Federal climate programmes lack measurable targets – govt auditors
Germany's funding programmes for environmental innovation and energy efficiency lack measurable targets that can quantify their effectiveness, the country's Court of Auditors (BRH) has said in its annual report. "We want the funding to reach its target and the funding programmes, which are all necessary to adapt to climate change, to achieve what the Bundestag has set," BRH President Kay Scheller told Tagesspiegel Background. The BRH claims that the environment ministry (BMU) has used the funding for project components other than innovation, and also criticised the economy ministry (BMWi) for spending more than 9.5 billion euros on reducing national energy consumption between 2015 and 2019. The BRH noted that additional costs were included for some programmes and not for others, making it unclear “what contribution the budget funds used in the promotional programmes make to the savings targets for energy and greenhouse gas emissions." The auditors are calling on the ministries to revise their funding guidelines; to set measurable targets for all projects they intend to fund in a given period, and to develop clear evaluation criteria for the funding decisions.
In the same report, the BRH noted that Germany’s transport ministry has misused 124 million euros of funding intended for rail transport in order to finance highways and airport investments instead. Though permissible under budgetary law, the spending was “counterproductive”, the BRH claims, because it runs “counter to the transport and climate protection goals originally intended by the federal government with the funding.” The BRH is calling on the transport ministry to critically review the funding requirements for subsidies before being budgeted and to adjust them if necessary.
Earlier this year, the independent Court of Auditors, which is charged with the external examination of the German budget, criticised the government for its “inadequate” management of the energy transition and called for a reform of Germany’s system of energy taxes and levies.