In the fight against global warming, the Berlin Climate Citizens’ Council is calling on the Senate and House of Representatives to make driving in the capital more expensive and less attractive. The measure is one of 47 recommendations for the country’s future climate policy, which the citizens’ committee handed over to Climate Protection Senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens) in the House of Representatives on Thursday evening. The introduction of a climate citizens’ council was decided last year by the House of Representatives. Since the end of April 2022, 100 randomly selected Berliners have been meeting to give politicians recommendations for the fight against climate change.
In eight sessions, the committee discussed topics such as mobility, energy and buildings together with experts. In the recommendations, the citizens advocate faster climate protection measures and greater involvement of the population, as well as clear rules for reducing CO2 emissions in the capital. The majority of the recommendations received high approval ratings.
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At least 69 percent of the participants voted in favor of making driving in Berlin more expensive and less attractive. In addition, the parking fees should increase, although there should be exceptions, for example for certain professional groups. Parking spaces should also disappear in favor of green spaces.
In addition, thanks to the rapid expansion of bus lanes, buses and bicycles should have priority over car traffic. The majority of the committee decided that the introduction of a congestion charge should also be examined. “The aim is that cars should not be driven in the city center as a matter of principle,” writes the council in its recommendation.
In addition, the members advocate further expanding local public transport, especially on the outskirts of the city, while at the same time keeping ticket prices low. In order not to seal further areas in the city with buildings, residential buildings should also be increased by additional floors. “The climate citizens: inner council was a unique experience,” said Beatrice Al-Mardini-Krukow, member of the committee. Although there were also disputes, said the 68-year-old, “but in the end we agreed: more needs to be done to protect the climate.” Senator Jarasch thanked her for the recommendations.
“Citizens obviously want even more effective measures to reduce car traffic. We will have to talk about that.” The Senate will discuss the measures in its new climate committee. The House of Representatives will also deal with it.
The climate citizens’ council brings “an important impetus to the climate debate in Berlin,” said Felix Reifschneider, environmental policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group. Politicians must now weigh up the recommendations and set priorities, for example whether the expansion of public transport and its reliability, cleanliness and safety have priority over cheaper tickets. Reifschneider also called for the unavoidable consequences of climate change in the capital to be considered more closely. This requires high investments.
Green parliamentary group leader Silke Gebel emphasized the unsealing of asphalt surfaces in Berlin demanded by the climate citizens’ council. “Civil society has confirmed it once again: Berlin must become greener in every corner.”
Your co-chairman Werner Graf saw the results as a tailwind for your own transport policy: The recommendation had clearly shown “that Berliners want a rapid turnaround in transport based on the green model become even more attractive to motorized private transport,” he said.