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23 Sep 2021, 13:42
Sören Amelang

Germany doubles spending on building renovations to 11.5 bln euros in emissions cuts bid

Clean Energy Wire

Germany will spend an additional 5.7 billion euros on making buildings more energy-efficient after emissions in the sector exceeded government targets last year. The sum agreed by ministers comes on top of another 5.8 billion euros allocated earlier this year, which was deemed insufficient by the government's Council of Experts on Climate Change, bringing the total for 2021 to 11.5 billion euros. Energy minister Peter Altmaier said the measures represented "record sums never seen before," adding it was "money well spent on climate protection and jobs." The money will support the exchange of windows, insulating exterior walls and roofs, and installing heat pumps, as well as other steps to ensure lower energy use. 

NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH) said the spending will do little to lower emissions, as the government should have refocused existing modernisation programmes and raised construction standards instead. "A huge opportunity was lost to bring the funding programmes in line with the climate protection goals – this must become a priority task for the new federal government," DUH said. Green Party energy policy spokesperson Julia Verlinden also said the outgoing government had prevented real emission cutting progress in the sector for years, and was now "desperately pouring billions" into a lost cause given that building standards are out of date.

The building sector exceeded its 2020 Climate Action Law budget of 118 million tonnes CO2 equivalent by 2 million tonnes. German homes are a big hurdle on the path to greenhouse gas neutrality as they are responsible for around one-third of the country’s emissions. Nearly two-thirds are still heated with fossil fuels and most of them also need to be modernised for lower energy demand. The government aims to have a 'nearly' climate-neutral building stock by 2050 after emissions in the sector have stagnated for nearly a decade.

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