Germany acknowledged that its effort to tighten its climate policy is slipping further behind schedule, adding to the risk that the European Union’s Green Deal is also delayed.
The government in Berlin said it’s set to miss by more than half a year the European Union’s deadline for submitting a plan for climate and energy policies covering the next decade. Officials are being held back by work on legislation to scrap coal as a power generation fuel and by administrative delays caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
“We’re still working on it and are in touch with the commission,” Beate Baron, spokesperson for the German Economy and Energy Ministry, said on Tuesday. “The problem is coal exit legislation. Until the legislation is through parliament, we can’t send finalized projections for national emissions reductions.”
The postponement highlights the challenges the 27-nations EU faces not only to ensure it stays on track for the existing environmental targets but also to agree a stricter target under the Green Deal. Europe wants to become the first climate-neutral continent by the middle of this century, an unprecedented objective that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants to reach by accelerating the current pace of emission cuts.
The commission wants to stiffen the 2030 greenhouse-gas reduction goal to 50% or even 55% from 1990 levels. That compares with the existing 40% target. To ensure that current targets are met, all member states were obliged to submit by the end of last year their plans for the 2021-2030 period. Those proposals are meant to show what steps they will take to reduce pollution, boost the share of renewables and increase energy efficiency. Five countries, including Germany and France, haven’t complied yet.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plan to pass legislation by May on scrapping coal faces a major hiccup after lawmakers pressed for more compensation to close some plants. The legislation sets out a road map for closing more than 100 fossil fuel plants by 2038. Because of the delay, it may not be signed off by the two chambers of the parliament before the summer recess in July.
Germany’s energy sector has to cut emissions to 175 million tons annually by 2030 from 280 million tons in 2020, according to its national climate plan. Most of that has to be borne by the coal exit.
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