22 Jun 2021, 13:45
Edgar Meza

Environmental experts, industry reps call for more concrete policy in Climate Action Law

Clean Energy Wire

Leading experts and representatives from civil society, environmental NGOs and industry sharply criticized the planned amendment to the German federal Climate Action Law during a public hearing held on 21 June by the the Bundestag Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, according to the Bundestag press office. The experts took particular issue with the fact that the draft law, which is based on a recent decision by Germany's highest court, sets goals but leaves open the measures required to achieve them. Detlef Raphael of the Federal Organisation of Central Municipal Organisations demanded that the new targets be backed up with concrete measures, adding that compensation mechanisms are needed to support the equal development of regions. He also called for a rapid expansion of renewable energy sources and further development of the Building Energy Act. Joachim Weimann, from the Faculty of Economics at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, said the search for cost-effective climate policy solutions must take place across all sectors and all states. The Climate Action Law, however, enforces a sectoral and national avoidance strategy, thereby maximizing the burdens and making it diametrically opposed to the goals formulated in the Constitutional Court ruling, he says. The goals of the draft law fall short of the court-ordered requirements, argued Barbara Metz from the NGO Environmental Action Germany, which initiated two of the constitutional complaints. She called for immediate measures, such as a speed limit, a renovation push in the building sector and a consistent switch to reusable packaging. On the other hand, Holger Lösch of the Federation of German Industries said the amendment went far beyond what the court had demanded and that it neglected to assess the economic and social consequences of the tightened climate protection goals. Michael Vassiliadis, chair of the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union, argued that the draft law left important points open, such as the enormous sums that would have to be mobilized to promote necessary innovation. Political leaders must also prevent climate protection policy from becoming a question of social division, he added. The Environment Committee will issue its recommendation for a resolution on the amendment on 22 June. The Bundestag is expected to vote on the matter on 24 June.

The amendment to Germany's Climate Action Law follows a a landmark ruling by the German top court judging the country's key climate legislation to be insufficient.

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