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Climate referendum failed – initiative clearly missed the quorum


Voting in Berlin

Climate referendum failed – initiative clearly missed the quorum

dpa/C. Gateau

Video: rbb24 evening show | 03/26/2023 | D. Knieling | Picture: dpa/C. Gateau

The initiators of a referendum wanted to achieve a climate-neutral Berlin by 2030 instead of 2045. But the project failed – too few Berliners cast their votes.

  • Around 442,000 people vote for “Berlin 2030 climate neutral”around 423,000 against it.
  • The required quorum of 607,518 votes is clearly missed.
  • Voter turnout was 35.8 percent.

The referendum, according to which Berlin should become climate-neutral by 2030, has failed. According to the provisional result of all votes, the supporters achieved a narrow majority of 50.9 percent, but the required quorum was missed.

According to voting manager Stephan Bröchler, 442,210 yes votes were counted. The required quorum of 607,518 yes votes was clearly missed.

423,418 Berliners (48.7 percent) voted no. This is surprising given that experts expected opponents of the referendum would be more likely not to vote than to vote against it.

The turnout was 35.8 percent.

Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg in favor, Marzahn-Hellersdorf against

In the districts of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Mitte, a large majority of those who went to the vote voted in favor of the proposed law. In Pankow, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and Neukölln, yes votes also predominated. In Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Treptow-Köpenick and Reinickendorf, on the other hand, the No votes were in the lead. In Spandau and Marzahn-Hellersdorf, a particularly large number of people voted against the proposed change in the law.

Result of the Berlin 2030 referendum on climate-neutral by district (source: rbb|24)
| Picture: rbb|24

Giffy: “We know the urgency”

After the failure of the referendum, the still incumbent Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) said that she wanted to work to ensure that Berlin “becomes a climate-neutral city as soon as possible before 2045”.

Before the vote, she described the goal of climate neutrality by 2030 as unrealistic. “We are aware of the urgency, even if the referendum has not received the necessary approval.” Giffey, who is currently negotiating a possible governing coalition with the CDU, said the fight against climate change will continue “a cross-sectional task with high priority for every future state government”

CDU, FDP and AfD welcome the failure of the referendum

The Berlin CDU was pleased with the outcome of the vote. “Berlin says yes to climate protection – but no to false promises”said General Secretary Stefan Evers, “Berliners know that unrealistic goals or unaffordable laws would not help the climate.”

The FDP also rated the failure of the referendum positively. Christoph Meyer, member of the Bundestag and member of the Berlin FDP, said: “Reason among Berliners has triumphed.” The FDP is expressly committed to the goal of climate neutrality by 2045. “Post-growth humbug, bans and dictates or a state-controlled climate economy are not allies for more climate protection”Meyer continued.

The AfD in Berlin also welcomed the result of the vote. “A valid yes would have been devastating for our city. Good that this cup has passed from us”explained the state chairwoman Kristin Brinker. “The Berliners didn’t give up their wits at the cloakroom, but prevented the quorum from being established”Brinker continues.

Four-month signature collection

The Alliance “Climate restart Berlin” had forced the referendum last year with a four-month collection of signatures, in which around 260,000 people signed for the request.

Exactly 2,430,072 Berliners were called up on Sunday for the referendum “Climate neutral 2030” vote. This figure was announced by the state returning authority on Saturday after the Berlin district electoral offices had closed the voting lists.

The electoral offices issued 458,000 voting slips in advance – for 18.8 percent of the people who are eligible to participate. The certificates are the prerequisite for voting by post. However, it is not yet known how many certificates were returned.

Voting line: “Referendum went very well”

Overall, the vote “went very well”, said voting manager Bröchler. However, there were a few indications of possible breakdowns. A woman wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning that people in a polling station in Tempelhof were being sent away without a voter’s notification. According to the DPA, the state referendum is following up on this information. However, it is difficult to verify the facts directly. According to her own statement, the woman did not want to publish on Twitter which polling station it was.

The state voting management also announced that a few people had complained that they had applied for voting documents by letter but had not received them. Because they had requested a postal vote, they could not vote on site on Sunday either. It has been pointed out several times that you have to report to the responsible electoral office if the documents do not arrive, the state voting management said. It’s too late to vote now.

an alliance “climate reset” wanted to use the referendum to get Berlin to commit to becoming climate-neutral by 2030 and not by 2045 as previously planned. The energy transition law of the country should be changed for this.

Even before the vote, the incumbent red-green-red state government had described the goal of climate neutrality by 2030 as unachievable and recommended not accepting the referendum.

Potsdam expert: Goal not realistic

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.

The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research does not consider this goal to be realistic. The majority of experts say that is too ambitious a goal, explained the sociologist at PIK, Fritz Reusswig, in the rbb24 evening show.

Broadcast: rbb24 Inforadio, March 26, 2023, 9 a.m