Berlin climate proposal fails to get enough yes votes to win

Members of the alliance “Berlin 2030 Climate Neutral” react to the first results about the referendum Berlin voters are asked to decide on a proposal that would force the city government to drastically ramp up the German capital’s climate goals, in Berlin on March 26, 2023.
| Photo Credit: AP

A March 26 referendum in Berlin that would have forced the city to ramp up its climate goals failed because there weren’t enough votes in favour of the proposal, the German news agency dpa reported.

After about 98% of the votes had been counted, the supporters of the proposal were just ahead of the opponents of such a change in the law, according to an announcement by the city-state’s election administration.

However, that result only met one requirement for a successful proposal. The second requirement, a quorum of at least 25% of all eligible voters, was not met, dpa reported.

Shortly before the end of the count, there were around 4,23,000 votes in favour and around 4,05,000 votes against. The quorum for a successful referendum would have been around 6,08,000 votes in favour of the proposal.

The referendum had called for Berlin to become climate neutral by 2030. The target meant that in less than eight years, the city would no longer be allowed to contribute further to global warming.

An existing law sets the deadline for achieving that goal at 2045, which is also Germany’s national target.

A grassroots group that had initiated the proposal had argued that Berlin’s current target isn’t in line with the 2015 Paris climate accord, which aims to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) compared with the pre-industrial average.

The centre-right Christian Democratic Union, which won a recent local election in the capital and is likely to lead its new government, had opposed the earlier target.

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