. The state of Berlin is committed to the Paris climate protection agreement. “We are working to ensure that Berlin becomes a climate-neutral city as quickly as possible before 2045.”
Secretary General Stefan Evers said for the Berlin CDU: “Berlin says yes to climate protection – but no to false promises. Berliners know that the climate would not be helped with unrealistic goals or unaffordable laws.” Decisive action is important in order to achieve “our nationwide, most ambitious climate goals” as quickly as possible.
After the repeat election, the CDU and SPD are negotiating a government alliance for the capital. Both parties have already announced that they intend to spend at least five billion euros on more climate protection in the city in the coming years.