18 Feb 2019, 13:50
Benjamin Wehrmann

Postponement of buildings commission irks German real estate industry

Clean Energy Wire / dpa / Handelsblatt

The German government has put back plans to set up a commission tasked with negotiating possible measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector, the news  agency dpa reports in an article carried by Handelsblatt. Germany’s interior ministry (BMI), which is in charge of construction policy and the building sector, would “neither confirm nor deny the report” upon request by Clean Energy Wire. According to dpa, the government said it would not appoint the commission consisting of external experts as it had “enough experts to deal with this issue on its own.”

Andreas Mattner, head of the German real estate federation ZIA, harshly criticised the decision. “If there is no buildings commission, this would mean that no experts from the industry are present in the negotiations,” Mattner said in a press release, adding that this would only add to the uncertainty of everyone involved. “If we want to meet the climate targets in the buildings sector, we need useful measures that industry can cope with. This can only happen through dialogue,” he said. “This is not responsible policymaking,” Mattner added. The deputy managing director at the powerful industry association BDI, Holger Lösch, was quoted by climate news site as saying that the government still had the responsibility to come up with a plan for a much faster renovation of buildings if it took its own climate targets seriously.

The government had initially planned to set up the commission alongside similar bodies in charge of developing proposals for an exit from coal-fired power generation and for climate-friendly mobility in order to meet the country's 2030 climate goals. Experts have long warned that Germany needs to renovate its building stock much faster than it currently does to run a chance of cutting energy use for heating.

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