New Climate Protection Plan Fails to Address Implementation Issues

Spotlight Activity: New Climate Protection Plan Fails to Address Implementation Issues

After failing the initially set targets for 2020 of reducing greenhouse gas emissions below 40% of the level in 1990, and with continuing demand from the public, the German government has decided to establish a climate commission and agree on a new climate protection program containing 66 activities to reach even higher targets for 2030. Throughout September, multiple meetings, workshops, and conferences took place to release the new “Klimaschutzprogramm 2030” on Friday September 20, 2019. This release coincided with the global Fridays for Future demonstration, in addition to the UN Climate Conference in New York, and was thereby an important event for the nation. The main content of the new climate plan focuses on four primary areas: 1) The introduction of a set carbon tax, 2) Reduction of energy costs for citizens and the economy, 3) Regulations for the individual sectors (including housing, transport, agriculture and industry), and 4) Promotion and funding for science and innovation.

1) The introduction of a carbon tax

The first carbon price will be introduced and endorsed by 2021 with an initial price of 10€/ton and an increase to 35€/ton by 2025. This would be the equivalent to an increase of 3 cents per ton for every liter of petrol. Experts from the science community, in addition to other parties such as the Green Party, have criticized the proposed price as being too low to have a serious impact on the market. Adam Edenhofer from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Science had, prior to the release, advised a first set price of at LEAST 50€/ton in 2021. From 2026 onwards the carbon price will vary in between 35-60€/ton based on climate certificates that are being traded each year.

2) The reduction of energy costs for citizens and the economy

Multiple energy subsidies will be given by the central government to reduce the pressure of the individual citizen and the economy. For instance, due to the introduced carbon tax, the government promises to reduce the price for the EEG-Umlage (the amount, every citizen currently has to pay for the difference that arises from the production of electricity from renewable energy). Furthermore, people driving daily to work (more than 21 km) will be subsidized until 2026.

3) Regulations for Individual Sectors

The individual sectors are housing, transport, agriculture, industry, energy economy, and waste management. For the transport sector alone, 15 activities were agreed upon. For instance, the government guarantees to invest in public transport by reducing prices, electrifying buses, and extending the rural public transport infrastructure. Furthermore, they will provide an immediate increased amount to the Deutsche Bahn (German Train corporation) to extend the railway network and allow more train traffic to take place. On the other hand, to provide a better infrastructure for electric vehicles, the central government has promised 1 million new public charging stations in addition to subsidies to people who wish to purchase an electric vehicle. Other measures that were proposed are the increase of taxes on particularly inland flights, in addition to the immediate development of a strategy for the expansion of renewable and more sustainable water- and freight traffic opportunities.

Activities from other sectors include increased conservation for wetlands and peatland, reforestation activities, and promotion for energy conserving industries.

4) Promotion of Funding for Science

This section guarantees funding opportunities for individual climate-related topics, such as green IT, innovative geoengineering ideas to capture and store CO2 and investments into hydrogen-based research. 

Status: Falling Behind

We are at the end of 2019 and Germany has failed to meet its agreed 2020 targets by miles and the climate crisis is getting worse and worse every year. With its new climate protection program for 2030, Germany has failed its opportunity to enforce concrete measures to reach these ambitious goals. The proposed CO2 tax of 10€/ton will not lead to any changes in the transport sector. Even private leaders such as Karl Hauesgen, the Director of Hawe Hydraulics, said on television that he would have put an immediate carbon price of 110€/ton to force and encourage particular industries to invest in alternative energy measures. More attention should have been given to education and behavior changes of citizens. 

Take Action

This message goes to the scientific institutes and the climate commission. 

The scientific community is asked to raise its voice and speak out louder and activate civilians and industries to demand a higher initial carbon price. The Climate Commission is asked to revisit the proposed ‘Climate Programme 2030’ and include concrete and immediate measures to encourage behavior change across civilians, industries, and regional governments and prepare them for a long-term sustainable lifestyle. An immediate activity could, for instance, be an (affordable) annual public transport ticket for each region. Another activity could be the obligation to color ALL cycle paths in a red color to guarantee more secure options for cyclists. In the agriculture sector immediate subsidies and funding opportunities should be given to farmers who focus on organic farming. Finally, sustainability and climate awareness should become part of the general curriculum in education facilities. 

Send Action Alert Message to:

Ulrich von Lampe (Manager of Communication Department)

Mercator Research Institute for Global Commissions and Climate Change

E-Mail: lampe@mcc-berlin.net

Telefon: +49 30 33 85 537 -201

Mobil Telefon: +49 171 1964449

Sarah Messina (Press- and Public Relations)

Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung (PIK)

Telegraphenberg A31

14473 Potsdam

Telefon: +49 (0)331 288 25 44

E-Mail: messina(at)pik-potsdam.de

Dr. Anja Weisgerber (Member of the German Climate Commission)

Platz der Republik 1

11011 Berlin

anja.weisgerber@bundestag.de

Phone: 030/227-79344

More information: 

PDF of the Climate Protection Programme 2030 from the German government (German): 

https://www.bundesregierung.de/resource/blob/975202/1673502/768b67ba939c098c994b71c0b7d6e636/2019-09-20-klimaschutzprogramm-data.pdf?download=1

Article on climate protection plan by journalism for the energy transition in Germany:

https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/germanys-2030-climate-action-package

Article on TV-debate in Germany on the new climate protection plan 26. September 2019: 

https://www.welt.de/vermischtes/article201039282/Maybrit-Illner-Im-Panikmodus-kann-man-das-Thema-Klimaschutz-nicht-besprechen.html

PDF of scientific paper on ‘options for a CO2 tax in Germany:

https://www.mcc-berlin.net/fileadmin/data/B2.3_Publications/Working%20Paper/2019_MCC_Optionen_f%C3%BCr_eine_CO2-Preisreform_final.pdf

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