16 Sep 2021, 13:16
Kerstine Appunn

EU climate policy not featuring enough in Germany’s election campaign – NGOs

Clean Energy Wire / Süddeutsche Zeitung

While climate policy is one of the top issues in the September federal election campaign, climate and energy policy on a European level hardly features at all, several NGOs have pointed out. "Whoever wants to become chancellor of the largest industrial country in Europe and the fourth largest economy in the world must answer the question: Is Germany putting the brakes on climate and nature protection within the EU or is it finally becoming a driver for the Green Deal?," said Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) president Jörg-Andreas Krüger in a press release. Christoph Bals from NGO Germanwatch said: “All parties are now looking at Germany in particular before the elections. But the action in climate protection is primarily at the EU level.” The next government must support the bloc’s Fit for 55 package of legislation to reach the 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target and help ensure the implementation of key measures before the end of next year, he said.  

When it comes to climate and energy policy, many decisions – e.g. on emission reductions in the power and industry sectors via the European Emission Trading System (EU ETS), targets for cleaner cars, the expansion of renewables and energy efficiency – are taken in Brussels. But it is always down to the member state governments to agree to these targets. Angela Merkel has used her influence in the past to get other countries on board for stricter climate policies – or to protect the German automobile industry’s interests by opposing stricter policies. But depending on the coalition that would be formed after the elections, agreeing a common German position could be tricky, writes Michael Bauchmüller in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. In a letter addressed to the chancellor candidates, nine environmental organisations warn that “the transformation to a climate-neutral Germany can only succeed through European solidarity."

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