By approving a new package on energy savings, the German government still hopes to achieve its climate targets for 2020, and boost the economy with billions in investment. EURACTIV Germany reports.
The German government passed far-reaching energy policy resolutions on Wednesday (3 December), signing off on the first Energiewende Progress Report, the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (NAPE) and the Action Programme on Climate Protection 2020.
At the presentation of the programme, German Economic Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel said it is currently up to the government to integrate and connect energy and climate policy.
Much has already been achieved in the energy sector, Gabriel said: the amendment of the Renewable Energies Act (EEG) is taking hold, the debate over the electricity market has gained momentum and a plan for further steps has been tabled.
The government’s latest move to approve these programmes was a concrete measure that will help underscore the necessary next steps, Gabriel emphasised.
NAPE’s central elements consist of plans to introduce tax incentives for energy-related building renovations, to top up the CO2 building renovation programme and to boost competitive tendering for energy-saving projects with hundreds of millions in planned annual financing.
All in all, financing measures and corresponding private investments would amount to a total investment volume of €70-80 billion, Gabriel indicated.
German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks emphasised the close connection between climate protection and the Energiewende. All sectors should make a contribution to the entire package, she said.
Energy efficiency in the Economic Affairs Ministry’s NAPE plan makes up the largest portion (25-30 million tonnes). Then there are further measures regarding “climate friendly building and living” (1.5-4.7 million tonnes).
Another significant issue the climate package addresses is the requirement for an additional 22 million tonnes in CO2 reductions among coal and natural gas power plants by the year 2020. This is the equivalent of emissions from around eight large hard coal and lignite plants.
The German government hopes to pass its own climate law sealing the requirement within the coming year.
Additional efforts needed
While they continue implementation of the Energiewende, Germany’s new measures also serve as important steps toward reaching the government’s self-defined climate target.
But according to the German government, additional efforts are needed from other sectors to realise the goal. The next benchmark on climate protection is reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% until the year 2020, compared to 1990 levels.
If Germany does not reach this target, it risks missing the goals which will follow for 2030, 2040 and 2050, as well as the European climate target.
With the Action Programme on Climate Protection 2020, the German government included additional measures to reach the 2020 target. According to current estimates, Germany would most likely have missed its goal by 5 to 8% without the new plan.
Hendricks praised the newly-approved climate protection package. “With this package, we will triple our climate protection efforts compared to the last 15 years,” she said.
It is the most comprehensive package of measures that any German government has ever produced on climate protection, Hendricks pointed out. “In this way we are showing that we do not just set targets, but also fulfill them. It is an important confidence-building signal for the climate conference in Lima.”