Germany’s coalition government just announced plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 80 to 95 percent by the year 2050. The leaders reached the agreement just in time for the COP22 Climate Conference in Marrakech, and the project also includes plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by one fifth by 2030.
While the agreement does include a clause that the targets will be reviewed again in 2018, it still represents a major breakthrough. The Guardian notes that German environment minister Barbara Hendricks first presented CO2 reduction targets for various industry sectors in 2015, but they were stymied by special ministers from different parties in the coalition government. The finalized agreement does contain some compromises, including: lower reduction targets for power plants, and the loss of a planned minimum price for pollution certificates in the European Union’s carbon trading arrangement.
Despite concerns about job losses due to the phasing out of brown coal (which releases the highest amount of CO2 emissions per ton when burned), German economic minister, Sigmar Gabriel believes the plan is “a good and well-balanced solution.” Other countries will only follow in the footsteps of our very ambitious climate policy if we manage to combine the fight against climate change with the protection of industrial jobs, even in energy-intensive sectors,” Gabriel told The Guardian.
Despite that, the Association of German Industry did not like what president Ulrich Grillo called “arbitrary and tonne-high reduction targets for individual sectors.” On the other side, Greenpeace International lauded the German government for sticking to sector-specific reduction targets. “By committing to halving emissions in the energy sector, the government’s climate action plans effectively hail the phase-out of the coal industry and the end of the era of the combustion engine, said Greenpeace International climate expert, Karsten Smid.
Via The Guardian