Ministers set target for Germany to be climate neutral by 2045

By Fatima Abbas and Ulrich Steinkohl, dpa

Germany will set a new target of being climate neutral by 2045, Environment Minister Svenja Schulze and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday.

“There is unanimity in the government” over the changes, Schulze said in reference to the plans to ensure that Germany will have no net greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

The “ambitious” climate law would be presented to the Cabinet next week, Scholz said, calling the new goals “achievable.” Intensive talks were taking place within the government, he said. He and Schulze belong to the Social Democrats, the centre-left junior partner in the governing coalition.

The proposed change to existing legislation comes after the Constitutional Court last week ruled the country’s climate protection laws were not extensive enough. The ruling forced the government to set clear targets to cut emissions in the post-2030 period.

These targets include a new national target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 65 per cent by 2030, relative to the 1990 figures. The previous target was 55 per cent.

In addition, a new target for 2040 has been set of cutting emissions by 88 per cent.

Speaking after the announcement, Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We will do our utmost to achieve the target of climate neutrality by 2045.”

Additional measures would have to be taken, she told an online meeting of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) with their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU).

The details of the plans have yet to be agreed with the conservative parties that form the majority in Merkel’s broad coalition but are expected to be passed by the Cabinet over the weeks ahead.

Also on Wednesday, the Cabinet initiated a strategy for “sustainable finance” made up of 26 measures to make the financial sector more sustainable.

The aim is to incentivize investment in curbing emissions and promoting sustainable business practices.

It will include a sustainability stamp of approval for financial products to allow investors to target their investments and compel larger companies to issue reports on their sustainability.

The state is also to review its investments in this light.

“Safeguarding the climate and sustainability will become a guiding principle, and that is significant, as the financial markets can shift trillions of euros in that direction,” Scholz said.

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