It is the best-known and probably most controversial law of the Ampel government: Habeck’s heating law. A year after the mega-dispute, surveys show how deep the distrust of those politically responsible runs.

The so-called heating law of the traffic light government caused a particularly heated political and social debate in Germany in the spring of 2023. The law, which was primarily the responsibility of Robert Habeck’s (Greens) Ministry of Economics, was a piece of craftsmanship and was subsequently changed because of the strong criticism of it. Surveys by the opinion research institute Civey for FOCUS online show the massive consequences that the government’s sometimes botched approach had and still has.

Three quarters of citizens say that the implementation of the Building Energy Act has reduced their trust in the federal government. Not surprisingly, the negative feeling is most pronounced among supporters of the opposition party. This gave 92 percent of Union voters and even 97 percent of AfD fans a more negative image of the traffic lights.

The GEG essentially envisages switching to climate-friendly heating in order to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The aim is that in the future heating systems will only be installed if they generate at least 65 percent of the heat provided using renewable energies. The new GEG requirements for renewable heating have been in effect since January 1, 2024. The aim is to gradually initiate the switch to a climate-friendly heat supply that can be planned, cost-effective and stable in the medium to long term. According to the government, the use of fossil fuels for heat supply in buildings should be ended by 2045. From this point onwards at the latest, all heating systems must be operated entirely with renewable energy.

And although the coverage of the law dominated the headlines for weeks and every detail was debated extensively, it still raises questions for a large proportion of citizens. According to the Civey survey, one in two people could not explain to a friend what the new law covers. Only 39 percent could. And of the people who are affected by the law because, for example, they have old oil or gas heating systems, only a very small proportion have so far taken care of a new heating system. 11 percent say they have already bought a new system, 88 percent have not done so.

Bitter for the government: The skepticism towards the GEG is apparently so vehement that 79 percent of the people affected by the law say they do not want to buy a new heating system. So a lot of persuasion is still needed to ensure that the ambitious plan will work by 2045.

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