05 Sep 2023, 12:07
Jennifer Collins

Germany's climate action 'insufficient' to meet targets – researchers

Clean Energy Wire

Germany's climate policy and action are "insufficient" to meet its national and international climate targets, according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) project. Divisions in the country's three-party coalition government are endangering emission reduction targets, the analysis by research organisations Climate Analytics and NewClimate Institute concluded. Recent government policies may have bent emissions projections downwards, but policy and action are not in line with the Paris Agreement’s aim to limit global temperature rise to 1.5-degree Celsius, according to the latest update. CAT tracks 39 countries plus the European Union covering around 85 percent of global emissions.

Germany is legally obliged to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 65 percent by the end of this decade, comapred to 1990 levels. There are yearly targets for each sector, including transport, industry, agriculture and buildings. A mechanism in the country’s climate law currently binds ministries to reduce emissions in their sectors. But controversial plans to replace it with the possibility for sectors to compensate for each other if the overall 2030 target is met "undermine the need" for action in all sectors, said CAT. The transport sector, for example, is one of Germany's "problem children", with emissions having barely budged in the last three decades. The transport ministry seems to have "no intention of implementing policies to initiate the sector's transition towards zero emissions," according to CAT. The report did highlight some positives though, including the removal of barriers to renewables expansion, a market-driven coal exit, and the introduction of the Germany-wide public transport ticket.

Setting Germany on a 1.5°C-compatible path was one of the major promises of the coalition government of Social Democrats (SPD), Green Party and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) that took over after Angela Merkel's long reign ended in December 2021. But divisions over climate policy, particularly between the FDP and Green Party, have hampered progress.

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