German environmental groups have called upon the government to up national climate protection targets and have called a recent amendment to the country’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG) “counterproductive”. EURACTIV Germany reports.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the signing of the Paris Agreement by 175 countries this weekend as a “historic moment” and Germany’s Minister of the Environment, Barbara Hendricks, voiced her desire that the country take a leading role through its 2050 climate protection plan.
The plan, which is expected to be adopted by the German government before the summer, binds Germany to its commitment to go largely carbon-neutral by 2050.
However, several environmental organisations have denounced it as unrealistic. “CO2 emissions have continued to climb in recent years and climate and efficiency targets for 2020 are already in severe jeopardy and the planned amendment to the EEG is going to put the brakes on the expansion of the renewables sector,” warned acting head of the BUND NGO, Antje von Broock.
More than 40 environmental groups have come up with “Civil society’s 2050 climate protection plan” to demonstrate how Berlin can reach its climate targets. Germany’s ambitious reduction targets will only stay on track if it meets its goal of reducing emissions by 40% by 2020. This would then necessitate more ambitious intermediate targets for 2030 and 2040, as well as appropriate legally-binding sub-targets for the energy, transport, industrial and construction sectors, as well as agriculture.
The organisations also called upon Germany’s plan to phase out the use of coal as an energy source to be transcribed into law. Greenpeace’s Karsten Smid called for a phase-out to be completed by 2035. “There should be no new opencast mines, on the contrary: lignite should not be promoted as an energy source at all,” said Klaus Milke, from development group Germanwatch.
President of the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), Olaf Tschimpke, criticised the amendment to the EEG as “completely counterproductive to the climate goals, as instead of the necessary accelerated expansion of the renewables sector, the new EEG puts the brakes on it”.
NABU’s climate expert, Sebastian Scholz, added that the euphoria of the Paris conference has long since given way to political pragmatism at EU-level, accusing Climate Commissioner, Miguel Arias Cañete of “betraying” the agreement.