Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Germany faces ‘huge’ task of meeting energy, climate goals

Germany’s new climate minister said Tuesday that the country faces a “huge” task if it wants to achieve its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring there is enough energy for its energy-hungry industry.

BERLIN — Germany’s new climate minister said Tuesday that the country faces a “huge” task if it wants to achieve its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring enough energy for its energy-hungry industry. Does matter.

Robert Habeck, a member of the environmentalist Greens, told reporters in Berlin that Germany is on track to halve its emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels – a far cry from the government’s target of 65%.

The pandemic-related impact that allowed Germany to achieve its interim target of a 40% reduction by 2020 faded away last year, resulting in a renewed increase in emissions for 2021.

One reason for Germany’s rising emissions is its decision to close all nuclear power plants by the end of this year, increasing reliance on coal-fired power plants.

The government plans to “ideally” fill the gap in natural gas underpinning coal power by 2030 until enough renewable energy is available to meet the demands of Europe’s largest economy.

Hebeck said renewable sources such as solar and wind power currently provide about 43% of Germany’s electricity, but that share needs to nearly double to 80% by 2030. Electricity consumption is projected to increase significantly over that period as people switch from combustion-engined vehicles to electric cars, and heating homes to electric-powered heat pumps with oil, he said.

“You can see that the task is big, huge,” Hebek said.

The new centre-left government, which took power in Germany last month, plans to push forward two packages of legislation this spring and summer that include amending subsidies for renewable energy, requiring solar panels on new buildings and adjusting regulations. Including where wind turbines can be built. ,

Hebeck said he expects a “huge political debate” over the measures, but stressed that Germany risks to frame it as a tradeoff between preserving the natural landscape, protecting the economy or reducing emissions. Can’t lift. He said last year’s severe floods in West Germany, which killed nearly 200 people and devastated entire villages, showed that one could be without the other.

A report by reinsurance company Munich Re this week found that the July floods were the costliest natural disaster ever recorded in Europe.

Economists cautiously welcomed Habeck’s plans, but said Germany should do more to expand Europe’s carbon trading system to cover the transportation and heating sectors.

Some environmental groups have reacted angrily to the EU drafting plans that would allow nuclear and gas power plants to be labeled “sustainable”. Wants to promote natural gas as a “bridge technology” on the way to a carbon-free future.

On Tuesday, a group of activists placed a nuclear power plant made of cardboard in front of the office of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, holding a banner that read: “No green stamp for nuclear and gas.”

Hebek said that while he does not support the use of nuclear power, it is up to each European country to decide how it wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

Hebeck also said that it was “logical” to act on the premise that the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by Germany in the future is limited. The idea of ​​a fixed “carbon budget” is opposed by some countries, but Habeck told the Associated Press that he believes the principle should apply globally.

, . Follow up on Associated Press’s climate news coverage


Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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