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Germany: Ministers propose more ambitious climate targets

The two ministers made a more ambitious proposal after the German Supreme Court made previous government releases unconstitutional targets.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Environment Minister Scholes Wednesday proposed a new legislative proposal calling for climate neutrality in Germany by 2045.

A week after Germany’s Constitutional Court declared the goals set by the Climate Protection Act 2019 unconstitutional; the two ministers announced their plans at a last-minute press conference.

Legislators from the Central African Democratic Chemistry Party expect the proposal to be approved by the Cabinet next week after conservative partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition approved it.

What has included in the new climate bill?

  • Emissions will fall by 65% by 2030 compared to 1990
  • 88% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040
  • Climate neutrality will achieved in 2045, five years before the previous target

Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions levels are currently 40 percent lower than in 1990, meaning the 2030 target will require a further 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the environment minister said on Wednesday.

What do legislators say about the new proposal?

Scholz, who is also deputy prime minister, “will appear in cabinet next week with an ambitious but achievable climate law.”

“These are common goals,” government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said after the announcement.

The environment minister said the new target would not delay the burden of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“This is a fair offer for younger generations because we are not leaving the biggest burden in the future,” Schultz says.

Stressing the importance of renewable energy capacity, Scholz said the future performance of the national economy as a whole depends on the supply of more renewable electricity.

Cristian Lindner, leader of the pro-market Liberal Democrats, celebrated the “ambitious climate goal”, but said adopting a common EU approach rather than pursuing Germany’s “celibacy efforts” was “desirable” for Germany.

What is the decision of the Constitutional Court?

Germany’s Supreme Court has held that the Climate Protection Act of 2019 is insufficient to adequately reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change, violating the rights of younger generations to a humane future.

The government had planned to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, but the court said it was too early to explain how further cuts would be made, delaying this time until after 2030.

The justices called on the legislature to set clearer targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by the end of next year.

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