15 Dec 2020, 14:12
Benjamin Wehrmann

New EU climate target means Germany has to boost renewables expansion - economy minister

Handelsblatt / Clean Energy Wire

The agreement on a tighter European climate target for 2030 by the EU Council will compel Germany to set itself more ambitious renewable power expansion targets and also adjust its emissions reduction ambition in other sectors of the economy, economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier said at a recent meeting of the EU member states’ energy ministers, Handelsblatt reports. "Clear long-term targets give us the unique opportunity to advance climate protection and economic growth at once and thereby reconcile the pair," Altmaier said. Besides more renewable power sources, this would also mean greater energy efficiency across the board as well as a better integration of European energy systems, he added. EU leaders last week agreed to increase the 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target from 40 to 55 percent compared to 1990 levels.
Environment minister Svenja Schulze echoed her government colleague's conclusions that the EU agreement will mean Germany has to further intensify its efforts. "Germany, too, will have to contribute more to climate action than the 55 percent CO2 reduction that has been agreed so far," she told journalists in Berlin. However, she said tighter national targets might not be all that necessary, as joint Europe-wide efforts - such as through the emissions trading system ETS, improving energy efficiency of buildings and tighter emissions standards for cars - have direct effect in the member states. "I think it is unlikely that [climate action] implementation will again be organised by agreeing new national targets within the framework of so-called effort sharing."

The EU member state leaders' decision to increase the bloc’s 2030 climate target has largely been welcomed as a crucial step to put Europe on a credible path towards climate neutrality by 2050. Depending on how the EU chooses to reach it, the impact on member states will vary widely. Commentators have pointed out that reaching an agreement on paper might have been the easy part and warn that many conflicts lurk in how the EU decides to implement the target.

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