30 Nov 2021, 10:50
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann

Reactions to climate and energy plans of Germany's next government

The "traffic light coalition" consist of the SPD (red), the Green Party (green) and the FDP (yellow).
The "traffic light coalition" consist of the SPD (red), the Green Party (green) and the FDP (yellow).

The three "traffic light coalition" parties have agreed to form Germany's next government and tabled a coalition treaty that they promise will put the country on a path compatible with Paris Climate Agreement's target to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This article provides an overview of different stakeholders' reactions to the climate and energy aspects of the treaty by the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP).

UPDATE adds views of energy storage system association (BVES)

Read our main article on the coalition agreement here: New German government aims for coal exit in 2030 in bid to get on 1.5 degree path

Find a factsheet on the coalition's main climate and energy plans here: Future German government's key climate and energy plans in 2021 coalition treaty


Civil Society


"The coalition agreement formulates a signal of departure for climate protection: the 1.5 degree limit and the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court are to be the benchmark," says the NGO's Silvie Kreibiehl. Germanwatch said the following points are particularly positive: By 2030, the share of renewable energies in the electricity mix is to be doubled to 80 percent and the coal phase-out is to succeed through market instruments.  At the beginning of the 2030s, only CO2-neutral cars are to be sold in Germany. The plans presented by the EU Commission for the implementation of the European Green Deal are to be supported and the German Climate Protection Act is to be preserved. But the NGO added it remained unclear whether the coalition will agree on the necessary instruments to implement climate protection.


Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND):

"The traffic light coalition has agreed on an environmental policy coalition agreement that represents progress compared to all previous governments […] However, I doubt that the agreements reached will be enough to keep within the 1.5-degree limit. In this respect, we are critical of the measures in the transport sector, the gas infrastructure and the reduction of environmentally harmful subsidies," said the BUND's Olaf Bandt.


Environmental Action Germany (DUH):

"The car companies' handwriting cannot be overlooked in this [treaty]. Incredibly, the car-lobby policies of the [conservative] CSU will be continued without interruption. Germany will remain the country for speeding, ever bigger SUV-city tanks and state-sponsored climate killer company cars. Even the subsidising of diesel cars will stay in place, while the future emissions norm Euro 7 should not threaten ‘growth and jobs.’ No measures that will lover CO2 emissions in the next four years. No speed limit, no clear end to combustion engines – quite the contrary: eFeul cars should be allowed also after 2035. The section on transport clearly violates the constitutional court’s ruling that we helped to come about. That’s why we will uphold the lawsuit already pending (…) also for the traffic light coalition.” - DUH head Jürgen Resch



"The traffic light coalition is getting things moving after years of standstill in climate action in many important areas (...) But it doesn't dare to touch some key levers: a higher CO2 price, a true transport transition away from the car, a resolute reduction of climate-damaging subsidies. This does not look like a coalition for progress. The climate movement will have to keep pushing the coalition to truly make it a climate government." - acting Campact Germany head Christoph Bautz


Pro-Railway NGO Allianz pro Schiene:

"This is the first time a coalition clearly gives railways a priority over roads in transport sector investments (...) This fulfils a key demand of the sector." - NGO head Dirk Flege


Railway labour union EVG:

"Not too long ago there was speculation whether the [public railway operator] Deutsche Bahn will be split up - this is not included in the coalition treaty. We welcome that this crazy and damaging idea is off the table now. The EVG and railway workers have shown that this is a red line and apparently it worked (...) The promise to invest more in railway infrastructure is a positive one (...) But action must follow on words after decades of car-friendly transport policy." - EVG deputy head Martin Burkert


Transport and environmental association (VCD):

"The instruments on which the three parties have agreed on mobility hardly contribute to achieving the Paris climate goal. Without speed limits, without a clear end to new road construction and internal combustion engines, without absolute priority for the environmental network of trains, buses, bicycles and pedestrians, the transport transition will fail. The new transport minister must do more than just administer declarations of intent," said VCD head Stefan Bajohr. The association said it only saw rays of hope in the area of rail infrastructure and the reform of federal transport route planning and road traffic law.


Think Tanks

German Economic Institute (IW Köln):

"This coalition treaty puts an end to a phase of political standstill. It's a good thing the parties have realised that a significantly faster expansion of renewables is a key prerequisite for successful climate action in Germany (...) But the additional power needed, for example for the planned 15 million e-cars, needs to be clean and affordable in order to reach the 2030 climate targets. Abolishing the renewables levy by 2022 and the planned acceleration of planning and licensing procedures are important and adequate building blocks. Also, the power tax should be lowered. Climate action contracts should be made with energy intensive industries to make climate action technology 'Made in Germany' a business model."



"With this agreement, the 1.5 degree target is unlikely to be achieved. The traffic light (coalition) will urgently have to step up in order to actually put Germany on a path towards climate neutrality by 2045 at the latest. There is a lack of clear targets, e.g. for the coal and gas phase-out, and in many parts a well-founded catalogue of measures to achieve the climate targets," said E3G's Brick Medak. "The Fit for 55 package and the emergency climate protection programme announced for 2020 to achieve Germany's 2030 climate target are like communicating pipes. That is why the thin sentences on this in the coalition agreement are disappointing. The Fit for 55 package belongs at the top of the agenda of German climate and energy policy."


Green Budget Germany (FÖS)

“The coalition agreement makes us curious about what the next four years will bring, as it contains many good approaches for the socio-ecological transformation of Germany. However, the concrete tools and measures that the new government actually puts in place are crucial. Because the ones mentioned in the treaty are not sufficient for meeting the Paris climate goals. At the same time, the approaches outlined contain the potential for truly new things to be created and for a self-reinforcing dynamic to emerge in climate protection, social justice, innovation and sustainability.”



Utility RWE:

“In their coalition agreement, the SPD, Greens and FDP have set ambitious guidelines for future energy policy. The coal phase-out is to be accelerated and ideally completed by 2030. RWE has already emphasised that a faster phase-out is possible if a massive and accelerated expansion of renewable energies, grids and storage is successful, and a huge expansion of gas-fired power plants continues to guarantee security of supply. RWE expressly welcomes the fact that the coalition parties want the expansion targets for renewable energies to be increased significantly. It also rightly describes that a faster coal phase-out will result in a considerable additional need for flexible power plant capacity.”


Association of energy intensive businesses (VIK):

“We hope the new federal government will implement a balanced, industry-friendly climate and energy policy on the basis of the coalition agreement. The abolition of the EEG levy, the contracts for differences (CCfD), the commitment to reducing bureaucracy and the introduction of stress tests for security of supply are to be welcomes. However, the VIK sees a clear deficit in the fact that no set commitment is made to carbon capture technologies to reduce unavoidable process emissions. Germany is in danger of losing out on this as projects are currently being advanced in other European countries.”


German steel federation (WV Stahl):

"It is good that the traffic light parties have quickly agreed on the cornerstones of a joint government effort, giving the transformation of industry a central priority. If Germany wants to achieve the climate targets with a competitive industry, the new federal government must now ignite the transformation turbo. The steel industry in particular can achieve large amounts of CO2 savings at an early stage, make a decisive contribution to the desired hydrogen ramp-up and create the entry into green lead markets with climate-neutral steel", said association president Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff. "In order for the steel companies to be able to make the multi-billion investment decisions associated with the transformation, the coalition partners must now ensure an appropriate political framework in the first 100 days."


Association of municipal utilities VKU:

"The traffic light [coalition] sets the course for ambitious climate protection. That is a good thing. The new government wants to set the pace in the expansion of renewable energies, in the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy in all sectors and in energy market design. The heat supply is to be made climate-neutral quickly and open to new technologies - also with the help of hydrogen. New H2-ready gas power plants should guarantee security of supply. These are the right priorities; now concrete measures must be agreed quickly so that the necessary investments are secured," says association president Michael Ebling.


Mechanical Engineering Industry Association VDMA Power Systems:

"The challenges to achieve the CO2 reductions by 2030 and climate neutrality in 2045 are enormous. The coalition agreement sets many of the right priorities. What is important now is the consistent implementation of the measures,” said managing director Dennis Rendschmid.


German Solar Association (BSW Solar):

"The coalition treaty is a solid launch pad for the successful solarisation of Germany's energy supply (...) The coalition treaty contains the will to finally unleash solar energy. We hope that many market barriers will actually be removed quickly and create attractive investment conditions for solar PV, solarthermal energy and storage technologies. Citizens and companies are willing to invest and the solar industry is ready to act." - Carsten Körnig, BSW Solar head


German Wind Energy Association (BWE):

"The coalition treaty shows that the three parties are serious about addressing climate action and put a clear focus on renewable energies. We see that the time of standstill and stagnation is over and the new government is facing the challenges ahead (...) Now it will be about expanding wind power quickly. Many measures need to be implemented before the summer break for parliament next year." - BWE head Hermann Albers


Grid operator Tennet:

"The three coalition partners were able to find compromises for controversial issues in energy policy that have the potential to bring us on the path to climate neutrality by 2045. In order to make an earlier coal exit work in practice, the right provisions have to be made quickly: Not only renewables expansion needs to switch on its turbo boost, also the expansion and optimisation of the grid has to happen much faster. To that end we need leaner and modernised planning and licensing procedures (...) Another positive point is that the treaty contains concrete measures to ensure that additional offshore wind power can be integrated into the grid more quickly."


German Chamber of Engineers (BIngK):

"Given the major challenges regarding climate change, energy transition (...) there should have been more courage to attempt a restart (...) We're glad that there will be a ministry for construction in order to bundle and quickly address pressing issues." - BIngK president Heinrich Bökamp


German Biogas Association (Fachverband Biogas):

"Even if its only a short section [in the coalition treaty], we welcome the announcement by the traffic light coalition to give bioenergy in Germany a new future (...) Sustainable bioenergy has to play an important role as a solution for emissions reduction in all sectors (...) Biogas can help to store CO2 indefinitely along the entire production chain. " - Fachverband Biogas Berlin office head Sandra Rostek


eFuel Alliance:

"The coalition treaty falls short of providing for a fast and industrialised scaling-up of synthetic fuels, so-called eFuels. Even if undefined quotas for shipping and aviation are supported an state aid programmes for the launch of a hydrogen economy included, central questions regarding the upcoming Fit for 55 package [by the EU] are only vageuly answered in the treaty, are sometimes incomprehensible or incomplete." - eFuel alliance head Ralf Diemer


Mining, Chemistry and Energy Industry Association (IG BCE):

"The coalition agreement has what it takes to give the industrialised country the jolt it needs now," says IGBCE President Michael Vassiliadis."Only if we invest boldly now, modernise infrastructure and industrial sites and develop jobs, can the transformation be a real opportunity for good industrial work." The association calls for investments in alternative power sources to be made in current lignite mining regions. "The structural change in the coalfields will only be successful socially and economically if we replace good industrial work with good industrial work. There is too little sign of that so far."


German Farmers' Association (DBV):

“German agriculture is undergoing a profound and difficult transformation process. For these challenges, the coalition agreement takes up only part of the recommendations that all social groups have worked out together in the Commission on the Future of Agriculture. The transformation can only succeed if it is understood as a task for society as a whole and if it ensures economic sustainability,” DBV president Joachim Rukwied said.


German Energy Storage Systems Association (BVES):

"For almost 10 years, BVES has been calling for a reliable definition of energy storage. It's great that this has now finally been included, giving energy storage the legal basis on which further regulation can be built without duplicate taxes and levies, without complicated exemptions," said Urban Windelen, BVES Federal Managing Director. The EU's Internal Energy Market Directive sets the right direction in terms of content, the BVES writes. ""This appropriate position should now also be quickly followed by German law. Storage facilities can provide much needed flexibility for the energy system. However, they must also be allowed to do so via suitable framework conditions and not - as has been the case so far - be locked away in the wrong regulatory drawers."

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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