Germany outlines radical climate plans

Some of Germany’s largest government departments have outlined ambitious plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Germany’s economy, transport and construction ministries presented emergency programmes to cut emissions in construction and transport.

The move comes after two sectors missed their 2021 carbon-dioxide reduction targets, threatening the country’s 2030 overall climate goals.

The new coalition government last year presented plans to step up climate protection efforts that entail far-reaching reforms for the utility sector and across manufacturing industries, buildings, transport and agriculture.

However, in March, Germany’s Environment Agency said CO2 emission in the country’s transport sector were at 148.1 million tonnes last year, missing its targeted 145 million tonnes.

So far, transport, which accounted for 19% of Germany’s greenhouse emissions in 2021, has been Germany’s slowest sector in its attempt to reduce emissions.

 Last year, the sector’s emissions were down 9.4% compared with 1990.

The construction sector emitted 115 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents last year, also missing its targeted 112 million tonnes.

The ministries had a 13 July  deadline to present a programme to ensure that sector would comply with annual emission targets in coming years.

The transport emergency programme pushes for expanding refuelling and charging infrastructure for passenger and commercial vehicles and expands the funding for heavy commercial vehicles and cycling paths.

It also earmarks an additional EUR250 million euros for cycling infrastructure by 2030 and will support a ‘digitisation push’ to promote working from home as a way to cut transport emissions.

The measures could save around 13 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents by 2030 in transport, compensating for the 2021 shortfall, the transport ministry said.

For construction, an emergency plan will oblige all newly installed heating systems in Germany to be operated with 65% renewable energy from 2024.

The government also plans to increase renovations of public buildings to become more energy efficient.

The plan provides incentives for switching fossil heating networks to renewable energies and for new heating networks that produce at lease 75% of heat from renewables and waste heat.