The planned heating law continues to cause controversy in the governing coalition. SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich criticized what he saw as the braking behavior of the coalition partner FDP: “I regret that, and that also annoys me,” he said on Monday in the ARD “Morgenmagazin”. It not only entails hours of discussions between the specialist deputies, “but it also annoys the parliamentary group leaders”.

Ambitious plans

The coalition originally wanted to introduce the draft law on plans to replace old oil and gas heating systems in the Bundestag this week. However, the Free Democrats are delaying the process and justifying this with the personnel upheavals in Robert Habeck’s (Greens) Ministry of Economic Affairs, which, from the Liberals’ point of view, are making deliberations on the law more difficult.

According to the draft law already passed by the Federal Cabinet, from 2024 every newly installed heating system should be operated with 65 percent green energy. This should apply to all owners up to the age of 80. Existing oil and gas heating systems can continue to be operated, and broken ones can be repaired. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the switch should be cushioned socially by funding – but the details are controversial.

After long discussions, the traffic light government actually agreed to bring the project through the Bundestag before the summer break. The law is considered an important component of the plan to make Germany climate-neutral by 2045.

The FDP now has 24 hours to agree to the first reading of the law, said Mützenich and continued: “The FDP must be able to come to reliable consultations in the German Bundestag. You can’t do that outside of parliament. We are in a coalition.”

FDP: “a technically bad law”

The coalition partner rejected the criticism: parts of the SPD apparently wanted to get “a badly crafted law” quickly through parliament to distract from the fact that they had done too little themselves in the past, said FDP parliamentary group leader Christoph Meyer of the German press Agency. “It is in everyone’s interest in this coalition to introduce a good law that does not overwhelm people and companies – even if it takes a little longer.”

The German Association for Housing and Urban Development also advocates a less ambitious schedule. “We advocate taking the pressure off now,” said association president Mike Groschek, the newspaper “Neue Westfälische” (Monday). “The 65 percent target cannot be achieved in a socially acceptable manner from 2024. In our opinion, it should come in 2025 at the earliest.” Groschek was building minister in North Rhine-Westphalia for a number of years and at times chairman of the state SPD.

SPD co-leader Saskia Esken spoke out against a delay. “If we want to become climate-neutral, and we have to, then the heating transition must be initiated now, also ambitiously,” Esken told the Phoenix television station.