Federal Cabinet adopts draft of climate change act
The Federal Cabinet initiated the climate change act today, on the basis of a proposal from Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze. The act contains binding climate targets for every year and every sector. Germany is now the first country with this kind of a binding roadmap towards greenhouse gas neutrality. Should one sector veer off course, a binding adjustment mechanism will take effect and serve as a safety net. Germany’s target of becoming greenhouse gas neutral by 2050 will be laid down in law for the first time. The act will now proceed to parliament where it will be debated.
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze commented: "We decided to make Germany's climate targets legally binding for the first time. From now on, there will be clear provisions for what happens if a sector deviates from the agreed climate action path and who is responsible for taking corrective measures. We are learning from past mistakes. We cannot allow Germany to fall short of its climate target again. The climate change act will fundamentally improve the way the Federal Government cooperates on climate action. From now on, all of the ministries will be climate action ministries."
The climate change act, for the first time, sets legally binding limits on how much CO2 each sector is allowed to emit per year. Precisely quantified and verifiable sectoral targets are defined for every year from 2020 to 2030. Every sector will also be monitored every year to see whether it emits too much CO2. The German Environment Agency and an independent council of experts will be responsible for monitoring. In the case that a sector deviates from the reduction path, the climate change act obliges the responsible ministries to take immediate action. The climate change act thus guarantees that the cross-sectoral 2030 climate target (minus 55 per cent CO2 compared to 1990) will be achieved.
In addition, the act will anchor Germany's target of greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050 in law for the first time. Until now, Germany's 2050 target was to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 to 95 per cent. The new target sends a clear signal to all sectors to prepare in good time for a fossil-free economy. The agreement includes provisions that the Federal Government must define annually falling emission quantities for the post-2030 period, which will plot a course for 2050 greenhouse gas neutrality in detail.
The Federal Cabinet also adopted the Climate Action Programme 2030 today. This programme is based on the key issues adopted by the Climate Cabinet on 20 September, but is more in-depth. The programme includes numerous extensive measures that are to be introduced by the end of this year via cabinet decision. It was also agreed to solicit evaluations of the climate benefits of the programme from two independent experts. The findings of the evaluation will be made public.