The first draft of Germany’s Climate Action Law, presented last week, has laid bare conflicting views within the German coalition government over how the country should meet its climate targets.
The proposal has drawn criticism from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party, the economically liberal FDP and industry association BDI, but has been welcomed by the Social Democrats (SPD) – the party of Environment Minister Svenja Schulze who is responsible for the bill – as well as by renewables industry.
Last week’s draft text of Germany’s much-anticipated Climate Action Law coalition – which is to ensure the country’s becomes CO2 neutral by mid-century – has been welcomed by center left parliamentarians and the renewables lobby, but drawn fire from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance and from German industry.
The draft, drawn up by Svenja Schulze’s (SPD) environment ministry, sets out emissions budgets for different economic sectors. To reach these targets, government ministries are then responsible for setting out concrete measures that will trigger amendments to existing legislation. If sectors miss their annual reduction target, meaning Germany has to buy emissions allocations from other countries, the responsible ministry will have to cover these costs.
The framework law commits Germany to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 95 percent by 2050. In its Climate Action Plan 2050, introduced in 2016, the government had set out to reduce emissions by 80 to 95 percent. A spokesperson for Merkel commented on Friday that “even 80 percent is very ambitious.”
Ralph Brinkhaus, head of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Bundestag, insisted that the group supported the idea of a Climate Action Law, but criticised that the current draft would establish a “central committee for climate control” with powers that should be in the hands of parliament and ministries. The law draft stipulates that “an independent seven-person expert body for climate issues will be set up by the federal parliament, made up of experts in environment, sustainable development, consumer issues and economic development, among others”.
Brinkhaus also criticised that the law lacked specific climate action measures, instead leaving it up to the ministries to devise ways of cutting emissions from their respective sectors.