Germany’s climate action program builds on thin ice | WWF

Germany’s climate action program builds on thin ice

Posted on 03 December 2014    
The German Flag
Berlin, Germany, 3. December 2014. – The German government today laid out its action program for climate protection with which it wants to fill the gap to its 40% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target up to 2020.

Recent estimates from the ministry of environment pointed out that under current efforts, the country will fall short by around 7 percent and that 62-78 million tons of CO2 equivalent are to be saved additionally. WWF recognizes that the program expresses the government’s political will for more climate protection, even though many measures enfold only homeopathic effects.

“The Federal Government is showing that it is serious about its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020. The national target is strengthened and has now a significantly more binding character. This is an important signal in the current international debate ", says Eberhard Brandes, Managing Director of WWF Germany. The plan illustrates that Germany is prepared to go ahead at national level when climate protection measures at EU level are stalling.

"Many proposals move on very thin ice. It’s not a major breakthrough. Requirements for switching off the dirtiest coal plants would have been a clear statement that the government is ready to overcome traditional structures. But apparently this was not enforceable yet.” says Regine Günther, Director of Energy and Climate Change at WWF Germany commenting on the submitted draft.

The plan requires every sector to play their part in meeting the climate protection target, with the energy sector playing a key role. The program sets a specific instrument to reduce CO2 emissions in this sector. For WWF this is the recognition that the European emissions trading is not working properly and that complementary instruments are necessary.

For the first time ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions are established for the different sectors. For the energy sector the program sets an emission cap of about 260 million tons in 2020 taking into account energy efficiency measures. A detailed regulation to implement the new instrument is still pending and should be developed quickly. WWF also welcomes the introduction of tax incentives for the implementation of energy efficiency measures. Furthermore, the establishment of a credible climate protection reporting is important to fill any potential gaps.

"The specified mitigation measures must not remain a paper tiger. Germany can only gain credibility with real emission reductions. Protective fences around particularly harmful coal must belong to the past," said Eberhard Brandes.
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