Tuesday 19 March 2019

Germany creates a climate cabinet

Is climate now a top political priority or is the government coalition prioritising its internal climate?

Thursday, March 14th 2019, Berlin: the coalition government in Germany has met in order to prepare a legally binding climate roadmap to reach its 2030 climate targets. As a reminder: the 2020 targets will be missed and several studies show that the 2030 targets are also destined to fail – despite a coal phase out planned by 2038 – if wind and solar targets do not increase considerably.

The creation of a climate committee shows that climate protection has to be tackled by the entire government despite strong differences between parties. It is now being discussed in its own cabinet at the highest level hopefully indicating it is being taken seriously.

In order to reach its 2030 targets, the German government has to come to an agreement on a new climate protection law this year. However, the proposed law would assign responsibility for climate protection to the individual ministries and this has been causing tension for weeks as strict emission reduction requirements are considered too inflexible.

With the law, the minister of the Environment, Svenja Schulze (SPD), wants to regulate how much the individual areas, such as transport, industry, buildings and agriculture, must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions each year, so that Germany can meet its climate protection target for 2030 and EU regulations. Concrete measures should, according to the draft, be developed in each of the respective ministries.

Resistance comes mainly from the minister of Transport, Andreas Scheuer (CDU). He has criticized the objectives as "eco-economics". CDU and CSU are against rigid annual targets for each ministry to reduce emissions. In the case of transport, for instance, it is argued that flexibility is needed to be able to make use of "innovation leaps". From now on, regular top-level talks between the automotive industry and the government are foreseen in order to plan the future of the German automotive industry.

The committee composition is designed to ensure climate is ‘mainstreamed’ by including all relevant ministers, e.g. ministers of the environment, transport, construction, economy and finance. However, so far nothing concrete on working methods or competencies has been decided. If the committee delays the urgently needed climate protection law while being swayed by the powerful car industry it risks becoming a mere talk shop that imperils Germans, Europeans and the planet.

©photo: Jonas Tebbe, unsplash

by Tatjana Veith on 19 March 2019 / 465 visits

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