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Germany: Spirit of Optimism

Germany's new Minister for Economic Affairs, Robert Habeck, has taken stock of the country's position in the climate crisis. Unsurprisingly, the results are quite sobering. At the same time, however, the minister spreads a spirit of optimism.

In the coming months, the Ministry has many tasks (Image: Pixabay)In the coming months, the Ministry has many tasks (Image: Pixabay)

The Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, Robert Habeck (The Green Party) did not bring good news to the press conference on his opening statement on climate protection: "This will not surprise you: We are not starting at the finish line, but with a considerable backlog. The climate protection measures to date are inadequate in all sectors. It is foreseeable that the climate targets for 2022 and 2023 will be missed. But we are making every effort to make up the shortfall. To do so, we need to triple the pace of our emissions reductions and do significantly more in less time." If this does not happen, it is already likely that Germany will miss its climate protection targets for 2030, too, he said. Thus immediate extensive measures are needed, which will be addressed in the coming months. "We are now putting the priority laws, regulations and measures on track - a first climate protection package will arrive by the end of April, a second in summer", Habeck explained.

The announcements were met with broad approval in the wind industry: "We share the assessment that a binding area target must be defined and implemented in all federal states. In terms of energy economics, the expansion of wind energy is needed in all federal states. This expansion cannot be delegated. Especially the high-consumption southeast and southwest have to catch up very quickly in terms of new construction," said Hermann Albers, president of the German wind energy association BWE, in an initial reaction to Habeck's remarks. "The wind energy industry wants to get back to work and is highly optimistic. We stand ready to support policymakers in achieving their goals."

The solar industry is also in the starting blocks to implement the plans. BSW Solar CEO Carsten Körnig commented, "The new German government seems to have recognized the key role of solar energy in solving the climate crisis and the urgency of course corrections. The industry has high expectations of it and hopes for a rapid unleashing of solar energy. What matters now is that the announced solar acceleration package quickly removes key market barriers."

Wind and solar sectors approach 2022 with renewed vigor (Image: Pixabay)

Habeck's plans were also well received by environmental organizations. At the same time, however, they reminded him of the need to protect species and nature, especially when it comes to the areas that will be made available for the expansion of renewables.

Greenpeace  drew a parallel to the current pandemic situation: "There is a sense of optimism in the air. With an initial package of immediate measures, Robert Habeck is giving the struggling German energy transition an urgently needed booster," said Lisa Göldner, Greenpeace climate expert. At the same time, she also takes the rest of the ministries of the 'traffic light coalition' to task: "If Habeck now significantly accelerates the expansion of solar and wind, this is also the signal to his cabinet colleagues to immediately put together further emergency packages for the areas of transport, agriculture and construction. This is the only way Germany can finally end its dependence on fossil fuels and get on course for 1.5 degrees."

Katrin Radtke
Germany, energy transtion, Robert Habeck, press conference, wind, solar, renewable energy, industry, optimism, climate goal, target

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