SPD shuns coal exit commitment, points at other sectors for decarbonisation
Germany’s environment minister Barbara Hendricks has shunned calls for making a clear commitment to initialising the country’s exit from coal-fired power production. At a press conference by government members of her Social Democratic Party (SPD), Hendricks said it was “too easy” to look only at the power sector when it comes to fulfilling Germany’s emissions reduction goals. While it had always been her party’s aim to “correct” shortcomings in German climate policy to make sure 2020 aims are still going to be reached, it was “pointless to focus on closing another coal-fired power plant.” Germany had made significant progress in curbing emissions in the power sector while the “true laggards” in CO2 reduction could be found in the agricultural and transport sector, for which responsibility rests with the conservative (CDU/CSU)-led ministries, she said.
The Green Party, on which the SPD pins its hopes for forming a new coalition government after September’s elections, has made a coal exit by 2030 and immediately shutting down Germany’s 20 most polluting coal plants a priority in its election programme. In its own election programme, the SPD says it was going to focus on managing structural economic change in coal mining regions, introduce a national climate protection law that includes ending fossil energy subsidies and advocate for a European CO2 price, should its projected attempt to reform the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) bear no satisfying results.
For background, see the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?