With efforts to achieve the Paris climate change agreements committed in December 2015, Germany has become the first country to approve and release a new long-term plan to reduce CO2 emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change until 2050.
The Climate Protection Plan 2050, was announced by the German Cabinet at the recently held COP22 Climate Summit in Marrakesh, Morocco.
According to Climate Action, this long-term strategy is essential to achieve the Paris Agreement’s target of limiting global warming to 1.5-2 degrees C, and it also set a framework for shorter-term climate goals.
The German Cabinet said: “With the decision to build a new coal-fired power station, the expectation would be to make money in the next 30 years. Against the backdrop of German and international climate protection targets, this is certainly no longer realistic.… The Federal Government wants to provide incentives for investment in climate-friendly technologies, buildings and infrastructure.”
CO2 reduction plan
Climate Action reported that the new plan specifies new greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets per sector: 61 to 62% reduction from 1990 levels by 2030 for the energy sector, 66 to 67% for buildings, 40 to 42% for transport, 49 to 51% for industry, 31 to 34% for agriculture and 87% for ‘other’.
“The plan also looks at the different economic sectors separately, including the need for climate-neutral buildings, building energy standards and renewable heating systems, and the need for low-carbon infrastructure and electric mobility,” Climate Action said.
Adding: “There have been criticisms about the lack of clarity on some issues, such as the lack of specific dates by which coal will be phased out, or the lack of specific measures to achieve the new targets.
“Thanks to an annual report, the progress of the GHG reduction plan will be monitored, in order for the country to adjust anything that needs to be changed on a yearly basis.”
R&D critical to expansion
Research and development will be central to the implementation of the plan, and the plan will be updated regularly according to technical progress and economic development.
It is hoped that the example of Germany will encourage other nations to develop and release their long-term climate action plans.
In addition, Chancellor Merkel has initiated the German energy transition – the Energiewende, which involves a shift from nuclear and fossil fuels to renewables after the Fukushima accident, Climate Action noted.