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Comment: Climate Protection? No, Thanks...

Germany is currently facing harsh criticism from all sides. The reason: The country‘s climate protection policy is failing – in a spetacular way!

Image: PixabayImage: Pixabay

The former pioneer in climate protection has become a whipping boy. The German Government has published the current Climate Protection Report for 2017 yesterday and is now facing a huge shitstorm.

And rightly so, because the record is devastating. The country is failing to reach its climate protection targets for 2020 in a massive way. The targeted reduction in CO2 emissions alone is eight percent lower than planned. Instead of 40 percent compared to the output of 1990, Germany only achieves 32 percent.

"Now we do have it in cold print: the German government's climate policy has failed and is nothing but a stalling tactic. The Climate Protection Report 2017 is a document of the failure of the 2020 climate target," comments Lisa Badum, spokesperson for climate protection of the Green Party.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) admits the failure, but – as so often in politics – blames her predecessors: "In recent decades there have been shortcomings in climate policy that cannot be remedied in a short time. We urgently need to get back on track and reach our 40 percent milestone as soon as possible. It is also important that we learn from the past for the next stage. Here we need clear and binding guidelines for each sector. The good thing is that we know the instruments that lead to the goal – renewable energies or electric mobility, for example."

Knowing doesn’t equal using though. Or how else can one explain the current criticism that has meanwhile come from the EU? Germany has just received a warning letter from the EU Commission criticizing the implementation of the European directive on the construction of electric, gas and hydrogen filling stations. There is a threat of infringement proceedings with heavy fines if the expansion of electric car charging stations is not swiftly promoted in Germany.

"It is becoming embarrassing that the European Commission must repeatedly remind the German government to do its own political homework," commented Anton Hofreiter, leader of the Green Party parliamentary group in the Bundestag, according to ecomento.

The European Wind Energy Association WindEurope has also criticized Germany in recent days: Too much bureaucracy when awarding certificates of origin for green electricity. As a result, large IT companies in particular prefer to build their power-hungry data centers abroad. Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, criticized the government in saying that the German wind energy industry is - again - missing out on a lot of business opportunities.

However, instead of rolling up its sleeves, the German government continues to bear its own failure to the outside world: Economics and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier recently caught the attention of the EU Energy Council by standing up with Poland and the Czech Republic for the weakest possible EU energy and climate targets that are not suitable for achieving the Paris Climate Protection Targets. Lisa Badum criticized that this would leave partners like France out in the rain.

It seems that the government is currently focusing on other issues though. If you take a look at the German public opinion, you get an impression: refugees, safety concerns, the AfD party, Donald Trump – at best all together at once and apparently more important than climate protection.

It's a good thing the World Cup starts today though. Then nobody will talk about politics anyhow!

K. Radtke
Germany, climate protection, targets, goals, Paris, CO2, emmissions

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