German 2020 climate targets in danger

Berlin hopes to make a sizeable dent in its CO2 emissions by taking eight brown-coal power plants offline. [Marcel Oosterwijk/Flickr]

The 40% target of German climate policy teeters on the edge. A new report has concluded that if the government continues on its current course, the goal will not be reached. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Germany’s plan to reduce CO2 levels could fall short of its targets according to government advisors, as reported by Spiegel Online, which cited the “Energy of the Future” progress report. The yearly evaluation of energy transition has shown that climate targets are “significantly under threat”.

According to the monitoring report, national green-house gas emissions would have to fall by 3% every year by 2020 in order for the climate targets to be achieved. However, last year, the government was only able to reduce emissions by 1.7%. Experts have criticised Berlin’s inability to implement effective instruments such as tax incentives for energy-efficient buildings.

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Spiegel Online also reported that the experts left open the issue of how the targeted reduction of 22 million tonnes in the energy sector could actually to be achieved.

German taxpayers are set to be hit with a bill of around €1.6 billion to remove eight old lignite-fired power stations from the energy grid. Angela Merkel’s government claims that this will lead to a reduction of around 12.5 million tonnes of CO2. A further four million tonnes should be removed as a result of the reform of the Combined Heat and Power Act. It is still unclear from where the remaining 5.5 million tonnes will be found.

>>Read: German ‘dirty deal’ on brown coal criticised

Germany has made an international commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 40% in comparison to their 1990-levels. The government maintained on Wednesday (18 November) that the target could still be reached. “We are making good progress,” said the Minister for the Environment, Barbara Hendricks. Ahead of the COP21 climate summit in Paris, there is a clear line: “Germany will achieve its 40% target by 2020.”

Environmental groups have huge doubts about this statement and have called into question Berlin’s supposed pandering to the coal lobby.

At the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Paris, the international community wants to agree upon a worldwide plan that will limit global warming to just two degrees.

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