Environmental organizations have responded to a government proposal to decarbonise the economy with outrage.
They say the Climate Action Plan 2050 will fall well short of meeting climate targets, and accuse the environment ministry of caving in to pressure from the economics ministry and Angela Merkel’s Chancellery to water down ambitious plans and drop important details, like a deadline for the coal exit.
The final version of the German Environment Ministry’s Climate Action Plan has been published. But concrete targets included in previous drafts have been removed, prompting the Green Party to describe the document as an “admission of government failure”.
The environment ministry’s final version of the plan is still to be coordinated with other ministries. But critics say it had already been watered down under pressure from Sigmar Gabriel’s Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, which insisted on the omission of a date for the coal exit.
Changes to the Climate Action Plan 2050 came after industry associations repeatedly voiced their criticism of sector targets and the listed measures they feared would harm Germany’s economy and competitiveness.
Policy director Christoph Bals said “the government appears to lack the necessary courage to agree on a clear strategy” to implement the Paris Climate Agreement, adding that the pending consultation with other ministries was a last chance to create a Climate Action Plan “worthy of its name”.
The Climate Action Plan was announced at the Paris Climate Summit as a framework for how Germany was to reach its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 to 95 percent by 2050.
Germany is already struggling to meet its 2020 climate targets, and is under additional pressure after Chancellor Angela Merkel repeatedly said she would make climate policy a priority of Germany’s G20 presidency next year.
The cabinet is scheduled to approve the Plan by early November. The Climate Action Plan will not be a law – and so will not be put to a vote in parliament – but rather become part of the government’s energy transition strategy.