06 May 2021, 13:07
Julian Wettengel

German govt must propose ways to reach new climate targets – media commentaries

Zeit Online / SZ / General-Anzeiger

German media commentaries largely welcome the government’s agreement to increase the country’s climate targets, but caution that the goals must now be underpinned with proposals on how to get there. “Beautiful targets, but no pathways to get there - that's not going to work,” writes Michael Bauchmüller in Süddeutsche Zeitung. He adds that putting words into practice “will be a tour de force the likes of which the country has rarely experienced.” He lays out how, for months, expert politicians in the government coalition have been fighting over the future expansion of renewables without finding an agreement. Raising carbon prices is another bone of contention between conservatives and Social Democrats, he writes. The main aim for now seems to be to “get the [conservative] union and the SPD through the election with the nice new goals,” he adds. However, any new government will have to ensure the new targets are met, otherwise it risks its credibility.

In the end, a climate law is only as good as its implementing provisions, writes Petra Pinzler for Zeit Online. “And it is precisely these that are still missing.” While the recent days’ developments mean that German politicians no longer need to quarrel about whether as much CO2 emissions as possible must be cut as fast as possible, Pinzler hopes for a “spirited debate” over who has the best ideas for the environmentally friendly transformation of the country.

The government coalition partners CDU and SPD “demonstrate their programmatic void” with the “sudden hectic” approach to setting new climate targets, writes the General-Anzeiger. “Both mainstream parties have overslept the issue, although it is currently one of very few that have survived the pandemic,” the newspaper writes. As the Constitutional Court has given time until 2022 to come up with a solution, the government should use this time to deal with the “complex issue with significant consequential effects.” “The consequences of far-reaching interventions must be well weighed. It is about jobs, about rents and about the way we all live. It is about a fair distribution of burdens.”

The German government has agreed to aim for climate neutrality as early as 2045, pulling forward its previous target by five years as part of more ambitious plans to cut greenhouse gases. In a reform plan to be presented next week, the government will also propose to reduce emissions by 65 percent by 2030 (from the current goal of 55%) and introduce a new target of an 88 percent reduction by 2040. The move followed a landmark climate ruling from Germany’s top court, which had catapulted the issue to the top of the political debate as the government coalition partners shifted into election campaign mode.

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