On Course To Miss 2020 Climate Targets, Germany Opts To Scrap Them

20180109

In November, as delegates from all over the world gathered in the former German capital of Bonn for the annual UN climate summit, their hosts were feeling a bit embarrassed. Germany likes to champion itself as a climate leader. But when delivering her headline speech to the summit, Chancellor Angela Merkel was unable to make any new climate commitments. That’s because she was locked in difficult coalition negotiations with the free-market liberals and the environmentalist Greens. Outside the meeting space, activists staged a massive rally at a nearby coal pit, drawing attention to what is the most carbon-intensive location in Europe. Germany is still 40% reliant on coal, a reality Merkel acknowledged in her speech. Because of strong economic growth and Merkel’s decision to phase out nuclear power, Germany is set to miss Merkel’s target of lowering carbon dioxide emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2020. During the UN summit, activists were hoping to put pressure on the government to take urgent action in order to meet the target. But instead, it emerged today that the government is set to scrap it. Merkel’s talks with the liberals and Greens collapsed shortly after the Bonn summit, and her CDU party is now trying to form a coalition with the other main party, the center-left SPD. According to sources familiar with the situation, negotiators from both sides have reached a tentative agreement to scrap the 2020 target, postponing it for later — probably the early 2020s. The goal of reducing emissions by 55% by 2030 would remain unchanged. Proponents of the move say it merely acknowledges reality, as it is now clear there is no way that Germany can reach the original target. But activists say it is still possible to meet the 2020 target, and the move amounts to needless quitting. "It would be a devastating first decision of a new grand coalition to revoke the German climate target for 2020," said Hubert Weiger, chairman of Friends of the Earth Germany. "Ms. Merkel and Mr. Schulz promised to meet the 2020 target in the election campaign, and they must now deliver on it." The deal, which has been worked out by civil servants, must still be approved by party leadership. Today was the start of a five-day marathon session of talks, and Lars Klingbeil, the SPD’s secretary general, said in a statement representing all three parties that the talks had got off to a “serious, constructive and open” start. The parties hope to have a rough agreement in place by Jan. 11, and participants have agreed not to give any interviews until then. So far it appears that an already-agreed deal for the formation of a commission to develop a plan by the end of the year for phase-out of coal is still in place. While it may just be an acknowledgement of reality, the scrapping of the 2020 target represents a symbolic blow for Merkel politically. It may be only one of the first of her pet projects to take a hit during these talks, undermining her authority. If postponing the target is unavoidable at this point, climate activists will now be working to put pressure on the government to set the new target as early in the 2020s as possible. "The party leaders must correct this course, otherwise they undermine the credibility of German climate policy," warned Weiger.

Ист.: Forbes Energy, Ссылка: https://www.forbes.com/sites/d...
Темы:Энергетика,

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