Germany: CDU/CSU put brakes on Merkel’s climate ambitions

Despite Merkel's announcement, Germany still hasn't presented its national energy and climate plan to the European Commission. [EPA-EFE/ANDREAS GORA / POOL]

The conservatives in the German parliament reject any increase in Germany’s greenhouse gas reduction targets without also reopening sensitive talks about burden-sharing at EU level, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Saturday (9 May).

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50-55% by 2030 could place an enormous burden on the German economy, the conservative alliance warns in the briefing note.

And even though it recognises that more ambitious climate targets open new opportunities, such a decision would only be acceptable in the event of a new burden-sharing agreement within the EU, it adds.

The note comes at a time when the Foreign Ministry is resetting Germany’s top priorities for its EU presidency programme due to be officially presented in June.

“We reject an increase in the EU’s climate target for 2030 without a change in burden sharing,” said the authors of the paper, representing the CDU and its Bavarian counterpart, the CSU.

“Our European partners must contribute to achieving the climate target with comparable efforts,” they add, calling on the government not to lose sight of the current emergency situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The health crisis has considerably changed the economic situation of employees and companies in our country and in Europe,” stresses the document, which has not yet been adopted by the parliamentary group.

The aim is to avoid “as far as possible burdens on employees and companies through laws and other regulations,” the conservative MPs say, adding that the European Green Deal must now “be designed in such a way that it does not hinder, but rather supports the management of the coronavirus pandemic”.

Conservative MPs also argue it should be possible to include “climate measures and emission reductions made (by Germany) in third countries” in the country’s climate balance.

In effect, this means that the conservative parliamentary group is putting the brakes on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s climate policy. In a recent speech at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, the Chancellor threw her support behind European Commission plans for a 50-55% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030.

“The European Commission has shown us the way with the Green Deal,” Merkel said. Noting that the EU’s climate neutrality target for 2050 was still “far away”, she “welcomed” the proposal for an interim target to “reduce emissions in the European Union by 50-55% by 2030 compared to 1990”.

Never before had the German Chancellor made such a clear commitment to more ambitious climate targets.

Merkel reaffirms support for raising EU's 2030 climate target to 50-55%

Chancellor Angela Merkel has insisted that the European Green Deal must be the driving force behind Europe’s economic recovery plan. However, Germany has, so far, bailed out its fossil fuel industry like no other EU member state – and it’s still a long way away from presenting its national climate plan. EURACTIV Germany reports.

The publication of this briefing note comes in a context where Germany has still not submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the European Commission – along with Ireland, Luxembourg and Romania.

This situation has delayed consultations between member states on climate protection, said Croatian Energy Minister Tomislav Coric after consultations with his EU colleagues on 28 April. The timetable for reaching a common position of the 27 states in June is therefore compromised, he said.

(Edited by Frédéric Simon)

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