Germany unveils ambitious plan to accelerate climate protection goals
Germany's Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Robert Habeck, has unveiled ambitious plans to accelerate the country’s climate projects, warning that the federal republic faces a “gigantic task” in getting back on track with its goals.
Germany is falling behind on climate goals, minister warns
Habeck said that Germany needed to take immediate and drastic action to address a severe backlog in its climate protection plan. “The previous climate protection measures are inadequate in all sectors,” he said, adding that the federal republic was falling behind and would most likely miss its targets for 2022 and 2023.
Germany’s new government, which took office at the end of last year, has set itself the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent of 1990 levels by 2030. The share of renewable energies should be 80 percent by 2030, and by 2045 the country is to become climate neutral.
While the coronavirus pandemic and its accompanying drop in economic activity made it possible for Germany to meet its emissions targets in 2020, things jumped back by 4 percent in 2021 - a trend that Habeck described as going “in the wrong direction."
Habeck explained that Germany would need to treble its efforts in the coming years to “make up for the gap." “All of this is a mammoth task,” he said. “Whereas emissions have fallen by an average of 15 million metric tons per year over the past decade, they must now fall by 36 to 41 million metric tons per year from now until 2030.”
Two new climate packages to be signed off in 2022
To help the country achieve this, Habeck outlined a number of new laws, regulations and other measures, to form an “immediate climate protection programme” that should be in place by the end of the year. Among others, this includes:
- Setting aside 2 percent of Germany’s land surface for wind energy projects (up from 0,5 percent currently)
- Easing planning rules on where wind turbines can be built
- Requiring all new buildings to be fitted with solar panels
- Investing in green hydrogen
- Offering a subsidy programme to industrial companies switching to greener production processes
The first package of laws should be approved by the federal cabinet in April, and put into law before the summer. A second package of laws is due to be drafted over the summer and passed by the end of the year.
Habeck said that, rather than damaging the economy, the green revolution would encourage innovation “in a way we haven’t seen in this country in a long time.” He said the move would help to “renew our industries, and that means creating value and jobs.”