Germany’s flagship green energy policy is in tatters, according to a new report by the consultancy firm McKinsey which says many of its goals are “no longer realistic”.
Angela Merkel was hailed as the ‘Klimakanzlerin’, or ‘Climate Chancellor’ in 2010 when her government placed Germany at the forefront of the battle against climate change and announced ambitious plans to move to renewable energy sources.
But the McKinsey report says Germany is so far behind its key commitment to cut CO2 emissions that it is no longer realistically achievable.
Mrs Merkel’s government has committed to cut CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. To achieve that, McKinsey argues, Germany would have to cut emissions by an average of 3.5 per cent a year.
But so far, they have only fallen at an average of 0.7 per cent a year, leaving Germany so far behind it would have to increase emissions cuts by a factor of five to reach its target on time.
“Despite the massive expansion of renewable energies, achieving the key objectives of the energy revolution in Germany by 2020 is no longer realistic” says the report.
“If you can’t achieve your own targets, you can hardly be a credible advocate for stricter CO2 cuts in Europe or elsewhere in the world,” said a comment piece in Welt newspaper.
A major factor in the failure to achieve targeted cuts has been Germany’s increased use of “dirty” brown coal, or lignite, to make up the shortfall in power generation caused by its decision to phase out all its nuclear power stations by 2022.
The aim is replace nuclear energy with renewable sources, such as solar and wind power, but they have not yet been able to plug the gap, and the McKinsey report says that while solar energy is on track, the country is behind schedule in developing wind power.
The expensive switchover has also left Germans with some of the highest energy bills in Europe. Household electricity prices are 46 per cent above the European average and rising, according to McKinsey.
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