Press Release | 03 December 2014

New Climate Action Programme: Germany taking emissions reduction seriously again

Still, several open questions need to be clarified

Berlin/Lima (3rd Dec. 2014). Germanwatch views a new landmark decision by the German federal government as a crucial but not entirely sufficient signal towards the UN climate negotiations in Lima/Peru. Today, the German federal government decided upon additional emission reduction measures that shall guarantee that Germany reaches its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction goal of 40% below the 1990 level. Currently, the country stands at minus 24% reduction rate. Government models project that Germany's reductions can only reach 32 to 35% over the next five years if no additional measures are taken.

With today's decision, the Merkel governmental confirms its commitment to reaching the 40% goal, despite heavy opposition from the coal industry. After two years of rising emissions, the government has decided to put forward legislation that will reduce CO2 emissions also in the electricity sector, a measure that will likely lead to a significant reduction in power generated from coal.

Christoph Bals, Policy Director of Germanwatch, says: "The 22 Mio tonnes of CO2 reduction in the power sector are an important signal that Germany is beginning to actively curb coal combustion. The new Climate Action Programme, together with a decision from Germany's biggest utility E.ON to fully abandon fossil fuels and concentrate on renewables, is likely to mark the beginning of a new phase in Germany's 'Energiewende'. Now, the fast growth of renewable energy generation and the nuclear phase-out can be accompanied by a continuous decline in coal combustion. Very much essential for finally reaching Germany's target of at least 40% emissions reduction is the proposed monitoring process with yearly reports and the establishment of a civil society watchdog body. The monitoring needs to lead to better instruments for the 40% to be fully reached in 2020."

Despite these efforts, several measures in the Climate Action Programme remain vague or are based on optimistic scenarios. Germanwatch expects the Federal government to quickly present clarifications as well as more concrete measures to ensure that the emissions reduction gap of 5-8% until 2020 can completely be filled.

In recent years, Germany has not been on track for reaching its 40% goal, especially due to unchecked rising coal combustion, little progress in the energy efficiency sector and weak efforts towards curbing transport emissions.