The German Bundestag passed a controversial heating law today after months of conflict. It aims to make a significant contribution to increasing climate protection in buildings. 399 representatives voted in favor of the law, 275 opposed and five abstained from voting.
The Heating Act aims to make heating in Germany more climate friendly by gradually replacing oil and gas-fired heating systems. The Federal Council still must approve the law at the end of September.
The new building energy code essentially stipulates that every newly installed heating system in the future must be powered by 65 percent renewable energy. The law is scheduled to come into effect at the beginning of 2024, but will initially only apply to new development areas. For existing buildings, municipal thermal planning should be the primary focus, which should come gradually.
Intense controversy and debate
Before the decision, there was a controversial and vociferous debate in the Bundestag. Minister of Economy and Climate Protection Robert Habeck (Green Party) defended the law in the face of sharp criticism from the opposition.
He said: “I think it is justified to respond to this law with specific and relevant questions. But what you should not allow is to blind people – saying that we set goals, but we do nothing to ensure that those goals are achieved.
The Green Party leader admitted his mistakes
Green parliamentary group leader Katharina Drøge admitted the mistakes. She said the coalition fought hard with each other, often openly, and created uncertainty among citizens that was unnecessary. Ultimately, there will be a common solution with a concrete roadmap for how to achieve climate-friendly heating everywhere.
There were long struggles over the law. Under pressure, especially from the Free Democratic Party, there were fundamental changes to the original draft. The FDP particularly emphasized “technological openness” – according to the slogan: “Heating should suit the home, not the other way around.”
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