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01 Dec 2020, 14:13
Edgar Meza

German government must end its obstruction of European climate law – opinion

In an opinion piece in Frankfurter Rundschau, Green Party colleagues Lisa Badum, a member of the German parliament, and Michael Bloss, a member of the European Parliament, have called on the German government stop blocking passage of the European climate law and instead “implement it courageously”. Badum, a climate policy expert for the Green Party parliamentary group, and Bloss, a European climate law negotiator, write that despite the European Union’s aim to become climate neutral – a move they say will “revolutionise the entire economy” – the German government is ducking responsibility. “The fear of phasing out coal, expanding renewables and phasing out combustion-engine cars is becoming a burden on the climate for Europe.” The European climate law will bring about a reform of the European emissions trading system (ETS) next year and a reduction in CO2 certificates will lead to higher prices and make coal-fired power generation massively more expensive, the Greens point out. This in turn will accelerate a greater uptake of much cheaper solar and wind energy and boost Germany’s domestic industry - the renewables sector alone currently employs more than 300,000 people. “This is where our greatest potential lies,” they write.

 Renewables expansion in Germany collapsed in the first nine months of 2020, however. “This is not how we achieve our goals nor a climate-neutral economy.” Badum and Bloss take issue with German economy minister Peter Altmaier’s green electricity target of 65 percent by 2030. The goal should be at least 75 percent in order to speed up the increased use of heat pumps, e-cars and green hydrogen for industry, they add. While countries like France, the UK, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands and China already have fixed dates for a phase-out of combustion engines, Germany does not. While those countries and their economies are preparing for the transition, German transport minister Andreas Scheuer was calling for a combustion-engine car premium as recently as September, Badum and Bloss note.

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