Angela Merkel Caves In After Her MPs Climate Rebellion

  • Date: 14/05/20
  • Climate Energy Wire & EurActiv

German chancellor Angela Merkel has said EU member states will have to re-negotiate their contributions to greenhouse gas emission reductions in sectors not covered by the Emissions Trading System (ETS) in case the bloc decides to raise its 2030 climate target.

“For me it is obvious that we need to have new negotiations about effort sharing,” the chancellor told national parliament (Bundestag). She added that if Europe wanted to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050, all member states would have to raise their ambition, also those who contribute less so far. “It would be tactically unwise to say we’ll contribute what we’ve always done without asking the others and even before having a proposal by the European Commission.”

Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance said a “fair” allocation of greenhouse gas emissions reduction efforts is a prerequisite to raising the joint 2030 climate target. “Our European partners must contribute to reaching the climate target with comparable efforts,” the parliamentary group wrote in a position paper supporting the European Green Deal. The MPs call for “quickly” expanding the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to the transport and buildings sectors – with a small group of pioneer countries doing so already by the mid-2020s. The conservatives said supplementary emissions reduction efforts in third countries should count towards reaching an ambitious European goal.

The coronavirus crisis has “fundamentally changed the situation for political action” and the EU’s Green Deal, said the paper. The latter had to be designed to support the management of the crisis, not hinder it. The MPs put a lot of emphasis on safeguarding a strong economy and call for example for “a European industry power price” in light of high electricity costs.

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Coalition Partner, Greens Accuse Merkel’s MPs Of ‘Stabbing Her In The Back’

In a position paper, Germany’s conservative CDU/CSU parliamentary group opposed increasing the EU’s climate target to 55% by 2030. While this has been the cause for much criticism from other parties, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats do not believe this contradicts her words. 

In the 13-page document, a draft version of which has been circulating in recent days, the Christian Democrats take a very critical stance on the proposed increase in climate targets for 2030.

Even the current climate targets already represent a “huge challenge,” they write. Increasing the current 40% emissions reduction target for 2030 would only be conceivable if the burden-sharing effort among EU member states were changed, the document adds.

The first draft programme of Germany’s EU Presidency contains mainly empty wording. There are no concrete goals for the Green Deal, with new initiatives only in the case of hydrogen. The coronavirus pandemic is to blame. EURACTIV Germany reports. 

Kai Niebert, the president of the environmental umbrella organisation Deutscher Naturschutzring, has accused the CDU/CSU of bypassing the will of most citizens with its demands. A parliamentary group that refuses to accept the scientifically necessary changes promised by the chancellor herself must ask itself “whether it makes politics for itself or for the country.”

“The [CDU/CSU] Union is acting negligently by calling into question the EU’s climate goals and endangering Paris,” former Green MEP Franziska Brantner, now a member of the Bundestag, told EURACTIV Germany. With Germany’s EU Council Presidency starting in July, the government must make ambitious goals possible instead of torpedoing them, she added.

The CDU/CSU’s coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) took a similar view, calling the position paper a stab in the back for the chancellor.

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