19 Apr 2023, 13:27
Sören Amelang

Germany lacks overview of costs and success of climate spending – federal auditors

Clean Energy Wire

Germany is spending billions on becoming climate neutral by 2045 but has no idea whether this money is well spent, according to the country’s Federal Court of Auditors (Bundesrechnungshof). “The German government is investing billions in climate protection, but does not know how successful its investments are and whether they are worthwhile,” the financial authority said. It was often unclear what share of the items in the federal budget was used for climate action, it said in a report. “To achieve climate neutrality, the federal government needs a three-digit billion sum by 2030 alone. In order to ensure that these funds are used effectively and economically, the German government must better manage its climate protection policy.”

The auditors criticised that current government reporting is unsuitable to ensure effective spending. “The federal government needs a precise and comprehensive picture of the effects of its political actions on climate protection, also in order to be able to identify conflicting goals in good time and to take corrective action.” The experts called for an assessment of expenditures and revenues to see whether they are climate-friendly, climate neutral, or climate damaging, as well as a summary in a “climate budget”. The auditors said the government should, for each of its measures, specify the greenhouse gas reduction and funding requirements in its annual climate protection report, which tracks emission reduction efforts in the various sectors. “The federal government must know at all times what climate protection costs the state, and whether it is effective,” the court concluded.

Last year, the auditors also criticised that the previous government’s climate action lacked a targeted approach. "The government finally needs a clear view of Germany's path to climate neutrality," the court’s president Kay Scheller told Süddeutsche Zeitung. "Parliament and the general public need to know what the state is spending on climate protection and what this money is achieving," he added.

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