Climate

Germany to fast-track coal exit to 2030, and 80 pct renewables under new coalition

Germany’s prospective new government has agreed to speed up the country’s coal exit and accelerate the rollout of renewable power to get the country on track for climate neutrality.

“We will align our climate, energy and economic policies nationally, in Europe and internationally with the 1.5 degree path and activate the potential at all levels of government,” states the coalition agreement between Social Democrats (SPD), Greens, and pro-business Free Democrats.

“With ambition and perseverance, we are making the country a pioneer in climate protection,” likely future chancellor Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat, said during the presentation of the coalition treaty. He added that “modernisation won’t be for free – we will invest massively so Germany can stay a world leader.”

Germany plans to become climate-neutral by 2045, but the measures implemented by the outgoing government, a coalition between chancellor Angela Merkel’s Conservatives and the SPD, are insufficient to reach that target.

The September vote had been called a “climate election” due to the high importance many voters had given the topic.

Scholz aims to be elected chancellor in the week of December 6. Prior to that, the Greens will invite all 120,000 party members to vote on the coalition agreement online. The SPD and the FDP will organise party conferences on December 4 and 5, respectively, to secure their members’ backing for the agreement.

Faster rollout of renewables

“Reaching climate targets will require an accelerated exit from coal power generation,” the coalition treaty reads. “Ideally, this will be achieved by 2030 already.”

Green Party co-leader Robert Habeck said the measures agreed by the three parties would put Germany on an emissions reduction path compatible with the Paris Climate Agreement‘s target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The coalition treaty’s “core” principle would be to reconcile prosperity with climate action, he argued.

“We have decided against setting higher climate targets in the coalition agreement, but rather formulated concrete measures,” Habeck said, adding that these measures would put the country on a 1.5 degree path.

The three parties aiming to form the next German government, said they aim to cover 80 percent of the country’s power demand with renewables by 2030, a significant increase from the current target of 65 percent. “Renewables are no longer an addition but will have to carry our supply security,” Habeck said.

The targets set by the new coalition include using two per cent of German land for onshore wind power, and ensuring that communities near renewables installations should “profit appropriately”.

The target for offshore wind – currently around 8GW – is for 30GW by 2035, 40GW by 2035 and 70GW by 2045. The solar PV target is for 200GW by 2030, compared to 54GW now. Rooftop solar will be mandatory for new commercial buildings, and “as a rule” on new private buildings.

It will aim for 10GW of hydrogen electrolyser capacity by 2030.

FDP leader Christian Lindner, who is likely to become new finance minister, said “no other industrialised country will make efforts in climate action as great as ours, this is the most ambitious programme to date” and the government would make sure that it is sufficiently funded.

At the same time, Germany would remain “an advocate of prudent financial policy,” Lindner added.

The parties also rejected calls for postponing the end of nuclear power plants. “We will stick to the nuclear exit,” their coalition agreement says.

To help the country’s famed industry to lower emissions, the future government plans to use new instruments, such as carbon contracts for difference, and support an EU-wide carbon border adjustment mechanism.

The coalition partners also said they will consider a national carbon floor price of 60 euros if the price in the EU emissions trading system falls below that limit. In the transport sector, they want to achieve a fast transition to low-emission mobility. “Our target is at least 15 million fully electric cars by 2030,” the treaty says.

The future government also agreed on considerable changes to the government architecture to implement its climate agenda. The parties plan to create a novel climate ministry that merges the energy and industry departments of the economy ministry with the environment ministry’s climate department.

First published on Clean Energy Wire. Reproduced with permission.

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