03 Dec 2014 | Sven Egenter

Views and comments on Germany's Climate Action Programme

The German government has approved a package of measures to achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990. The following collection provides a snapshot of comments and reactions.

 

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks

"This is the largest package of measures that any German government has ever presented on climate action," said Hendricks. "We show that we not only set goals, we also stick to them. This is an important trust-building signal for the climate conference in Lima."

 

Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel

"We systemize the Energiewende and make it planable and comprehensible," said Gabriel.

"There is need for action in particular in the areas of energy efficiency and climate action," he said. "That is where we start with our national action plan for energy efficiency, making energy efficiency the second pillar of the Energiewende."

 

German Association of Local Utilities (VKU)

“The VKU is calling for further political decisions to make the energy market fit for the future,” the association said in a press release.

“We are asking for a quick change to the law on power-to-heat and the increased use of storage,” said VKU-head Hans-Joachim Reck in a statement. “The reduction target of 22 million tonnes of CO2 (in the power sector) has been listed without providing details on how this should happen. The implementation should ensure that companies with a small portfolio of power plants and power-to-heat will not face additional burdens.”

 

German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW)

“The key energy policy challenges of an effective CO2 reduction in Europe and a reliable perspective for the necessary investments in a modern fleet of power plants remain unsolved,” said BDEW-chairwoman Hildegard Müller in a written statement.

“The dialogue about further measures to reduce CO2 emissions in the energy sector must occur in conjunction with the discussions about perspectives for the power market,” she said. “The companies need clarity about the long-term framework for the German power fleet.”

“The government makes an attempt in its report (on the progress of the Energiewende), to structure the many goals of the Energiewende anew. It clearly defines political goals: reduction of CO2, supply security, competitiveness and the nuclear phase-out.”

“We support this clear prioritisation of goals. It must be a starting point for an intensive debate about the future direction of energy policy in Germany,” Müller said.

 

Claudia Kemfert, German Institute for Economic Research (DIW)

 "It is an important step to reach the climate goals in the first place. It is important that the programme is put in place fast in order to secure Germany's role as climate action leader," Kemfert told the Clean Energy Wire in an email.

"This is not the beginning of a coal exit because there are no details on how the reduction by 22 million tonnes (of CO2 ) will be achieved. Emissions trading alone will not provide the necessary financial incentives. The introduction of a capacity market at this stage could set wrong incentives and suppress the necessary price signals rather than support them."

"It is positive that (the programme) includes all sectors... It is laudable that steps are being taken to improve energy efficiency. The weakest point are the climate action plans in the power sector: The proposals for  emissions trading will not be enough to repair it, the price signals remain small. It's unclear how they want to reduce the excess electricity from inefficient coal power plants."

 

Germanwatch

"Chancellor Merkel and Economy Minister Gabriel will have to be judged by the implementation. After years of rising CO2 emissions, the economy minister should present new rules to limit the unchecked use of coal for power generation," Germanwatch said in a written statement.

"The reduction of 22 million tonnes by 2020 in the power sector are an important signal that unchecked power generation from coal and climate action don't go together. But the 22 million tonnes have to come on top of the reductions which are already factored in, and they have to be legally mandated," Germanwatch's  policy director Christoph Bals said in the statement.

 

 

German Trade Union Association (DGB)

"The DGB supports the government’s plan to introduce additional measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent. This bolsters the Energiewende’s position as a role model for sustainable development ahead of the climate talks,” said DGB board member Stefan Körzell in a written statement.

“We want an Energiewende without risks to jobs, but with growth, climate protection and with affordable power prices. The yard stick for all Energiewende decisions has to be that jobs are secured, in energy production as well as in the energy intensive sectors.”

 

Green Party

"The government’s climate action programme is nothing but a phantom giant. The closer you look at it the smaller and more absurd it becomes,” the Green Party said in a written statement.

“The coalition needs to take a stance: Do they want climate action or guarantees for dirt from coal?”

 

WWF

"The WWF acknowledges that the package manifests the political will for more climate action, even though the measures are rather homeopathic," the WWF said in a written statement.

"That’s not the big leap yet. Rules to switch off the dirtiest coal-fired power plants would have underscored that they are ready to break up outdated structures," said Regine Günther, Director of Climate and Energy at the WWF, in the statement. "But this was apparently not possible yet."

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