German coal commission pressed to deliver as country fails to cut emissions

(EurActiv, 15 Nov 2018) A new government report detailing Germany’s failure to cut emissions increases pressure on the country’s coal commission to agree on a speedy phase-out plan. Its members enter a critical stage this week as they focus on tangible proposals. EURACTIV’s media partner Clean Energy Wire reports.

Germany will likely miss its self-imposed 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, according to a draft of the government’s Climate Protection Report, which was leaked to the press and seen by the Clean Energy Wire. The environment ministry’s report is due to be published in early December.

Current trends point to an emission cut of only 32 percent by 2020 compared to 1990, which contrasts with the official target of a 40 percent reduction, the report states, echoing earlier ministry estimates.

The draft report emphasises that the so-called coal commission is charged with proposing new measures to help narrow the gap “as far as possible.”

The world’s fourth-largest economy has made climate protection one of the priorities in its Energiewende, a dual shift from fossil fuels and nuclear power to a renewables-based energy system. Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions have remained stubbornly high in recent years, but the country is headed for its largest emissions drop since the 2009 recession this year. Since the decrease was partly caused by warmer weather, experts warned against calling out a trend reversal.

In 2014, the government initiated a “Climate Action Programme” to step up efforts to cut emissions, but the additional policies are not effective enough to close the gap between forecast and the official targets, states the report.

The draft says the rising price of EU ETS CO2 emission allowances will likely translate into more emissions reductions than previously assumed. But it also stresses that efforts in the transport sector remain “far from adequate” to contribute sufficiently to climate protection.

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EurActiv, 15 Nov 2018: German coal commission pressed to deliver as country fails to cut emissions