Germany has long been considered a front-runner in terms of climate change and environmental politics. Since the Kyoto Agreement, Germany has been part of many International Alliances and Treaties, obliging to follow ambitious climate change goals. In the EU and internationally, Germany wants to be a good example for sustainability and environmental policies, which do not negatively impact the economy but rather boost it. Therefore, it created a government funded climate change initiative, which promoted domestic sustainability projects. This progressive initiative is due to the influence of the Green Party, which has exponentially gained followers since its creation in the 1980’s. Back then it was merely a club of tree hugging, Birkenstock wearing hippies with long beards. Now it has established itself and made itself into Parliament almost every legislative period. People in Germany are concerned about the environment, but nothing exceeds their faith in the economy. Businesses are considering many sustainable options, but are often hesitant to take risks. Angela Merkel had put the exit of the coal power industry at the top of her agenda before Ukraine, Greece and ISIS happened, but the plans are taking longer to execute than expected. Decarbonisation was also huge topic at #COP21, and Germany can proudly consider itself a front-runner, closing down their last coal power plants in 2018.
COP21 really spurred the Bundesregierung and Energiewende. Germany stays ambitious, with a plan of a 90% emissions reduction until 2050 and soon sole investment into renewable energy production. An exact plan for climate policy is supposed to be adopted by June 2016. The big question is whether it will be able to pull its herd of slow EU donkeys behind them. Hollande has made a good jumpstart by suggesting a mandatory carbon price in the EU. German and French relations seem to be a lot better than in the last 3 centuries.
If you are interested, more information here: https://www.cleanenergywire.org/dossiers/cop21view-germany
– by Pauline F.