07 Apr 2021, 12:56
Charlotte Nijhuis

Backlog in German government spending on climate action in 2020

Tagesspiegel Background

Less money has been spent out of the Federal Energy and Climate Fund (EKF) than was available in 2020, Tagesspiegel Background writes after seeing the 2020 balance sheet of the German finance ministry. Of the total of 8.38 billion euros that should have been spent last year, only 5.04 billion euros was allocated, the media outlet writes. The low outflow was often due to the coronavirus pandemic, said the finance ministry. The EKF has been replenished in recent years, through the supplementary coronavirus budget and the revenue from emissions trading, the latter of which brought in 2.6 billion euros in 2020, according to the ministry. Due to the accumulation of funds, 31.5 billion euros are now waiting to go into programmes for energy efficiency, building renovations or research, Tagesspiegel Background writes.

When it comes to climate-friendly investments in the building sector, the number of applications for funding is growing and has in some cases even tripled. However, “due to the long project durations, the funds committed to current applications will only have an effect on expenditure after two to four years”, the ministry writes. For example, only 1.6 million euros was spent on the transformation of the heating networks, instead of the planned 50 million euros. For the expansion of e-car charging infrastructure, 18 million euros of subsidies were allocated last year, whereas 175 million would have been available, Tagesspiegel Background writes. Hardly any money has been spent so far on the implementation of the national hydrogen strategy, which is mainly due to the fact that it was not adopted until mid-2020.  

In 2020, Germany reached its overall goal of a 40 percent emission reduction over 1990, mainly due to the pandemic and an increase in renewable energy. Nearly all sectors reached their emission reduction targets last year, with the exception of the buildings sector, which emitted about 2 million tonnes of CO2 more than allowed.

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