Germany: (1) Strengthen the EU Paris Agreement pledge, as well as Germany’s own targets; need short term targets that can be met by 2020, (2) Remove environmentally harmful fossil fuel subsidies
The EU climate targets should be reviewed in order to achieve concrete long-term goals as pledged in the Paris agreement. For instance, the EU 2030 targets should be referred to as minimum targets and a scientific research should be carried out to recommend a higher short-term target by 2020 (WWF assessment report, 2017). In accordance with WWF assessment report, (2017) the minimum EU reduction target should be set at 55% by 2030.
In Germany, the renewable energy and energy efficiency targets should be increased to 45% and 40% respectively (WWF assessment report, 2017). Further, the climate change targets set in the Climate Action Plan, 2050 are not yet legally binding and the sectoral targets have not been sufficiently incorporated into climate protection law In particular, the Climate Action Plan 2050 is not supported by a Climate Change Act and this casts a suspicion on the commitment of the German government to meet the targets set in the Climate Action Plan by 2050. In addition, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from the energy sector by 2030, the coal-fired power plants need to be shut down by 2035. But, the Climate Action Plan 2050 does not give a clear picture on the impact of shutting down coal plants on renewable energy and electricity prices. Also, the industry sector is allowed to operate under CO2 intensive processes until 2030 and this, in my opinion, undermines the achievement of the targets set to be achieved by 2030. The roles of civil society and financial institutions such as banks, insurance and pension scheme companies, though important, are not clear in the Climate Action Plan 2050. In my own opinion, the gaps in the Climate Action Plan, 2050 negatively affect Germany’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
However, there are several ways of strengthening the implementation of their Climate Action Plan 2050. For example, to achieve a greenhouse gas neutral economy, there is need to disentangle economic growth and consumption patterns, and improve the fiscal and financial system. Improving the fiscal and financial system requires the removal of environmentally harmful subsidies which increase the costs of health care and environmental protection.