Germany to push for climate neutrality 5 years earlier than planned
The German federal government has approved a bill to tighten up its greenhouse gas emissions targets. The goal is to now become climate neutral by 2045, five years earlier than previously planned.
Germany aims to be carbon negative by 2050
Chancellor Angela Merkel and cabinet members green-lit the new plan on Wednesday, just under two weeks after the Federal Constitutional Court issued an unprecedented ruling demanding that the burden of emissions reductions be split between older and younger generations.
The re-drafted law stipulates that greenhouse gas emissions should fall by at least 65 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2030, and by 88 percent of 1990 levels by 2040. Climate neutrality is to be achieved by 2045.
According to Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, the legislation will ensure “generational fairness”. She said it was a “bold climate protection plan that does not stall the economy, but restructures and modernises it.”
Germany will further aim for negative emissions from 2050 onwards, absorbing more greenhouse gases than it produces. “We are talking about nothing less than a doubling of the tempo when it comes to climate protection,” Schulze said.
By 2030, most of the new savings should come from the energy sector. It is therefore considered certain that the coal phase-out should be completed much sooner than 2038, which the government previously set as an end date.
Changes to carbon taxes, building standards and vehicle taxes
In order to implement these tougher targets, Schulze also announced that a package of laws containing new measures would be launched immediately. This implementation package, which is known as the “Climate Pact”, was also signed off by the cabinet on Wednesday.
It stipulates, among other things, that landlords bear half of the cost of the new carbon emissions tax. Also planned are a subsidy programme for building renovations and higher, more climate-friendly building standards.
The hydrogen economy is due to be ramped up again, and there are also plans for new energy standards for new buildings, as well as changes to vehicle taxes to make them even more closely connected to carbon emissions. Up to eight billion euros could be earmarked for climate measures in the next federal budget in 2022.