Germany: A long term Climate Change Protection Plan

In order to reach the goals agreed on in Paris at last year’s COP21, to keep the global warming lower than 2°C, the German government, led by Federal Minister for the Environment Barbara Hendricks, wanted to come up with a strategic plan. This “climate protection plan 2050” has been under construction for nearly a year and was finally passed on November 14th.

But the Ministries of transport, agriculture and economy did not agree with the initial draft of this plan. Germany’s goal for the national Climate protection was to reduce Greenhouse-gas emission by 40% (compared to 1990) until 2020, another 15% until 2030 and to only emit only 5-20% of what was emitted in 1990 in 2050. This seems unreachable, due to the lack of measures everyone can agree on.

One of the biggest issues is the power generation using coal, which still makes up more than 40% of Germany’s electricity. In the initial plan there was the aim to completely shut down this form of power generation well before 2050. Sigmar Gabriel, commerce secretary, erased this passage. A plan to accelerate the expansion of renewable energies (partially through a raise of taxes on fuel) was also cut, as well as the establishment of a commission for “Climate protection and completion of the energy transition”. On top of that Gabriel also erased passages regarding a decrease in power consumption.

Still, Germany has a 91-page long plan on how to become “greenhouse gas neutral” by 2050. It is certainly not what most Germans hoped for and it is certainly not good enough to make Germany reach every aim set in Climate protection. But if it works or not might not be the most important thing: Germany is the first country to have a long-term climate-protection concept and other countries might follow suit.

With general elections next year a different party might take over the government and there might be a bigger focus on Climate change. Many German politicians worry about the US losing its leading role in climate-protection during Trump’s presidency. China would be a candidate to take this spot, but if the German government could agree on more measures in the following years Germany could maybe lead the field.

Annemarie D.