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10 Aug 2021, 12:56
Kerstine Appunn

Lessons from IPCC report: end coal earlier, use climate action funds more efficiently – media commentaries

Clean Energy Wire

The world is heating up, but the German government is clinging to its coal phase-out date in 2038, writes Michael Bauchmüller in a commentary for Süddeutsche Zeitung. His comments came one day after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its latest urgent warning that rapid emission cuts are needed to keep the Paris Agreement limit of 1.5°C or 2°C warming within reach. The coalition of Social Democrats (SPD) and Conservatives (CDU-CSU) are shying away from resolving the big contradiction of increased climate action and sticking to the late end date for coal because they don’t want to alienate trade unions or break their promise to coal workers. “But anyone who takes the findings of the IPCC and their own climate targets seriously will correct the phase-out date quickly and in a socially acceptable manner - or risk all credibility in climate politics,” Bauchmüller writes.

The IPCC report presents the next German government with major challenges, writes Klaus Stratmann in an op-ed for Handelsblatt. “Politicians must now convince people to completely change course in all areas of life,” he says. The German way has long been to spend many billions on climate action without paying attention to the effects achieved, Stratmann writes, citing the “absurdly high subsidies for renewable energy technologies” as an example and saying that the government is about to repeat the same mistake with its support for electric mobility. “The motto ‘whatever the cost’ leads straight to disaster”, he says, arguing that the best measure is putting a CO2 price at the heart of all energy transition and climate change mitigation policies.

With the IPCC substantiating its warnings of global warming and finding “unequivocally” that it is caused by humankind, it becomes very clear that individuals are not going to be able to change much about it, but that countries can do so even more, writes Anna Sauerbrey in an op-ed for Tagesspiegel. Germany as a rich high-tech country is in a good position and its citizens are ready to change, but often feel powerless, she says. “It is also true that no one can stop the apocalypse at the [supermarket] cooling shelf alone.” Emission reductions are a political task, globally and nationally, she says. “The reconstruction of infrastructure (railway lines, charging stations, dams, cooling corridors for big cities etc), the setting of incentives, the forging of foreign policy alliances - all this is the task of the state, not the task of the individual.”

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