With emergency measures, Germany’s economics minister hopes to accelerate climate action

Germany’s new economy and climate minister, Robert Habeck, intends to jumpstart the government’s ambitious goals for rapid emissions reduction and energy transition development in the coming years with a package of immediate steps, according to news agency dpa and news website t-online. According to the story, which cites ministry sources, Green Party minister Habeck, who is also the incoming vice chancellor, plans to bring a first package of laws and actions to the cabinet in April. The governing coalition has vowed a comprehensive emergency plan to bring Germany on track to meet its climate commitments by the end of the year. According to ministry sources, Germany would have to quadruple the rate of emissions reductions compared to the previous decade, a job that would be equivalent to an “ultra-marathon.” On Tuesday, January 11th, Habeck will provide an “opening balance” on the condition of the country’s energy transition and climate protection measures.

Due to a “drastic backlog” generated by the previous administration, Habeck indicated last month that Germany will most likely fail part of this year’s emissions reduction objectives, as well as those in 2023. The first set of steps would include a revision of Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG), as well as an increase in the amount of renewable power auctions, according to the report. In order to overcome disagreements with nearby communities and other interest groups opposed to specific wind and solar power projects, building renewables will become a measure of “overriding public interest.” Minimum installation distances from communication infrastructure will be reconsidered, and environmental protection will be “reconciled” with the growth of energy infrastructure. Habeck also wants to set aside 2% of Germany’s land area for wind power generation and implement a “Solar Acceleration Act” as well as a climate-neutral building policy.

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The Greens, Social Democrats (SPD), and Free Democrats (FDP) have formed a new alliance with the goal of increasing renewable energy usage to 80% by 2030. It was around 42 percent in 2021. At the same time, Habeck’s ministry forecasts electricity consumption to climb from around 560 terrawatt hours (TWh) now to 715 TWh by 2030, compared to 660 TWh estimated by the previous government.

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