Amendment to the energy transition act: nearly climate-neutral by 2050 at the latest

Faster away with CO2: The Senate passes the draft of the revised Energy Transition Act with stricter climate targets.

From 2030, all BVG buses are to be electric, announced Senator Gunther ran Photo: Raimund Mueller

Fewer CO2 emissions and, above all, faster: That is the core idea of the new version of the energy transition law, the draft of which was unanimously approved by the red-red-green senate on Tuesday. According to the bill, Berlin is to be largely climate-neutral by 2050 at the latest.

The public administration, including the police and state-owned companies such as BVG and BSR, will play an exemplary role in this regard. The Green faction in the House of Representatives celebrated the bill that her party colleague Regine Gunther successfully presented to her Senate colleagues as a "giant step toward more climate protection".

It’s not entirely easy on Tuesday for climate senator Gunther to get through with this otherwise weighty issue. In the digital press conference after the cabinet meeting, the first journalist question leaves out climate and energy and wants to know the current status on the intended Federal Constitutional Court action in the headscarf dispute (see box). In addition, the following day, due to corona, the renewed conference of minister presidents is scheduled, which will focus on the issue of opening schools. As to the timing of a return of classes to schools, no decision has yet been made, is to be heard in this regard from Senate spokeswoman Melanie Reinsch.

The dispute in the red-red-green coalition over the neutrality law is intensifying. Education Senator Sandra Scheeres (SPD) made it clear in the Senate on Tuesday that her administration intends to appeal to the Federal Constitutional Court against a ruling by the Federal Labor Court that a blanket ban on headscarves for teaching staff in the classroom is inadmissible.

Green Party Senator Regine Gunther told journalists that Scheeres’ administration would "continue to go its own way." She left open whether the Greens opposed this goal in the Senate: "We’ve had an exchange about it." Clearer words came from the Green vice faction leader Sebastian Walter: "With the ruling of the Federal Labor Court, there is already a clear supreme court evaluation of the neutrality law." He sees Scheere’s desire to sue as "a pure filibustering strategy." (sta)

In this context, the revised version of the Energy Transition Act actually represents an innovation. The Senate has set itself higher targets than before: Whereas 60 percent of Berlin’s CO2 emissions – short for carbon dioxide – were to be saved by 2030 compared with 1990, the target is now 65 percent and then 80 percent by 2040. By 2050, according to Gunther, the state should be "effectively climate neutral."

The pioneering role of the state, "the public sector," as Gunther called it, consists primarily of electrifying its vehicles and improving the climate protection standards of its buildings. If possible, they should be better insulated and thus require less energy to heat. There is also a requirement for solar power use. The new standards for better efficiency are to apply from 2022. The only exceptions are "significantly more complex school buildings," where the stricter standards will be mandatory three years later.

The draft, which has been under discussion for a year, was also praised by SPD environmental expert Daniel Buchholz. He told the taz newspaper that it was a "clear improvement" on the previous climate targets. Nevertheless, he said, the SPD parliamentary group would take another "very close look" at the bill now going before parliament and, if necessary, tighten it further.