Largely unspecified law: GroKo votes for a minimal climate protection solution

Largely vague law
GroKo agrees for a minimal climate protection solution

A Karlsruhe ruling forces the federal government to readjust climate protection, but the result is a law that is widely regarded as too slack. Although the CO2 reduction targets have become more ambitious, even Environment Minister Schulze admits that more would have been necessary.

For Germany, stricter guidelines for reducing CO2 emissions are to apply in the future. The Bundestag passed the new climate protection law with the majority of the coalition. Scientists, associations and the opposition criticized the lack of concrete measures to curb global warming. The new law should also be approved by the Federal Council this Friday. It stipulates that Germany should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 65 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 and by 88 percent by 2040. Greenhouse gas neutrality should be achieved by 2045 at the latest.

The change in the law became necessary following a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court. At the end of April, this had declared the previous law to be partially unconstitutional. The judges in Karlsruhe instructed the federal government to define the emission targets after 2030 in more detail in order not to endanger the freedom of future generations through climate-related restrictions.

“The Climate Protection Act will ensure that we reliably achieve the new, higher targets for 2030,” said Environment Minister Svenja Schulze from the SPD. Above all, it will be a “Herculean task” to “make our building stock climate-neutral”. Schulze also admitted that she would have wished for a more ambitious approach – with a speed limit on motorways, mandatory solar power for new buildings and a “steeper expansion path for renewable energies”. However, the Union prevented this, as did the relief of tenants from CO2 costs.

“It’s all far too little”

“We will take decisive steps so that Germany becomes a climate-neutral industrial country,” said the CSU politician Stephan Stracke in the debate. He welcomed the decision to relieve small and medium-sized companies with regard to CO2 pricing through the so-called Carbon Leakage Regulation. “They raised the targets, but unfortunately they never presented a solid plan on how to achieve these goals,” accused the Green Party leader Anton Hofreiter of the coalition. He criticized the fact that the coal phase-out “comes far too late” and “clings to” the combustion engine while the industry has long since been changing direction, as well as the insufficient progress in green electricity. In addition, Hofreiter also insisted on more social justice in climate protection.

Left-wing politician Sabine Leidig referred to the contradictions between climate targets and the constant building of new highways. Under the motto “buses and trains instead of autobahns”, she called for plans for the expansion of highways to be “trashed”. The FDP environmental expert Lukas Köhler criticized the lack of European coordination on climate protection. The AfD politician Karsten Hilse called the government plans “further steps in bondage and poverty”, and he again denied man-made climate change.

“It’s all far too little. We need systemic changes,” said climate researcher Mojib Latif on Deutschlandfunk. He criticized the climate protection law as a “Larifari law”. The federal government “missed the chance to introduce measures that would immediately and effectively protect the climate”, criticized the BUND climate expert Antje von Broock. She called for a speed limit of about 120 kilometers per hour on motorways. In addition, additional costs would have to be distributed more socially more fairly, for example through CO2 pricing.

The Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW) urged the acceleration of planning and approval procedures for more green electricity. By 2030, the installed wind energy on land has to be almost doubled to 100 gigawatts compared to 2020 and solar energy has to be almost tripled to at least 150 gigawatts.