16 Nov 2016, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Environment minister: Germany "won't quite reach" 2020 emissions goal


Germany is likely to miss its 2020 target of reducing CO₂ emissions by 40 percent compared to 1990, environment minister Barbara Hendricks said in an interview with the national radio station Deutschlandfunk. “I suppose we won't quite reach our goal” and “end up a bit below it” Hendricks said. She added that she was responsible for initiating the 2014 Action Programme for climate protection “to come as close as possible to that goal,” whereas her predecessors were also aware that Germany was likely to fall short but did not act. 
In October Hendricks’ ministry revealed that the government’s 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target would probably be missed if no decisive steps were taken.

Read a transcript of the interview in German here.

See an overview of Germany’s emission reduction targets in the CLEW factsheet Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets.

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

The current German renewable energy surcharge will not be enough to put the Energiewende on a sound financial basis, due to growing demand for electricity in transport and heating (sector coupling), economy minister Sigmar Gabriel said at the annual conference of the German Employers’ Association (BDA). If clean energy were to be fully deployed in power generation, mobility and heating, the current EEG surcharge consumers pay with their electricity bills would not be the last word in legislation to fund the development of renewables, Gabriel said. He also said the government had tied up loose ends in climate protection with its recently published Climate Action Plan 2050.

For background on the EEG’s reform, see the CLEW dossier The reform of the Renewable Energy Act.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

German carmakers' plan to set up a nationwide fast charging network for electric cars is “no reason to cheer”, Peter Fahrenholz writes in a commentary for Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Investing in transportation infrastructure is a public duty,” Fahrenholz writes, and its absence “a political failure.” Just as the state funds airports, roads and railways, it should have financed a functional charging network some time ago “to facilitate the breakthrough of e-mobility,” Fahrenholz says, adding that the industry’s sole task is to provide the technology. If Germany is to move forward on decarbonised mobility it must set up an extensive network of charging stations, especially in the inner cities, Fahrenholz writes.

Read the article in German here.

For background on the Energiewende and mobility, see the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.

WirtschaftsWoche / PwC

E-cars could overtake cars with conventional engines in market share by 2030, Angela Schmid writes for WirtschaftsWoche, referring to a study by consultancy PwC. “One in three new cars registered in Europe in 2030 could be an e-car,” she writes, compared to 28 percent for conventional vehicles. In a press release, PwC’s Felix Kunhert said that by 2030, “the majority of new cars will have combustion engines” but most them “will be in hybrid vehicles”. He added that government policy had an “enormous” influence on the development of e-mobility, citing free parking spaces in Norway and subsidies for decarbonised vehicles in China as examples for supportive measures.

Read the article in German here.

Read PwC’s press release in German here.

For more information on German carmakers’ efforts to shift to decarbonised mobility, see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

Ostsee Zeitung / Dow Jones Newswires

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany’s North-Eastern region of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania said the government’s stance on climate protection was “way too hesitant”, Dow Jones Newswire reports. “If we as a party want to be taken seriously as far as sustainable energy policy goes, we cannot postpone a coal exit in Germany until the day hell freezes over,” SPD-energy expert Rudolf Borchert told Dow Jones. Borchert said the decision to erase steps to give up coal from Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050 (following resistance from his fellow party member and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel), was a “fatal signal”. Borchert ’s regional SPD association has proposed a roadmap for ending coal-fired power generation nationwide by 2040, the article says. Borchert demands that its provisions are put into the federal SPD's campaign programme for the 2017 parliamentary elections.

For background read an overview of reactions to the Climate Action Plan compiled by CLEW.


As the first government to adopt a long-term, economy-wide strategy towards decarbonisation, the German leadership expects its Climate Action Plan 2050 to trigger innovation and boost economic development, writes Richard Black for businessGreen. Black’s assessment of Germany’s approach is largely positive. He says that while the plan “arguably lacks elements of accountability and sanction”, it pulls its strength from being built on consensus. “[It] does in principle engage all sectors all of the time. It sets expectations and builds partnerships capable of delivering them,” Black writes.

Read the article (behind paywall) in English here.

Also read the CLEW factsheets Reactions to Germany's Climate Action Plan 2050 and Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050.


In a short Q&A for Bloomberg, Weixin Zha explains Germany’s plans to split the common power price zone with its neighbour Austria in July 2018. Zha gives a brief overview of the reasons, motivations, possible consequences and issues surrounding Germany’s unilateral announcement in October.

Read the article in English here.

Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

The German and Moroccan governments together with the World Resources Institute (WRI) have initiated a partnership programme to help developing countries create and implement their national climate plans to meet commitments made in Paris last year. “Any delay in implementing the Paris Climate Agreement pushes up the costs. That’s why we need to act now and support developing and emerging countries with their national plans,” said German economic cooperation and development minister Gerd Müller, according to a press release. The federal German government will pay for the establishment of the partnership secretariat and plans to align a large part of its climate financing with the new programme. Founding members include more than 40 industrialised or developing countries, as well as international organisations.

Read the press release by BMZ in German here.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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