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Green Spin Masters: German Climate Plan Short On Details

Bernd Radowitz, Recharge

Germany’s cabinet has approved a climate action plan to assure Europe’s biggest economy meets its CO2 emission reduction target, but the government postponed key decisions over how this is going to be achieved.

With a series of measures in its “2020 climate protection action programme” Berlin wants to cut an additional 62-78 million tons of CO2 equivalent in order to make sure Germany meets its self-imposed target to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.

Without it, the country would miss its target by 5 to 8 percentage points, the environment ministry says.

While most of the planned measures made public today circle around a broad-based national energy efficiency plan, and some around climate-friendly construction and housing, the programme also mentions a plan to lower CO2 emissions caused by utilities by an additional 22 million tonnes by 2020.

Today’s action plan, however, doesn’t provide further detail on how that reduction should be achieved, other than stating that economics and energy minister Sigmar Gabriel will work out a concept on how the overall cut will be distributed over Germany’s fleet of power stations.

A source close to the government told Recharge that details about the 22 million-tonne reduction now will be set up in parallel to measures to reform the country’s energy market, in order to digest a rising share or renewables in its energy grid. Those measures are slated to be presented between May and the summer of 2015.

“The decisions by the federal cabinet today unfortunately still don’t represent a real breakthrough,” Hildegard Müller, chairwoman of the National Association of Energy and Water Industries BDEW said.

“It remains unclear how the additional reduction in electricity generation of 22 million tonnes of CO2 should be reached within the framework of the climate protection action plan.”

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