26th May 2022

Germany launches 'gigantic' climate emergency programme

  • 'In a year in which we really should have turned the corner the share of renewables in Germany in the energy mix decreased,' German Green environment minister Robert Habeck admitted (Photo: EPA)
Listen to article

Germany's climate and economy minister, Robert Habeck, unveiled a report on Tuesday (11 January) that showed a "drastic deficit" in the country's efforts to achieve its climate goals.

According to the ministry's findings, Europe's largest economy risks missing its emission reduction targets for 2030 if it does not triple the CO2 reductions, compared with the last decade.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

An updated climate law, adopted earlier this year, says Germany must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 65 percent by 2030 and be climate-neutral by 2045.

"The task is gigantic," Habeck, a Green party minister within the social democratic/liberal/green governing coalition, said. "We managed to cut emissions by 15m tonnes annually from 2010-2020. Now we have to increase that to 40m tonnes a year."

He also warned that - instead of reducing the country's carbon emissions this year - they actually increased by four percent.

"In a year in which we really should have turned the corner," he said, showing a graph, "the share of renewables in Germany in the energy mix decreased."

To achieve a turnaround, Habeck said he wants to start a major push and launch a significantly more ambitious climate protection programme before the end of 2022.

The first set of rules will be presented in April, with further measures following during the summer.

The plan will include mandatory solar roofs for new buildings, new funding and simplifications for green hydrogen and many more wind turbines than are currently being built.

Earlier, Habeck estimated that the number of wind turbines being built will also have to increase from 450 to 1,500 annually.

Two percent of the German land surface needs to be reserved to make space.

A new "wind-on-land law" will anchor this into law and include methods to speed up the application process for onshore wind farms.

Habeck emphasised the need to reconcile the expansion of wind energy on land with protecting animals and nature.

The coalition must also reach a new climate protection agreement with industry.

"If we do it right and trigger a dynamic, we can experience a boom in new technologies, with new industrial added-value and jobs," he said.

But Habeck cautioned electricity bills will become more expensive for consumers and promised a "huge social debate" to foster acceptance and solidarity among the public.

Nuclear phase-out to increase gas use

On 31 December, Germany closed three of its remaining six nuclear power plants, with the reactors in Emsland, Isar and Neckarwestheim shutting down before the end of the year.

This will complete the German nuclear phase-out that started in 2011.

Economists of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) recently wrote that: "the decline in nuclear power will temporarily lead to higher use of fossil energies."

On Tuesday, Habeck told press "it is indisputable" that gas will remain a necessary "backup fuel."

He said it will be needed to cushion potential shortfalls in renewable energy supply in the coming years.

According to the German climate strategy, the remaining natural gas plants will be retrofitted to run on hydrogen before 2030.

Germany tells France: 'nuclear is not green'

The new German government will not support French plans to label nuclear energy as 'green', foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said in Paris on Thursday.


The moral cost of 'social peace' in Germany

Germany remains the main obstacle to European sanctions on the Russian oil & gas industry. When will the Zeitenwende ['turning point' in German energy policy] finally deliver?

EU Commission extends borrowing curbs in 2023

The European Commission on Monday proposed to extend suspension of fiscal borrowing rule in 2023 — but advised prudence amid already rising real interest rates.

Commission grilled on RePowerEU €210bn pricetag

EU leaders unveiled a €210bn strategy aiming to cut Russian gas out of the European energy equation before 2027 and by two-thirds before the end of the year — but questions remain on how it is to be financed.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us