"This government has been honest," said Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks a few days ago in the German Bundestag. "We said that we would only be able to achieve our target for the year 2020 – a reduction of at least 40 per cent in CO2 emissions –if we become better than we were. And this is what we have done with the Climate Action Programme, and the 100 additional measures we have launched."
Last December the German government adopted the Climate Action Programme 2020, which embraces more than 100 individual measures. It is designed to ensure that Germany achieves its target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent of the 1990 level by the year 2020. Without the Action Programme, Germany would have missed this target by between 5 and 8 percentage points, according to the latest projections.
Thanks to the Climate Action Programme, Germany will be able to save greenhouse gas emissions of another 62-78 million tonnes by 2020. For this, greenhouse gas emissions will have to be reduced in many sectors including industry, agriculture, waste management, transport, building and housing, and in power generation.
Developments are positive overall, confirmed Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, at an event hosted by the Federal Press Office.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs has laid the foundations: 2.7 GW coal-fired power stations were firstly designated as reserves and then decommissioned. The Federal Ministry for the Environment sees this as the first essential step in an orderly withdrawal from coal-fired power generation, said Jochen Flasbarth.
The German government is placing its faith in regular monitoring of implementation of the Action Programme, with an annual report on progress, and on the involvement of all stakeholders – the federal states, local authorities, civil society groups and associations.
The German government launched the Climate Action Alliance with representatives of civil society. It is to help implement the Climate Action Programme 2020. The aim is to find common solutions that have the support of society as a whole.
In addition to the budget of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, funding is available from the Future Investment Programme as laid out in the supplementary budget 2015 to finance the Climate Action Programme: a sum of 450 million euros for the next three years. This is to be used primarily to encourage local authority investment in climate action programmes but also to support more climate action in businesses, medium-sized industry and trades and crafts enterprises. This will do much to help Germany achieve its climate targets.
Between 25 and 30 million tonnes of greenhouse gases are to be saved by improving the energy efficiency in buildings alone. The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, also adopted at the end of 2014, specifies how the enormous scope for savings is to be used.
The federally-owned KfW, for instance, is to do more to promote the energy-efficient renovation of buildings. KfW offers low-interest loans and subsidies to finance renovation work that will cut energy consumption in buildings. Energy-efficiency measures in buildings are also to be fostered through the tax system. Energy advisory services are to be improved and further developed.