In Germany, the government unveils its “ultra-ambitious” emergency climate program

It was a historic moment for German political ecology. Tuesday, January 11, the ecologist Robert Habeck, vice-chancellor of the government and head of the super-ministry for the economy and climate protection, announced his emergency program to drastically reduce carbon emissions from the world’s fourth-largest economy. The mission, which should also stimulate innovation and the country’s competitiveness, is one of the main priorities of the new Scholz government, which took office in December 2021.

Never before in Berlin had the two portfolios, long considered antagonistic, been brought together. For the first time in its history, German industry has agreed to place its key ministry under the responsibility of an environmental minister, who defends the reconciliation of ecology and the economy … on condition that the latter decarbonises quickly.

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Robert Habeck had, Tuesday morning, no more trace of the smile that he still wore at the time of the conclusion of the coalition negotiations, at the end of November 2021. And for good reason: he drew up an uncompromising assessment of the “Drastic delay” of Germany in terms of climate protection. He confirmed what was emerging in recent months: after a significant drop in CO emissions2 in 2020, linked to the exceptional effects of Covid-19 on activity, they started to rise again and should show, for 2021, an increase of 4%.

Germany will not only miss the reduction target for 2021, 2022 and 2023, but it is also on the wrong track to reach those of 2030. If nothing is done, the country should have reduced its production by then. greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, not 65%, from their 1990 level. “Expressed in absolute figures, it is 200 million tonnes of CO2 too much “, said Habeck, displaying a graph representing the gap observed between the current emissions trajectory, corresponding to the measures already undertaken by Berlin, and that which would be necessary to achieve carbon neutrality in 2045.

A “gigantic” task

Never before had such a disconcerting assessment been delivered by the Ministry of the Economy, which usually contented itself with celebrating the progress of renewables. However, for three years, the development of electricity from wind power, which must provide the bulk of the efforts, has been virtually stagnant. In solar, efforts have also slowed in recent years. This is the terrible record of recent years Merkel, who has however long been nicknamed the “chancellor of the climate”.

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