The referendum "Berlin 2030 climate-neutral" will be put to the vote on March 26. The Scientists for Future in Berlin and Brandenburg recommend voting "Yes".
The synthesis report on the 6th IPCC Assessment Report, which summarizes the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was published at the beginning of this week. The report emphasizes: "The window of opportunity in which we can still ensure a liveable and sustainable future for all is closing rapidly."
The climate crisis is a reality and its effects are being felt worldwide. The current events - melting ice on the polar ice caps and in the Alps, devastating floods in Pakistan and the Ahr valley, droughts in Africa, southern Europe, France and Brandenburg - are just harbingers of what is to come.
However, the report also shows what opportunities still exist for a "liveable, sustainable future for all". We still have a choice: either we get the climate crisis largely under control by the middle of the century by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, at least in the long term, or we allow unchecked, potentially catastrophic development.
This global crisis must also be solved at a local level. Some possible contributions of cities are highlighted in the current IPCC report: A city with short distances, well-developed public transportation and attractive walking and cycling paths, actively contributes to solving the climate crisis (and has positive health effects for the population). The transformation of the energy and heating supply is also essential. Energy-efficient renovations, more efficient use of buildings and a significant reduction in energy and material consumption can have a massive positive impact on the climate balance. A city that also integrates and expands water and green spaces is better prepared for the future and more liveable. Such green-blue infrastructure can mitigate the effects of extreme climatic events such as heatwaves, floods and droughts while promoting the mental and physical health of its residents.
High costs are often used as an argument against climate protection. However, doing too little is much more expensive: experts estimate climate damage of up to 900 billion euros for Germany between 2022 and 2050 alone. Thermally insulated buildings and the expansion of renewable energies, on the other hand, are investments in the future that will replace expensive coal, oil and gas and keep future energy costs at a socially acceptable level.
Scientific institutions have already embarked on the path to climate neutrality by 2030: "We have a role model function," warns Prof. Dr. Christoph Schneider, Vice President for Research at Humboldt-Universität.
Prof. Dr. Volker Quaschning from HTW Berlin also emphasizes: "We finally need an effective climate protection law because no party in the Berlin Senate is following the recommendations of the scientific community to comply with the 1.5-degree limit."
A climate-neutral Berlin will be a better city: healthier and more liveable. Over 100 European cities want to become climate-neutral by 2030. Berlin should be among them and lead the way with a binding law. The savings made in the current energy crisis show what is possible when willingness to change and regulations work together.
The impact of the climate crisis depends on the decisions we make now. "We are on a collision course with natural law realities," notes Dr. Gregor Hagedorn, co-founder of Scientists for Future. "Solving the current crises requires courage and commitment, not just goodwill and non-binding declarations of intent. This is exactly the difference the referendum can make."
Scientists for Future are available to answer questions about the referendum with their specialist expertise.