02 Jul 2019, 13:39
Freja Eriksen Julian Wettengel

“Red-Green-Red” state coalition in Bremen wants to declare “climate emergency”

Clean Energy Wire

The likely next government coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and the Left Party in Germany’s smallest state Bremen wants to declare a “climate emergency” to clearly communicate the urgency of the issue and decide effective climate action measures. The city state of Bremen would become the first federal state with such a declaration, following a string of German cities that have declared an emergency since Constance went ahead in May. In their draft coalition treaty, which has yet to be approved by the parties, the partners also say they aim to reduce Bremen’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and make the state climate neutral “as soon as possible”. The coalition wants Bremen to phase out coal for electricity production by 2023 (in 2016 – the latest data available – almost 60 percent of Bremen’s power was still produced from coal). “To this end, we are initiating a process in Bremen together with the operators, employees, worker’s councils and trade unions of the coal-fired power plants and associations,” says the draft treaty. The agreement also presents ambitions to expand wind power generation, support climate-friendly steel production and the development of technologies such as power-to-x, while installing photovoltaic solar panels on all suitable public roofs. The parties promise to make climate protection efforts “an integral part of all policy areas” of the state. Newspaper Die Welt reports that it is not yet clear how the proposals in the coalition treaty will be financed and the budget negotiations will follow.
In an opinion piece in Süddeutsche Zeitung, Ferdos Forudastan writes that Bremen’s new government will have the chance to try on a small scale what Germany has to do as a whole: the ecologic transformation of the industrial society. While much of state policy depends on national decisions, the government’s “scope is large enough to take climate action more seriously than before and to link it more closely to the social issue than in the past, writes Forudastan.

The coalition would be the first “red-green-red” government – named for the parties’ colours - in a western German state. The SPD dropped to second place for the first time in more than 70 years in the elections in Bremen, Germany’s smallest and least populous state, with the conservative CDU coming in as the strongest party. The Green Party had decided to enter coalition talks with the Social Democrats and the Left Party, not with the CDU. Bremen boasts the highest concentration of wind turbines of all states and is home to more than 100 wind power companies, but it is still heavily dependent on fossil energy. With the Climate Protection and Energy Act, the state enshrined its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 into law. Bremen is responsible for about 1.5 percent of Germany’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

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