Cabinet adopts climate and energy package
In its closed meeting in Meseberg on Thursday evening the Federal Cabinet adopted the climate and energy package submitted by the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Federal Environment Ministry. Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel described the adoption of the key items as a turning point in climate protection policy. "With the 30 concrete individual measures in the package we are starting out on a road which will bring us to our climate protection goal. We will reduce our CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990. Germany thus retains its position as pioneer in international climate protection." Under the agreements of the Cabinet in Meseberg the programme will be adopted by the Cabinet as a legislative package and introduced into the Bundestag before the climate change conference in Bali in December.
Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel went on to say:
"The climate protection package adopted by the Cabinet is something new: over the coming months we want to implement thirty detailed measures for the protection of the climate. All the main areas of trade and industry and society are affected by climate change and will make their contribution. Never before has our country had such a comprehensive and far-reaching climate and energy package."
Gabriel stressed 4 important points contained in the package:
- 1. We are massively expanding the share of renewable energies in accordance with the recommendations of the Federal Environment Ministry. For electricity from renewables we have agreed an expansion target of 25-30 percent by 2020. We have also agreed to increase the share of renewables in the heat sector to 14 percent by 2020. A biogas feed-in act rounds off the measures relating to renewables. In this way we are ensuring that there is an increased use of biogas as a fuel and in power plants in future.
- 2. We are massively expanding the environmentally friendly and particularly efficient generation of electricity and heat in combined heat and power (CHP) plants. With an amendment to the law we aim to achieve our long-stated aim of doubling the share of CHP in electricity generation by 2020, to 25 percent. This is bolstered by an average funding volume of 750 million euro. The expansion of local and distance heating is included in the support with an investment grant of up to 20 percent and a volume of 150 million euro.
- 3. We are striding ahead with more stringent requirements for energy efficiency in buildings. In a first step the energy requirements for buildings will be raised by 30 percent in the coming year (2008), with another 30 percent increase by 2012. This provides a major impetus for the construction industry and gives tenants substantial savings in their heating costs. In existing buildings we plan to lay down minimum energy standards for building owners which will specifically define their maintenance obligations. If, for example, tenants are heating the outside air as a result of thin walls and single glazing, we aim to ensure that they are entitled to reduce their heating payments. Furthermore, the successful Building Modernisation Programme will be continued and given further funding.
- 4. The budget figures clearly demonstrate how seriously the German government takes climate protection: we are dramatically increasing funding for climate protection. For the budget year 2008, a total of 2.6 billion euro (including up to 400 million euro from the auction of emissions allowances) are available from the federal budget for climate protection. In the total federal budget this is over 1.8 billion euros more than in the budget for 2005 – an increase of around 200 percent!
Some people still claim that environmental protection kills employment, but in fact the opposite is true. The rapid growth of renewable energies has already created around 200,000 jobs. The measures in our climate package will also bring a two-fold benefit: by reducing CO2 emissions, using resources efficiently and reducing our dependence on the oil sheiks we are protecting the climate; at the same time we are creating jobs in trades, industry and the business sector by triggering investments in energy efficiency and modernisation, developing our technological lead and ensuring economic growth.
"In the coming weeks and months," said Gabriel, "we will work swiftly to implement this ambitious programme. We aim to have the individual points in the legislative package adopted by the Cabinet and introduced into the Bundestag before the climate change conference in Bali. By implementing these key points before the Bali conference, the Federal government intends to show that Germany is meeting its climate protection responsibilities and takes its leading role in this field seriously. Only if we do this can we expect others to be willing to fulfil their climate protection obligations.