07 May 2021, 13:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Tracking climate and energy in Germany's election year

Germany's parliament, the Bundestag. Photo: Achim Melde / DBT
Germany's parliament, the Bundestag. Photo: Achim Melde / DBT

Germany is set to vote for a new government on 26 September. After 16 years at the helm of Europe's largest economy, Chancellor Angela Merkel will make room for a successor who will shape the country's energy and climate policy in the first half of a decade viewed as crucial for international emissions reduction efforts. With the COVID-19 pandemic still looming and Germany and the EU having decided to aim for climate neutrality by 2050, Clean Energy Wire traces the steps leading up to the election and will highlight developments in climate and energy policy by all major parties in this regularly updated news overview [UPDATES to 7 May].

7 May

Green chancellor candidate Baerbock envisions ‘transatlantic green deal,’ calls for halt to Nord Stream 2

The co-leader of the German Greens, Annalena Baerbock, emphasises possibilities for closer cooperation between Germany and the U.S. on issues including climate action at a virtual event of the Atlantic Council. Baerbock also calls for an end to the construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.


6 May

Climate protection cornerstone of govt coalition agreement in Baden-Württemberg

The Green Party and the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) conclude a new coalition agreement in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg following the 14 March elections there. Climate protection is one of the most important issues for the new government.


5 May

Germany to pull forward target date for climate neutrality to 2045

The German government agrees to aim for climate neutrality as early as 2045, pulling forward its previous target by five years as part of more ambitious plans to cut greenhouse gases. In a draft climate law reform, the government also plans to propose to reduce emissions by 65 percent by 2030 (from the current goal of 55%) and introduce a new target of an 88 percent reduction by 2040. The move follows a landmark climate ruling from Germany’s top court.


3 May

Court ruling puts spotlight on climate as German election campaign picks up speed

The landmark ruling from Germany’s top court catapults climate to the top of the political debate as government coalition partners shift into election campaign mode, blame each other for shortcomings of the country’s Climate Action Law and promise a first reform proposal quickly.

New German state governments agree to focus on climate 

The new coalition governments in the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg are set to commit to ambitious climate protection plans following the elections in March.


29 April

Landmark ruling from German top court: key climate legislation falls short

In an unexpected decision widely hailed as historic, Germany's highest court rules that the government's climate legislation is insufficient, lacking detail on emission reduction targets beyond 2030. The decision “significantly strengthens” climate action by ruling that if the government fails to protect the climate, it could violate citizens’ fundamental rights. It also puts climate at the centre of the election campaign.


26 April

German Greens want higher CO2 price and ramp-up of hydrogen production

The Greens want to restructure the electricity market to significantly expand the share of renewable energies, according to a position paper from the party’s parliamentary group.

CDU/CSU budget expert calls for higher CO₂ price to finance renewables levy

The vice chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group Andreas Jung launches a new climate programme for the party, Gerald Traufetter reports in Der Spiegel. In order for Germany to achieve the EU’s increased climate targets for 2030, Jung proposes to implement a higher CO₂ price, which is currently at 25 euros per tonne of CO2 and applies in the heating and transport sectors. The revenue should be used to finance the surcharge on renewable electricity, so as to “relieve citizens and the economy with a reduction in electricity prices,” Jung says.


22 April

SPD chancellor candidate Scholz wants EU-wide carbon price for heating and transport

The European Union should establish a new carbon trading system for transport and heating, says Olaf Scholz, German finance minister and lead candidate for the Social Democrats in the autumn general elections.

Next German government has to make climate action mainstream in politics – NGOs

The coming legislative period is decisive in implementing the sustainable transformation in all economic sectors, a group of German environmental NGOs says while presenting its demands for the next government.


20 April

Conservatives choose Laschet as chancellor candidate, signalling post-Merkel continuity

Germany’s Conservatives choose Armin Laschet as their leading candidate for the national election in September, signalling continuity with the era of Chancellor Angela Merkel and ending a days-long power struggle with top rival Bavarian state premier Markus Söder. Laschet, who governs Germany's most populous state, the traditional industry and coal mining heartland of North Rhine-Westphalia, is seen as a centrist likely to follow the moderate course of current chancellor Merkel. In the race against his main contender – newly-chosen Green Party candidate Annalena Baerbock – Laschet can point to his government experience. However, he is likely to face criticism for his somewhat ambiguous energy and climate policy record.


19 April

Greens name 40-year old Annalena Baerbock as candidate for German chancellor

The German Green Party unveils Annalena Baerbock as their candidate for chancellor, touted as the party's first ever serious contender to lead the government in Europe's largest economy. In her nomination speech as the only female candidate to succeed Angela Merkel, Baerbock says she wants to make climate action "the yardstick for all sectors" in order to fulfil the Paris Agreement. "Climate action is the task of our time, the task of my generation." The Greens' smooth and professional selection process stands in sharp contrast to the Conservatives' ongoing bitter power struggle over the candidacy to succeed Merkel after the September general elections.


14 April

Pro-business Free Democrats bet on emissions trading in election manifesto

Germany's pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) plans to enter the election campaign with a pledge to extend emissions trading as the main tool for fighting climate change. The party wants to "extend the EU emissions trading to all sectors and other geographic areas as quickly as possible" in order to protect the climate "in a market-based and scientifically secure manner," the party's draft manifesto says.


13 April

Conservative candidates put focus on climate as they enter open race for campaign top spot

CDU head Armin Laschet and his CSU counterpart Markus Söder enter an open power struggle to become the conservative alliance’s candidate in Germany’s chancellor race, both putting climate action at the top of their bids.

Departure of key conservative energy MP could give “new momentum” to renewables talks – SPD

The departure of a second MP from a key energy policy position in Germany’s government coalition negotiations could give “new momentum” to negotiations about renewables expansion, says Matthias Miersch, deputy head of the Social Democratic (SPD) parliamentary group.

German Left Party outflanks Greens on climate action - Tagesspiegel Background

The German Left Party (Die Linke) looks set to out-green the Green Party as it enters this year’s federal elections with what could be the most ambitious climate protection policies of any party in the Bundestag, Tagesspiegel Background reports.


9 April

“We need a Green Deal for Germany” – Bavarian CSU head Söder

Germany needs to do more on climate, Markus Söder, leader of the Bavarian conservative CSU and potential chancellor candidate in this year’s national election, tells Spiegel in an interview. “We need a Green Deal for Germany.”

Conservative politicians set up climate group, call for climate neutrality in 10-20 years

Parliamentarians and other politicians from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance (known as “Union”) form a climate group – the so-called “Climate Union” to push their parties to introduce policy in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5° target. The group is meant to create a network of climate-committed conservatives ahead of the September elections, to establish a majority within CDU and CSU for a resolute 1.5-degree climate policy to make Germany climate-neutral by 2040 at the very latest


7 April

Choice of candidates to kick off German chancellor race

German observers anxiously await ruling conservatives and the Greens to kick off the 2021 national election race in earnest by naming their respective leading candidates to take over the helm of Europe’s biggest economy in autumn. While the country has firmly set sails for climate neutrality by 2050, the camps’ choices could prove critical for the speed of the energy transition in this decade.


6 April

Greens and conservatives to form coalition to make Baden-Württemberg “climate action state”

The Green Party and the Christian Democrats (CDU) in the state of Baden-Württemberg decide to enter coalition negotiations with the goal to make the southern German region “an international benchmark as a climate action state”.


19 March

Lobbying scandal halts German renewables talks, shakes up election outlook

The lobbying scandal engulfing Angela Merkel's Conservatives derails important talks about Germany's plans for rolling out renewables. The affair also dampens the Conservatives' hopes of an unchallenged victory in September's general elections.


18 March

German Greens enter election campaign with climate investment plan

The German Greens propose a large public investment programme to support the transition to a climate-friendly economy and a phase-out of combustion engine car sales by 2030 in their draft election manifesto. Germany should invest an additional 50 billion euros per year, for example in "climate-neutral infrastructures, charging stations, railway expansion, emission-free buses and modern urban development," as well as fast internet connections, biotech and quantum computing, the draft says. "This is how the socio-ecological transformation succeeds, how we create sustainable prosperity and secure the competitiveness of our country."


16 March

Conservative MPs propose makeover of energy tax system based on CO2 price

A group of 29 MPs of Germany's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) has proposed a radical makeover of Germany's system of taxes, levies and surcharges on energy and base them on a high CO2 price aligned with international climate targets. In a paper titled "Policies for a green zero", the members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing party propose to do away with all existing subsidies for fossil fuels as well as with the renewables surcharge (EEG levy), the aviation levy and the vehicle tax by 2025, collectively amounting to 80 billion euros per year. Instead, they argue that Germany's carbon price that was introduced at the beginning of the year should rise more quickly than currently planned. On balance, this could even lead to "the greatest tax cut in years," the conservative MPs argued.


15 March

German state votes deal blow to CDU's post-Merkel hopes while Greens get boost

"Super election year" 2021 in Germany has been kicked off with a resounding defeat of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU in two state elections that saw the party incur historic losses. For the rivalling Green Party and the Social Democrats (SPD), the votes in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate have brought fresh hope that the conservatives' sway might fade away when popular long-time leader Merkel retires after the national elections in September. The Green Party was able to celebrate record win in wealthy state Baden-Württemberg. It also largely fended off competition from a new climate party launched only months earlier that has vowed to sting the Greens into demanding even more ambitious climate policy. Only losing a few percentage points to the 'Climate List' could hamper the Greens' prospects for forming a centre-left coalition that could bring the country its first Green chancellor.


9 March

Vote in German carmaker state foreshadows national election struggles amid CDU/CSU mask procurement affair 

The state election in Baden-Wurttemberg is likely to come down to a contest for leadership between the Green Party and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party. This race looks set to also dominate the national elections, with the difference will be that the Greens already govern in the state known for its strong automotive industry and which is anxious that the shift to electric cars could undermine its prosperity. The CDU's prospects for the vote in the state and in a parallel state election in smaller Rhineland-Palatinate are dimmed by an affair in the conservative over hygienic mask procurement deals in the state's COVID-19 response that MPs are said to have used for personal gain.


2 March

Germany's only Green state premier says conservatives copy his policies

The only state premier from the Green Party in Germany, Winfried Kretschmann from Baden-Wurttemberg, says the state's conservative CDU party has largely adopted his own party's stance on many environmental topics to lure away potential Green voters at the upcoming state elections on 14 March.  The 72-year old who governs the wealthy and highly industrialised state in the country's Southwest since 2011, said the CDU's pledges to reconcile climate action with economic growth are "purely Kretschmann."


1 March

German SPD’s climate-heavy election programme includes Autobahn speed limit

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) has compiled a first draft of its election programme that puts great emphasis on climate action as the "challenge of the century." In the draft seen by Clean Energy Wire, the SPD says it will support controversial climate action measures like a general speed limit on German motorways, an idea that has so far been considered a no-go for most politicians and was mainly propagated by the Green Party. "We will introduce a speed limit of 130 kilometres per hour on the Autobahn. This protects the environment and greatly reduces the number of accidents," the smaller coalition partner in Germany's government together with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU alliance writes.


NGO alliance calls for exiting all fossil fuels by early 2040s ahead of German elections

Germany must phase out coal by 2030, oil and fossil gas by the early 2040s and base its energy system on renewables, NGO network Climate-Alliance Germany has said. In a paper spelling out the network members’ demands seven months ahead of the national elections, the group also called on the next government to expand the share of renewables to 75 percent of total power consumption by the end of the decade.


17 February

Young German conservative politicians want to improve party’s climate image

Young politicians in chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) want to improve the party's image as a driver of climate action. Christoph Ploß, CDU leader in the state of Hamburg and the party’s youngest regional party association leader at 35-years old, wants to make climate protection a "trademark" of the CDU. Tilman Kuban, head of the party's youth group Junge Union, said Germany has to "show other countries that you can earn money with climate protection."

Debate on scrapping renewables levy gathers pace in Merkel's party

Plans to scrap Germany's renewables levy are maturing within Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), with a new proposal suggesting investors should finance the country's renewables roll-out instead of consumers. The head of the party's state association in Hamburg , Christoph Ploß, and former solar battery start-up sonnen CEO, Philipp Schröder, argue the roll-out should be considered an infrastructure investment that can be financed with earmarked green bonds.


11 February

Germany needs higher CO2 price and new climate adaptation strategy – CSU leader

Germany needs more consistent and ambitious climate policies, including a higher CO2 price, the leader of the conservative CSU party Markus Söder said. Söder, who is also state premier of Bavaria, said alongside the corona crisis, tackling climate change is a main priority. "We need to talk differently about climate change and act more decisively," he said. The CSU politician, who is a possible candidate to succeed fellow conservative Angela Merkel (CDU) as chancellor, said he was open to a coalition between the CDU/CSU and the Green Party following this year’s federal elections.


8 February

Left Party makes climate key area in draft elecion programme

The German Left Party (Die Linke) makes climate protection a key topic of its federal election campaign, presenting a draft election programme titled "For social security, peace and climate justice” The party under its leaders Bernd Riexinger and Katja Kipping is the first to present a programme in the federal election year and has announced the goal of reaching a zero-emissions economy by 2040.


German Social Democrats put sustainability at heart of election campaign

The German Social Democrats (SPD) want to put sustainable restructuring of the economy and society at the heart of their federal election campaign, the party announced during a two-day party meeting on 7 and 8 February in Berlin. SPD candidate for chancellor and federal finance minister Olaf Scholz promised greater efforts to tackle climate change as well as comprehensive, nationwide digitalisation. "If we want to have a CO2-neutral economy in 2050, that requires the greatest technological revolution, the greatest period of innovation in our country that has been seen in a long time," Scholz said.

18 January

Armin Laschet has been elected the new leader of the CDU

Armin Laschet has been elected the new leader of Germany's largest party, the Christian Democrats (CDU) and could be elected chancellor candidate by the CDU for the 2021 federal elections. The current premier of Germany's federal state North Rhine-Westphalia is seen as a loyalist to Angela Merkel and stands for continuity with the parting long-term leader's centrist course, which could become difficult to maintain in a party struggling to assert its conservative identity. Even though he has been an ardent supporter of Germany's planned transition to a hydrogen-based economy, Laschet's reputation in climate policy is dominated by his pro-industry positioning in the country's coal exit negotiations and his government's heavy-handed handling of protests against a new lignite mine.

11 January

Greens hope to win chancellorship in upcoming elections

Despite coming second way behind chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU coalition in current polls, Germany’ Greens have a chance of becoming the strongest party and winning the chancellorship in this year's general election, says Anton Hofreiter, head of the Greens’ parliamentary group. Merkel’ popularity and the coronavirus crisis are helping the CDU/CSU in the polls for now, but Merkel won’t be running in the September elections and this means there will be “an open race to see who has the best answers for the future of our country,” Hofreiter said.

CDU leadership candidates' debate leaves climate activists disappointed

One week ahead of a crucial vote on a new party leader by Germany's governing Christian Democrats (CDU), the last public debate between the three candidates vying for the conservative top seat has left climate activists disappointed. "None of the candidates proved to have a noteworthy concept for mastering the climate crisis," activist and renewables researcher Volker Quaschning said, adding that candidate Norbert Röttgen, head of parliament's foreign affairs committee, has at least signalled his readiness to step up the emissions reduction efforts. Economist Claudia Kemfert described Merz as the "worst choice" from a climate policy perspective.

Left Party leaders bet on fair and climate-friendly recovery in campaign year kick-off

The leaders of the Left Party have called for a socially fair and climate-friendly coronavirus recovery as the centrepiece of the German government’s policy in election year 2021. In a paper released to kick-off the year, the party says 2021 must become “the year of change.”  “In the next 15 years, we must achieve the transformation to a CO2-free, energy- and resource-saving economy and infrastructure in order to reach the 1.5 degrees Celsius target,” says the paper. It proposes a “Left Green New Deal,” including a mobility transition with a stronger focus on public transport and an annual 20-billion-euro fund to help the transition in industry, “especially in the car supply sector.” The Left Party also calls for CO₂-neutral industry production by 2035.


8 January

Bavaria's CSU calls for doubling down on climate action despite pandemic

The CSU – Bavarian sister party to chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU – is calling for more ambitious climate action, even in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. In party meeting resolutions, it advocated for a raise of the national CO2 reduction target of 55 percent to 60 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. CSU leader Söder started started to present himself as a progressive climate leader, openly courting the Green Party for a possible coalition in the next government after the parliamentary elections in Sepetember. According to polls in early 2021, most people in Germany consider Söder to be the best fit for following Merkel as chancellor from the conservative camp after she leaves office in autumn.
The much larger CDU will chose on a new leader at a party convention starting on 15 January.


14 December

Most Germans say climate policy could be decisive issue in 2021 elections – survey

Climate policy could be a decisive issue for the vast majority of voters in Germany's parliamentary elections in 2021, a representative survey conducted by pollster YouGov for solar power industry lobby group BSW Solar has shown. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents said climate policy could be important (32%) or very important (41%) when deciding who to vote for. The most important climate action measure respondents cited was expanding renewable energy production, BSW Solar said.


9 December

All German parties should make climate 'central pillar' of election programmes – govt advisors

German government advisors have launched an urgent call on the country's political parties to make climate action a central topic in their programmes for next year's general elections. The Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) said the legislative period following the elections in autumn 2021 "offers the last realistic opportunity to set the course for achieving the sustainability goals for 2030 and the climate goals for 2030 and 2050.”


2 December

Disgruntled Green Party members in Hesse consider joining new 'Climate list' party

Members of the regional Green Party in central German state Hesse have said they might leave the party and join a new “climate list” due to the regional party leadership’s stance towards the building of a controversial new motorwayproject A49 that cuts through the Dannenröder Forest north of Frankfurt. Many in the party's rank and file are unhappy and disappointed with Green economy and transport minister Tarek Al-Wazir, who insists that his hands are tied regarding the decision whether the A49 motorway should be built.


30 November

Bavaria's state premier says Conservative-Green coalition is many Germans' favoured option

Markus Söder, Bavaria's state premier and head of the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU, has said that climate policy will be the economic growth engine of the next years, Thomas Vitzthum writes in Die Welt. At a digital convention of the CDU/CSU alliance's youth organisation JU, Söder said an economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic would have to be next year's political priority, arguing that "many people in the country feel that a coalition between the Conservatives and the Green Party is the right model for Germany”, adding that most would want it to be led by a conservative chancellor.


23 November

German Greens vow to speed up low-carbon transition

Germany's Greens have backed a more ambitious climate target in a bid to defuse growing tensions with more radical activists. At a virtual convention designed to showcase the party's ability to govern Europe's largest economy less than a year before general elections, delegates agreed to the target of getting "on the path" to limiting the rise of global temperatures to 1.5 degrees.


20 November

German Greens call on climate activists for unity in election goals

Leading members of Germany's Green Party have called on climate activists b to cooperate in the country's general elections next year. They warn that more radical climate platforms competing in elections could harm the fight against climate change, as they could drain votes from the party that stands a good chance to become part of the next German federal government. 


31 October

CDU to elect new leader in mid-January

The governing Christian Democratic Party (CDU) has decided to hold a party convention in mid-January next year after it had to cancel a planned event in December due to tightened coronavirus restrictions in Germany, public broadcaster ARD reports. The party convention will be used to elect a new leader for Chancellor Angela Merkel's party. Whoever is elected  could likely also become her successor at the head of Germany's government after Merkel steps down in autumn 2021.


28 October

SPD position paper calls for EU carbon tax and tighter climate targets

Germany's smaller government coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), has called for the introduction of a European carbon border tax and a tighter EU emissions reduction target, news website Euractiv reports, citing a new party position paper. European emissions should be reduced by at least 55 percent by 2030 and a CO2 limit tax introduced if international climate talks do not produce satisfactory results fast enough, according to the SPD. A carbon border tax is currently being debated in the EU trilogue as part of its budget negotiations. The SPD says "a proactive European sovereign is essential" in order to make progress on global challenges such as climate change, migration and digitalisation and call for transforming the European Investment Bank (EIB) into a "climate bank" to fund climate-friendly projects in the context of the European Green Deal. 


26 October

Merkel's CDU cancels party convention, leader vote due to coronavirus resurgence

A rapid resurgence of coronavirus infection numbers across Germany has led Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to call off a party convention scheduled for 4 December to elect a new party leader. The event, meant to bring together about 1,000 delegates of Germany's largest party in Stuttgart to make a choice between the three top candidates, Armin Laschet, Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen, will be postponed. The CDU is expected to decide on a new course of action on 14 December, Reuters reports, citing party secretary Paul Ziemiak. The party convention that is supposed to find a successor for current leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and a possible CDU chancellor candidate initially had been scheduled for April 2020 but also had to be called off at the time due to the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year.


17 October

Leadership candidates of Germany's CDU all call for rigorous climate action

The three candidates for leadership of Germany's largest party, the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of Chancellor Angela Merkel, have all signalled that they consider climate action and sustainability to be defining political challenges for the country in the next decade. At a debate event organised by the CDU's youth organisation Junge Union, the candidates Armin Laschet, Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen, gave a "pitch" to the party youth to help CDU delegates pick their favourite candidate.


16 October

German Greens plan clear focus on e-mobility to lower transport emissions

The German Greens have proposes a future transport policy that puts a clear focus on electric mobility and restricts the use of hydrogen on the road to heavy-duty trucks. A party resolution also called for increasing the share of renewable energies in transport "to 30 percent in 2030 and to 100 percent well before 2050.”


5 October

Greens call for halt of new highway construction

The Green Party is calling for a radical rethink of transport policy by putting a moratorium on the construction of new motorways and state roads. "The plans for autobahns and federal highways must be fundamentally reviewed for compliance with climate goals," says Anton Hofreiter, head of the party's parliamentary group.


1 October

Activists aim to unite small parties under one climate roof to gain seats in next German parliament

Climate activists want to get small and niche parties to unite as one political party to overcome the five percent threshold to gain seats in parliament after the 2021 national election. “There is no party in the German Bundestag that stands up for socially just climate action and the 1.5 degree Celsius target,” says Bianca Praetorius, co-founder of the initiative United4Bundestag.


30 October

Merkel wants to rally EU member states behind 55% climate target

Chancellor Angela Merkel has thrown her weight behind the European Commission’s proposal to increase the bloc’s climate target to a 55 percent greenhouse gas reduction by 2030. Speaking in federal parliament, she said the country's current EU Council presidency would work towards achieving a unanimous decision by all EU member states by the end of the year.


28 September

Green party wins several big city mayor posts in Germany’s most populous state

The Green party crowns a recent surge in local elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous federal state, with wins in mayoral run-offs in several big cities, including Bonn, the seat of the UN’s climate body, the UNFCCC. The results highlighted the party’s strength as Germany is heading into a federal election year.


25 September

Fridays for Future movement gears up for German election year with protest

With numerous protests across Germany, the Fridays for Future youth movement has taken aim at pushing climate action to the very top of the political agenda in the run-up to the country's general elections next year. The activists don't want to side with any party and instead plan to put pressure on politicians across the spectrum to act according to the Paris Agreement, a spokesperson told Clean Energy Wire. But some of the movement's prominent members are running for a seat in parliament as members of the Green Party, leading to splits in the movement.


17 September

Germany's right-wing AfD calls for end to all climate action efforts

The right-wing nationalist AfD party has called for an end to all major climate action efforts Germany has committed itself to and wants to abandon both the Paris Climate Agreement and the European Green Deal. One year before the general election in autumn 2021, the party that holds 12.6 percent of the seats in the German Bundestag thereby firmly positions itself as the only one in parliament that is openly opposed to emissions reduction efforts.


14 September

CDU wins local elections in North Rhine-Westphalia as Greens surge on climate concerns

The conservative CDU has emerged as the strongest party in municipal elections in Germany's most populous federal state, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), public broadcaster WDR reports. With 35.2 percent of the votes, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premier Armin Laschet lost 3.2 percent compared to the previous election and achieved its worst ever result in municipal elections in the state but still secured the first place by a wide margin.


11 September

German economy minister calls for 'historic' consensus on climate neutrality

One year before Germany's next general election, economy minister Peter Altmaier calls for a "historic consensus" between all democratic parties, businesses and civil society to ensure that climate action and the decarbonisation of the economy do not become pawns in election campaigns. The conservative politician called rapid and determined measures to curb global warming "the key task of our generation" and warned that especially young people could become alienated from politics if lawmakers failed to act on their concerns about climate change.

Altmaier's ideas were received with surprise and suspicion by energy and climate stakeholder groups in the country.


7 September

Germany’s CO2 pricing part of 'irreversible' path – SPD chancellor candidate Scholz

Germany’s achievements in the field of climate and energy policy mustn’t mean that the country becomes complacent now, Olaf Scholz, finance minister and the Social Democrat’s candidate for chancellor in the 2021 elections has said.


28 August

Must accelerate climate action over coming years – Merkel

Germany has made decisive steps in regards to the climate challenge in past years, but efforts have to increase, Chancellor Angela Merkel told journalists during her annual press conference in Berlin. “For very real reasons, we will accelerate rather than slow down our efforts here in the coming years, because we can see that when climate change threatens our livelihoods, but even more so the livelihoods in Africa - it has something to do with flight and migration,” the chancellor said.


25 August

Splits as Fridays for Future activists run for parliament

Several members of Fridays for Future (FfF) Germany have declared their intention to run for federal parliament, exposing divisions within the non-partisan climate movement, taz reports. Jakob Blasel, one of the organisation’s spokespeople, and Urs Liebau, an activist, both said they would run on a Green Party ticket in federal elections next year.


24 August

Conservative climate MPs call for “bold” renewables reform

Parliamentarians from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance are calling for a “bold” reform of renewables laws and regulation to ensure the success of the energy transition and climate action. In a paper entitled “Impulses for the EEG reform” (EEG = Renewable Energy Act), the Conservative’s “climate group” says that the continued operation of old solar panels and wind turbines which will stop receiving fixed feed-in tariffs after a 20-year period is a particular challenge.


11 August

Chancellor candidate Scholz says rapid transformation towards sustainability is key election topic

The German Social Democrats (SPD) will make the transformation towards a more sustainable economy a key topic of their campaign for the 2021 general elections, the SPD's freshly nominated candidate for chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has said. Halting human-made climate change would be an "indispensable task that has to be resolved at a high pace”, Scholz said The current finance minister and vice chancellor stressed that Germany's strong industrial basis is and remains to be an asset that the country has to protect.


10 August

SPD nomination of finance minister Scholz as chancellor candidate kicks off Germany's election year

Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) have nominated current finance minister Olaf Scholz as the party's candidate for chancellor. This marks the first major move from one of the country's larger parties in preparation for the parliamentary election in autumn 2021.



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