Germany said to drop concrete targets in diluted climate bill

The federal German coalition government is expected to ratify climate legislation expunged of concrete climate goals Wednesday.
Photo: Senvion/Joerg Boethling, Hamburg, Germany
Photo: Senvion/Joerg Boethling, Hamburg, Germany

Germany's federal coalition government is expected to ratify new climate legislation Wednesday, significantly diluted relative to the parties' original proposal, reports German media Der Spiegel.

The final bill proposed by the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) thus omits any specific reduction targets for CO2 emissions ahead to 2040.

Limiting global rising global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius, the maximum acceptable level set by the UN, requires cutting emissions.

The bill is also devoid of any binding pledge for Germany to attain CO2 neutrality from 2050. Instead the law stipulates that this target should be pursued, the media writes.

Controls on emissions are also apparently forecast to be weaker than initially expected. Earlier considerations entailed establishing a climate council to submit an annual progress report on limiting emissions, but this is no longer included in the version of the bill seen by Der Spiegel.

The media reports that the bill was modified following pressure from Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Last year, conservative CDU and its sister party, the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), settled to an agreement to renew the coalition with the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) following drawn-out negotiations.

The coalition parties failed to reach an agreement on new carbon levies. SPD wants to implement these in form of taxes, while the other two prefer a quota-trading system.

Balancing the country's economy is cited as one of the factors behind an accord being difficult to achieve.

A new survey shows that only one in three Germans are willing to pay to for climate change mitigation, for instance, in the form of higher energy prices. Only one in five are willing to pay a carbon tax, Danish public service media DR reported in September.

English Edit: Daniel Frank Christensen

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