Germany is planning to bring forward its transition to net-zero emissions by five years to 2045. It unveiled its plan in response to a legal fight that its current goals violate the rights of young people and children.
What is Happening?
- Finance Minister Olaf Scholz spoke at a news conference in Berlin on May 5.
- The proposal also calls for Germany to reduce emissions by 65% relative to 1990 levels by 2030, an increase from the previous goal of 55%. Coalition officials are holding talks to finalise the details of the proposal, and the legislation should be approved in cabinet next week.
- To finance the transition to net-zero emissions, Economy Minister of Germany Peter Altmaier proposed establishing a private fund to absorb any debt the government incurs.
- Nine of the 10 largest economies have pledged to reach carbon neutrality within the next few decades. Germany’s new goal would be the most ambitious among these economies, according to a tracker by the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit. Sweden is currently the only country with a legally binding 2045 target, while Uruguay, Finland, Iceland and Austria are considering even earlier goals.
- The government was forced to adopt such an ambitious goal after Germany’s constitutional court last week ruled that it was putting future generations at risk by delaying the bulk of planned emissions cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions to after 2030.
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- With current chancellor Angela Merkel leaving her position this year, her Christian Democratic-led bloc and the Social Democrats- part of her governing coalition- are under pressure to boost their own climate credentials ahead of elections in September.
- Polls show that voters are looking for more ambitious action on climate change. The Greens party has surged to front in the latest surveys and could be in position to lead Germany for the first time.
German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, says, “We are currently experiencing a bidding competition in terms of climate protection. That is good, because we need precisely this competition for the best ideas, and the task now is to translate that into effective, purposeful government action.”
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