German government adopts climate protection law
10 October 2019 | Mitigation
The German government has adopted a law that envisages mandatory climate protection goals "for each year and for each individual economic sector" in the country, the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) said on Wednesday.
"In the future, there will be clear rules on what happens if a sector deviates from the agreed climate course and who then has to make improvements and how," Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said.
The law, which has yet to be approved by the German parliament, stipulates "clearly quantified and verifiable" climate protection targets for each year between 2020 and 2030 in order for Germany to reach its target of reducing CO2 emissions by 55 percent by 2030 when compared to 1990.
The government also enshrined climate neutrality by 2050 for the country in the climate protection law for the "first time," according to the BMU. Previously, the German government had targeted a reduction of CO2 emissions by 80 percent to 95 percent by the middle of this century.
The climate protection law charges the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) with monitoring CO2 emissions of specific sectors, such as energy generation, transportation, manufacturing or agriculture, in tandem with an "independent expert council," the BMU said.
"We are learning from the mistakes of the past" with the climate protection law, Schulze emphasized, adding that "Germany's failure to meet its climate target must not be allowed to repeat itself."
Back in 2002, the German government had already targeted a 40 percent CO2 reduction by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. However, the country is falling short of reaching this target by eight percent, the government admitted in early 2019.
Some of the energy-intensive small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in Germany could lose "considerable earning power" as a result of the new climate protection law, the Federation of German Industries (BDI) commented.
The German government has also adopted its "Climate Protection Program 2030" based on its climate action plan published back in September.
The program comprises measures such as funding for rail and local public transportation, the energetic refurbishment of buildings, and an increase in the cost of flying.