Climate: Germany increases its greenhouse gas reduction targets, after a legal snub

Acceleration under stress. Germany decided on Wednesday 5 May to raise its greenhouse gas reduction targets, after the resounding censorship of part of its “climate law”, deemed too unambitious by the Constitutional Court. Berlin now intends to reduce its emissions by 6% by 2030 compared to 1990, against 55% previously targeted, then by 88% by 2040, announced the Minister of Finance and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The challenge now is to achieve carbon neutrality “in 2045”, five years earlier than expected. These goals are “really ambitious” and “achievable”, assured the Minister of the Environment, Svenja Schulze. A bill will be tabled next week in the Council of Ministers, indicated these two officials of the SPD (social democrats) who govern with the conservatives of Angela Merkel.

With less than five months of the legislative elections, and competing with the popularity of environmentalists, the German government had said that it wanted to react quickly after the judgment of the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe. The latter partially rejected, at the end of April, the objectives of the climate plan, yet given birth in pain at the end of 2019.

The judges, seized by four environmental associations, had considered that the legislation was “not in accordance with fundamental rights“of the younger generations. According to them, Berlin had not planned”sufficient requirements for the subsequent reduction of emissions from the year 2031 “.

The new course announced by the government places the German economy in an even greater challenge to achieve its ecological transition. “The development objectives of renewable energies will have to be quadrupled”, explains to AFP Claudia Kemfert, expert for the economic institute DIW, in Berlin.

The government does not want to completely abandon coal, which is particularly polluting, only from 2038, a date deemed too late by NGOs. Clean energies currently represent half of the country’s electricity production.

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