Climate Emergency in Berlin

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On 10 December 2019, on the initiative of Climate Protection Senator Regine Günther, the Berlin Senate was the first Federal State of Germany to recognise the climate emergency. In doing so, the Senate explicitly determined that the ongoing warming of the earth constitutes a climate emergency, which requires additional efforts by the state of Berlin in favour of climate protection.
The German capital is the first German Federal State joining the growing number of towns and cities in Germany and all over the world, who have declared or proclaimed a climate emergency, in order to counter the dramatic risks of global climate change.
In doing so, at the same time the Senate of Berlin has acknowledged the Paris Agreement and the target defined therein, of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
According to the resolution, in future, the Senate will direct its work at ensuring that, in light of the Paris Agreement, Berlin will become climate neutral as quickly as possible. To achieve this, further measures to reduce CO2 emissions must be developed.

This resolution is based on the key points introduced to the Senate by Senator Günther of the Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection:

  1. The Senate recognises that ongoing global warming presents a climate emergency, which requires urgent action and additional efforts in favour of climate protection and climate change adaptation.
  2. The Senate is committed to achieving the target set in the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels as far as possible, and considers mitigating the climate crisis and its consequences to be of the highest priority.
  3. The Senate affirms the State of Berlin’s objective to become climate neutral as quickly as possible and, will, in light of the Paris Agreement, direct its work on reducing Berlin’s climate-damaging CO2 emissions by more than the previous target of 85% (compared to 1990) before 2050.
  4. The Senate instructs the Senate Department responsible for climate protection to immediately prepare an amendment to the Berlin Energy Turnaround Act, which takes into account this target, the provisions of the Paris Agreement and the current findings of climate science.
  5. The Senate recognises the need to further intensify the activities relating to climate protection, the energy transition and climate change adaptation at a State level with immediate effect, to further improve the monitoring of climate protection measures and to revise Berlin‘s energy and climate protection programme.
  6. The Senate Department for climate protection is assigned the task of producing a feasibility study, in order to determine how and by which measures, further reductions in Berlin’s CO2 emissions can be achieved and implemented as quickly as possible.
  7. The Senate reaffirms Berlin’s determination to end, as the first Federal State of Germany, the use of coal for energy generation by 2030 at the latest and welcomes the results of the feasibility study, “Coal phase-out and sustainable district heating supply, Berlin 2030”, which sets forth the technical and economic viability of phasing out of coal in Berlin.
  8. The Senate aims to review all its future decisions specifically with regard to their effects on climate protection, and assigns the Senate Department for climate protection to develop and submit to the Senate a proposal for an appropriate procedure and test criteria.
  9. The Senate emphasises the role model function that the State of Berlin assumes in its own actions to achieve a CO2-neutral administration and the energy development of public buildings, with systematic use and generation of renewable energy in and on these buildings, and intends to further intensify these actions within the framework of the amendment of the Energy Turnaround Act.