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Habeck presents Germany’s current climate action status: “Need to triple the rate of emission reductions”
Economic Affairs and Climate Action Minister Robert Habeck is presenting a review of Germany’s current climate action status today. The review is needed so that we can see where Germany stands in terms of the various fields of action. This applies both to the climate targets in the various sectors and to the expansion of renewables and the power grid. The review shows us just how far Germany’s climate action is falling below expectations.
Robert Habeck said: “Germany’s current climate action status shows us: we are currently a very long way from where we need to be. The climate action taken in all sectors so far is inadequate. We can predict that we will fall short of our climate targets in 2022 and 2023. But we are doing our utmost to catch up. This will require us to triple the rate of our emission reductions and to do much more in less time.”
Habeck emphasised this point: “We want to be climate-neutral by 2045 and boost the share of renewable energy to 80% by 2030. We have started working on this. The priority acts, ordinances and measures are now being set in motion – an initial climate action package will come at the end of April, and a second one in the summer.”
The objective of the Immediate Climate Action Programme is to put all sectors on the right course to meeting the targets and to ensure that all the necessary measures are taken for Germany to be able to reach its climate targets. The work on the necessary legislation, regulation, and other measures for this is to be concluded by the end of 2022. To make this happen, the Federal Government will press ahead with the drawing up and the implementation of the Programme.
Minister Habeck made the point very clearly: “This is a massive task. And several years will pass before we see the successes. But what we are doing now lays the foundations for bringing climate action and prosperity together.”
The immediate measures which the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action will present in the near future include:
Amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG): We will amend the EEG to set the course for an electricity supply that will be based on 80% renewables by 2030. To achieve this, we will increase the quantities up for auction. Technology-specific quantities will be increased, starting from what will already be a highly ambitious level. The level of gross electricity consumption we are using in our calculations lies at the centre of the corridor set out in the Coalition Agreement (680-750 TWh), i.e. 715 TWh. We will enshrine a new principle in law, namely that the expansion of renewables is in the overriding public interest and in the interest of public security.
Solar energy: We will unleash the power of solar energy by introducing a solar acceleration package. The solar acceleration package will contain a broad range of individual measures designed to deliver significant progress on solar energy. Among other things, this means putting in place improvements around landlord-to-tenant electricity supply, raising the thresholds applying in auctions, and opening areas and sites for ground-mounted installations whilst observing the relevant environmental criteria. We are also taking legislative action to ensure that all suitable roofspace will be used for solar energy in future. Solar energy will be mandatory for new commercial buildings, and will become the norm for new private buildings.
Wind energy: We will harness the potential of land that can be made available for onshore wind power at short notice and introduce an Onshore Wind Power Act to speed up the expansion process. We will also be reducing the mandatory distances to rotating beacons and weather radar and implement measures to make the expansion of onshore wind power better compatible with military interests. This can free up a lot of sites for wind power. For instance, in areas where radio navigation systems and rotating beacons are in place, it is possible to install 4 to 5 GW of capacity. Another 3 to 4 GW can be installed in areas where there are military interests. We will use the Onshore Wind Power Act to reserve 2% of Germany’s land territory for wind energy, reconcile the expansion of wind power with conservation interests, and pave the way for swifter planning and approval procedures.
Bringing down the price of electricity: We will lay the basis for having more electricity from renewables at competitive prices. In particular, electricity is to become cheaper than fossil fuels. For this purpose, we will render heat pumps and eMobility more attractive and make progress on sector coupling. For this reason, we will be financing the renewable energy surcharge (EEG surcharge) from the federal budget as from 2023, which will ease the financial burden on electricity consumers. As we abolish the EEG surcharge, we are moving the provisions resulting from the special equalisation scheme (Combined Heat and Power Act, offshore grid surcharge) into a separate statute so as to give the industrial sector a reliable and predictable legal basis with regard to the relevant surcharges.
Carbon contracts with the industrial sector: We will lay the legal and financial basis for ‘carbon contracts for difference’, which will be a key instrument to support the transformation within the industrial sector. As the industrial sector ushers in climate-neutral manufacturing methods, it needs a reliable funding and investment framework. This instrument will render climate-neutral manufacturing methods economically viable at an earlier point in time and ensure that companies can better plan ahead financially.
Heat strategy: In the heat sector, we are also striving for a very high share of renewables and will be generating 50% of the heat used in Germany in climate-neutral ways by 2030. As we regard energy efficiency as a second pillar to work with, we will develop a new strategy for climate neutrality in buildings that will bring together both instruments in an optimised manner. We will make decisive progress on climate action in the buildings sector and work towards a full rollout of municipal heat planning and towards decarbonising and expanding the heat networks. For this purpose, we will see to it that the Federal assistance for efficient heat networks (BEW) takes effect as soon as it has been approved under the state-aid rules, and will top up its financing.
Standards and funding for buildings: Together with the Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building, we will swiftly review the Buildings Energy Act to create a reliable basis for investors to plan on. This will set us on the pathway towards climate neutrality in 2045 where new buildings and the modernisation of buildings are concerned, and help reduce energy consumption in this area. In this way, we are implementing the Coalition Agreement where it says that every new heating system installed as of 2025 must be based on at least 65% renewable energy. This will prevent misdirected investments that are not compatible with our climate targets. Parallel to this, the federal funding scheme for efficient buildings will be swiftly adjusted; it will act in support of the new provisions of the Buildings Energy Act and set the right incentives for greater efficiency to prepare the market for these steps until 2025.
Hydrogen strategy: We are adjusting our measures to ramp up the use of hydrogen technology so as to double the production of green hydrogen compared to the plans currently in force. To this end, we will be revising the National Hydrogen Strategy by the end of this year, and will introduce additional funding programmes.
This is merely a first sample of the projects we are planning. At present, we are working to see which other measures can be introduced at short notice. Furthermore, action taken by other ministries and sectors will also be fed into the Immediate Action Programme that will be drawn up over the coming months in close cooperation within the Federal Government.