Everyone wants to do something for the climate. But for many it is too slow. A popular initiative wants to encourage Berlin to act more quickly. There is prominent support for this in front of the Brandenburg Gate.
For a more consistent fight against the climate catastrophe, numerous people supported the referendum “Berlin 2030 climate neutral” in Berlin on Saturday. The organizers had expected around 35,000 people for the rally with various concerts by the evening.
With repeated rain showers, there were significantly fewer. The organizers gave the number as 7000 to 8000 during the rally. The police spoke of a maximum of 1200 people.
With the referendum this Sunday, the alliance wants to achieve that Berlin becomes climate-neutral 15 years earlier than planned – by 2030. The country’s energy transition law is to be changed for this purpose. This requires a majority of yes votes, but at least 25 percent of those entitled to vote. That’s around 608,000 yes votes. The feasibility of the demands is disputed at the political level.
Scholz opposes the goals of the alliance
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is skeptical about the goals. “I am firmly convinced that what the federal government has set itself is exactly the right way, namely to ensure that we modernize our country technologically,” said Scholz in Potsdam. “Fictitious dates that you can’t keep to don’t help.”
The climate activist Luisa Neubauer (“Fridays For Future”) emphasized the importance of the referendum. “This vote is unique, and Berlin could become the city where things really get going,” she told dpa on the sidelines of the rally. “Here you can see what it looks like when people take matters into their own hands and break out of this dangerous spiral in which new excuses are found in every legislative period for why climate protection cannot be done now.”
Neubauer rejected objections that the measures should be too expensive. “The question of costs is a hollow debate if you don’t counter it with how expensive the climate crisis is and what the climate catastrophe costs.” It’s just not related.
Music by well-known artists
The musical part of the five-hour program was designed by the band Il Civetto or Alexander Hacke from Einsturzenden Neubauten with artist Danielle de Picciotto. The band Element of Crime around musician and writer Sven Regener (“2045 is too late!”) and musician Annett Louisan were also there for performances. There was a lot of cheering and applause for the alternative rock band Beatsteaks, even in the pouring rain. At the end, pianist Igor Levit played a version of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”.
Contributions came, for example, from Neubauer and the sustainability expert Maja Göpel. From the stage, the activists involved and supporting organizations repeatedly appealed to people to take part in the vote on Sunday and to vote “yes”. “No matter what the result, we’ll keep going until we reach our goal!” It said. “Don’t be a fossil fool”, “Tomorrow it’s to late”, “Sticking to life” or “Max 1.5 degrees” could be read on posters and T-shirts.
Herbert Grönemeyer also previously expressed understanding for protest actions, especially young people, against climate change. “We need these young people who really blow our minds, in the truest sense of the word,” he told the dpa in Berlin. “We can be thankful for that.”
Grönemeyer sees the need for quick action. “It’s about the fact that we’re running out of time. I know myself how long it takes for the brains in their sluggishness – including my own – to be fired up to finally commit to a topic.”
The musician does not understand the reactions of those in government to the protests. “When a government that is being protested judges whether the protest is appropriate, effective or not, then we are in a completely twisted world,” he said. “Protest has to irritate, annoy and upset. Of course she doesn’t like it, otherwise it wouldn’t be a protest.”
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.