Germany’s federal cabinet on The 12th local time passed a more stringent “climate protection law”, set new emissions targets, in order to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, and plan to implement contingency plans. For now, the bill still needs to be approved by the Bundestag and Senate.
Two weeks ago, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court ruled that parts of the Climate Protection Act were unconstitutional on the grounds that there were no provisions on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2030. In response, the federal cabinet has now responded by amending the bill to set more specific climate targets.
Under the new climate target, Germany should achieve a 65 per cent reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 1990 levels, up from the previously set 55 per cent. At the same time, Germany needs to achieve carbon neutrality, or net zero greenhouse gas emissions, by 2045, five years ahead of schedule. Under the EU’s agreement last month on new emissions targets, greenhouse gas emissions should be 55 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030, rather than the previously set 40 per cent.
In addition, the new bill sets the maximum emission levels allowed by individual sectors of the economy from 2020 to 2030. Most of these cuts will start in the energy sector. This means that Germany’s timetable for shutting down all coal-fired power plants by the end of 2038 is no longer meeting new climate targets and that the government must phase out coal energy ahead of schedule.
German Federal Environment Minister Schulzer said at a press conference on the 12th, in addition to the revised Climate Protection Act, the German government also agreed to implement contingency plans to implement the new climate goals more quickly. The “German climate protection package” drawn up by the Federal Cabinet is aimed primarily at the industrial sector and individual residents, for which the government will allocate 8 billion euros in the 2022 budget.
The package includes a half-co2 tax on landlords from January 1 next year.
Until now, carbon dioxide taxes have been legally considered part of the heating bill in Germany, usually borne entirely by tenants. In response, Schulzer explained that the new rules are primarily intended to urge landlords to save energy through a carbon dioxide tax, because it is generally up to landlords to decide on energy-related renovations and heating types. But observers point out that such rules usually push up rents overall, and it is still tenants who may be paying more.
The package also places higher environmental requirements on buildings that require further renovation. In addition to investing more in climate-friendly modern renovations of these buildings, the German government also plans to provide assistance to companies in producing a quota of climate-friendly products.
On the same day, Schulzer called for another increase in the growth rate of the hydrogen economy, saying the government would set stricter energy standards for new buildings and adjust vehicle taxes to better align with carbon dioxide reduction targets.