07 Apr 2021, 12:54
Julian Wettengel

Outgoing German govt’s climate and energy policy lacked master plan – legal expert

Tagesspiegel Background

Germany’s outgoing government of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) has failed to develop and implement a masterplan for climate and energy policy, Thorsten Müller, chairman of the environmental law foundation Stiftung Umweltenergierecht told Tagesspiegel Background in an interview. Instead, the legislative period was largely marked by quick fixes within the existing legal structures. “However, a planned transformation of the legal norms would be exactly what we need. We cannot remain permanently in the structures of yesterday,” said Müller. He added that the government had not put a big focus on climate policy until droughts and the Fridays for Future protests pushed the cabinet to act. The then-introduced climate action law was focused too much on mid-term goals for 2030 and its climate expert council is too weak, he said. The coal phase-out law turned out not ambitious enough due to the late exit date of 2038, but the market will ensure an earlier exit, Müller said.

Pushed by heat waves and droughts in 2018 and 2019, as well as the Fridays for Future student climate protests, then newly elected grand coalition government had installed a so-called climate cabinet to work out crucial legislation. The cabinet presented a package in September 2019, which included the decision for a climate action law, the implementation of the coal exit and a CO2 price in transport and heating.

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