Climate cabinet to put Germany back on track for 2030 targets
- BMU - Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety
- BMVI - Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure
- BMWi - Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
After years of booming renewables, Germany's planned transition to a low-carbon, nuclear-free economy – the famed Energiewende – has recently run into some major hurdles. Emissions remain too high to reach climate targets, renewables expansion has slowed, and initiating changes in sectors such as transport has proven to be extremely difficult. Chancellor Merkel has therefore set up the so-called climate cabinet – a group of ministers with responsibilities in key climate policy fields – to decide necessary legislation to reach the country’s 2030 climate targets, as promised in the 2018 grand coalition government treaty. The cabinet has announced it will make key decisions in a meeting on 20 September.
Clean Energy Wire has followed the debate on key issues such as CO₂ pricing for transport and buildings, the introduction of the Climate Action Law, a major legislative framework, and packages of measures for individual economic sectors. This dossier provides an overview and will be updated regularly.
The climate cabinet will meet on 20 September and has promised key decisions for that day. The German government has thus entered crunch time on dealing with the climate challenge. Grand coalition parties CDU, CSU and SPD have each worked on their own climate plans, which show large overlap, but also dissent on key issues. Among these are how to design CO₂ pricing for the transport and buildings sectors, and whether or not to introduce a single big framework Climate Action Law to make climate targets binding and hold ministries accountable for reaching them.
At the same time, state secretaries from relevant ministries have met several times to prepare the 20 September climate cabinet meeting, taking into account the sets of proposals each ministry had to deliver. All proposals now have to be moulded into the climate policy cornerstones the government aims to present that day. A meeting of the grand coalition parties' leadership on 13 September could be used to resolve major remaining sticking points.
One week before the decisive climate cabinet meeting, this preview provides an overview regarding the government's plans and yet unresolved points of contentions. Mere days are left for the shaky grand coalition of Conservatives (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) to mould a myriad of party and ministry proposals on how Germany can reach 2030 climate targets into a joint strategy that can be agreed upon in the 20 September "climate cabinet" meeting.
CLEW looks at the state of affairs in German climate politics in the weeks leading up to the climate cabinet meeting on 20 September, and how the climate debate was pushed to the centre of the public focus by heat waves and the Fridays for Future protests.
After shying away from the debate for a long time, Germany's political leaders are finally considering putting a price on CO2 to help reach the country's climate targets. Ministries, major parties and research institutes are all pitching their ideas for how a carbon price could be designed. CLEW follows the debate and regularly updates this article with the latest developments.
Germany's environment ministry wants to enshrine the country's climate targets in a new comprehensive Climate Action Law. A first draft was sent to the chancellery for early coordination in February 2019, and was met with heavy criticism from several members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives. They oppose the idea of a major climate law and want only laws specifying climate action measures for individual economic sectors. To overcome the climate action impasse, Merkel set up the so-called climate cabinet, a round of ministers with responsibilities relating to climate issues, such as the environment, transport, buildings and energy ministers. They are now tasked with deciding the "legally binding implementation" of Germany's climate targets for 2030. The timeline has already been pushed back, but Merkel said her cabinet would decide "one or several climate action laws" before year-end.
There are several ways a price on carbon in transport and buildings could be implemented, and different stakeholders favour different models, such as a cap-and-trade approach or a carbon tax. This factsheet gives an overview of the carbon pricing options on the table and who backs which model.
This factsheet provides an overview of Germany's greenhouse gas emissions and the government's energy transition targets.
Germany's planned exit from coal will play a major role in reducing the country's greenhouse gas emissions. This factsheet looks at the final report of Germany's coal exit commission, which sets out a pathway for the country to phase out the fossil power source and make progress on its slow emissions reductions.
German leader Angela Merkel has been nicknamed "Climate Chancellor" for her long-standing international engagement for emissions cuts. Many wonder if Merkel can still live up to that reputation in her fourth term as chancellor, now that she has announced to step down as conservative party leader and doubts about the ability of her stumbling government coalition to drive key energy and climate policy decisions persist. 2019 could be a decisive year, as the German government has promised to present key climate action legislation before the end of the year. This factsheet provides a timeline of Merkel's climate involvement.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Re-elected chancellor Angela Merkel's grand coalition government of Conservatives and Social Democrats has said it wants to continue the Energiewende in a "clean, secure and affordable manner," and make sure Germany remains a pioneer in climate protection. In its 2018 coalition treaty, the partners promised to introduce legislation in 2019 to ensure that the 2030 climate targets are reached.
Germany’s new government also decided to fully implement the Climate Action Plan 2050, decided in 2016. The government agreed on a basic framework for largely decarbonising its economy to reach 2050 climate goals. It includes target corridors for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in individual economic sectors and emphasises the need to ensure economic competitiveness throughout the transition. This factsheet gives an overview of the agreed plan.