Germany must take immediate action to address a large backlog in climate protection, Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said on Tuesday.
The country looks set to miss its next annual climate targets, and Green Party co-leader Habeck wants action taken to get Germany back on its “climate target track”.
“Gigantic task” to achieve the objectives
Describing the situation, Habeck said Germany was falling behind and in all likelihood its climate targets for 2022 would not be met. He also said it would be difficult to meet them in 2023.
Without serious changes, the minister said, Germany would also fail to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 65% by 2030 compared to 1990.
“We are starting with a drastic backlog,” said Habeck, who is also German vice chancellor. He wants measures to be put in place to increase Germany’s share in renewable energies to 80% by 2030 and become climate neutral by 2045.
“This is all a colossal task. And it will be several years before we see success.”
Habeck said the rate of emission reductions is expected to triple by 2030.
“While emissions have fallen by an average of 15 million tonnes per year over the past decade, they are now set to decline by 36 to 41 million tonnes per year by 2030,” he said.
What changes are requested?
Habeck wants an “immediate climate protection program” – with laws, regulations and other measures in place by the end of the year.
Some of the measures mentioned so far include:
- More wind turbines and solar power plants encouraged by increased tenders for renewable energy
- More planning certainty for renewable energy installations, relaxation of some rules on where wind turbines can be built
- A “wind on land” law requiring an average of 2% of percent of state and community land to be used for wind power
- A “solar acceleration package” which could mean that all new buildings should be fitted with solar panels
- A reliable subsidy system for the introduction of climate-neutral industrial production processes
- Changes that mean the federal government takes responsibility for financing renewable energy rather than consumers
- New investment in green hydrogen
A first package of urgent laws and plans is expected to be approved by cabinet by April, and put into effect by Parliament’s summer recess.
Another package is expected to be drafted over the summer in time for approval by the end of the year.
Greenpeace sets 2023 as a criterion
The German coalition government has announced its determination to tackle climate change.
The coalition includes the Free Democratic Neoliberals (FDP) and Green Environmentalists – who are junior coalition partners of the center-left Social Democrats of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
While the FDP and the Greens have had their differences on environmental issues in the past, both have expressed their willingness to find common ground on green innovations.
Martin Kaiser, head of international climate policy at Greenpeace Germany, told DW he welcomed the commitments, but that the coalition would be judged on Germany’s ability to meet its 2023 goals.
“In his initial climate statement, Habeck wants to take seriously the immediate solar and wind expansion steps outlined in the coalition’s agenda,” Kaiser said.
“The timetable he presented is ambitious and a clear mandate for the ministers of construction, transport, agriculture and the environment to immediately begin their respective immediate measures.”
“Starting next year, Habeck and co will be judged on whether the climate targets are met.”