Current language: English

Billion-euro special fund for climate protection approved

Senat Berlin

Berlin wants to spend additional billions on more climate protection. On Tuesday, the black-red senate introduced a bill for a so-called special fund in the amount of five billion euros.

The sum is to be financed through loans and flow into projects that are not paid for through the regular state budget, as Finance Senator Stefan Evers (CDU) announced. The aim is to accelerate the conversion to fossil-free energy and the reduction of emissions. The bill will now be discussed in the House of Representatives and then passed with the aim of starting the special fund in 2024.

"Waiting would mean harm for Berliners and this city"

Evers cited social and climate policy reasons for the approach that the CDU and SPD had agreed on in their coalition agreement in the spring. On the one hand, sharply increased energy prices as a result of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine had made it clear that dependence on fossil fuels had to be overcome quickly. On the other hand, the increase in extreme weather events showed the necessity to act on climate protection. "The investment requirements are so high in volume that they cannot be represented within the framework of normal budgeting," Evers said of the loans, which the Senate says are compatible with the debt brake. "To wait would mean damage for Berliners and this city. And that must be averted." Hesitant action would also drive up costs, the senator argued.

Investments in diverse areas

Specifically, the money is intended for projects that accelerate climate protection in the building sector, in energy production and supply, in transport and mobility, and in the economy. In the case of buildings, this may involve energy-efficient renovation, and in the case of energy, new infrastructure for the heat transition. In the area of mobility, Evers mentioned measures for better public transport, for cycling and walking, or a conversion of the vehicle fleet to electric drive as examples. In the economy, money could flow into projects to increase energy efficiency. Progress in climate protection brought about by the programme is to be documented on the basis of concrete and measurable criteria such as CO2 emissions.

Special fund enables project-related loans

As Evers further explained, no large pot of five billion euros is envisaged. Rather, loans would be taken out and disbursed on a project-by-project basis. The core of the law is a credit authorisation of five billion euros. In 2026, it will be reviewed how the programme is going and then a decision will be made on a possible increase to up to ten billion euros. Repayment of the loans for the five billion assets initially launched is to begin in 2030 and be completed in 2056.

Special funds for climate protection also in other federal states

The special fund for climate protection is not the first in Berlin. The state already has several such funds outside the actual budget. Probably the best known is the Special Infrastructure for the Growing City (SIWA). According to the financial administration, such assets related to climate protection also exist in various forms in other Länder, Bremen, Saarland and North Rhine-Westphalia were mentioned. The federal government has transferred credit appropriations for the fight against the Corona pandemic to climate protection. The Federal Constitutional Court is currently reviewing this procedure.

Climate-neutral Berlin by 2045

The Berlin Energy Transition Act sets the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 70 percent by 2030 compared to 1990. By 2045 at the latest, they are to be reduced by at least 95 percent. Then Berlin would be climate neutral. Climate neutrality means that no greenhouse gases are emitted beyond those absorbed by nature, for example. Germany, like Berlin, wants to be ready by 2045, the EU by 2050.

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 25 July 2023
Last updated: 25 July 2023

More News