Climate Help Wanted: Germany

Germany is in the middle of difficult coalition talks following the September elections. Climate policy is one of the areas where there still is no agreement.

The negotiations in Warsaw would really benefit from a bit of leadership from developed countries, and in particular the EU. But EU leadership is hard to mobilize without full engagement of the EU's largest economy. That's why this morning, around 80 NGOs from all over the world are sending an open letter to politicians involved in the coalition negotiations in Berlin, reminding them that Germany must show true climate leadership.

The letter reminds German political leaders of the devastating impacts of Super Typhoon Haiyan and other extreme weather events that should serve as a wake-up call for urgent climate action. It also acknowledges the success of Germany's Energiewende, the country's ambitious plan to increase renewable energy and energy efficiency. But the letter notes that ‘to ensure the Energiewende's continued success and create a new dynamic at the international level’, Germany now needs to ‘set a strong and ambitious framework domestically and at the European Union (EU) level’.

The letter continues: ‘In March of next year, EU heads of state and government will decide on 2030 climate and energy targets. We expect you to support the necessary targets to ensure the EU makes a fair contribution to keeping temperature rise below 2°C while keeping 1.5°C within reach. What is needed is an EU target of at least 55% domestic emissions reductions compared to 1990 levels by 2030 combined with ambitious and binding renewable energy and energy consumption targets. A target of 40% would fall short of EU’s fair share of the global effort, and could in practice mean only 33% actual domestic emission cuts by 2030, due to the amount of surplus allowances in the system. An ambitious 2030 target should be the basis for the needed structural reform of the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) and an adjusted climate target for 2020’.

The letter reminds German leaders that we need a strong signal to increase budget expenditures for promised climate change adaptation and mitigation until 2020, and that a binding domestic climate law could provide certainty to investors, enable a smooth transition domestically, and also build trust and credibility internationally.

The letter concludes: "We need countries which inspire the global transformation of our energy systems. Germany could and should do this. The world is watching you." 

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