German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on May 6 that her coalition government will amend its climate law and pull forward the deadline for reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions to 2045. The revised target date is five years earlier compared with the original target date of 2050. Moreover, a set of legislative reforms are expected to be unveiled soon. They include the short- and medium-term goals of a reduction in domestic greenhouse gas emissions to 65% below the 1990 level by 2030 and a further reduction to 88% by 2040. The original 2030 goal was 55% below the 1990 level.
The 2021 Petersberger Climate Dialogue was held in Berlin from May 6 to 7. It was a virtual conference of policymakers from around the world for promoting actions to address global warming. Speaking at the event, Chancellor Merkel said that her government passed the Federal Climate Change Act several years ago. Since then, it has been providing the legal support and policy framework for pursuing initiatives that will bring about carbon neutrality. However, Chancellor Merkel also admitted that Germany’s climate law now needs to undergo significant revisions.
The country’s Federal Constitutional Court has recently ruled against the constitutionality of the Federal Climate Act as it offers no concrete steps to substantially cut down greenhouse gas emissions before 2050. In other words, the law is unconstitutional not because it has bound Germany to the Paris Agreement but because it is not doing enough to meet the obligations of the international climate treaty.
With the federal election coming up, Chancellor Merkel and other German officials have all stated that there will be specific and ambitious plans to lower emissions and move the country toward net zero. The ruling from the court is expected to lead to substantial adjustments of emission targets across different sectors of the economy.
In her speech at the Peterberger Climate Dialogue, Chancellor Merkel emphasized the need for international cooperation in the area of climate change. She added that dealing with global warming involves more than just the development and deployment of technologies that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Efforts have to be made on helping communities become more resilient against the effects of extreme weathers. Chancellor Merkel also noted that Germany has raised its contribution to the UN’s Green Climate Fund to EUR 1.5 billion and will continue to support international climate finance after 2020 as per the Paris Agreement. She added that the data related to the state of our planet indicate that more has to be done, so promises made by governments have to be kept.
The Petersberger Climate Dialog is an informal ministerial meeting and lead-up to the UN Climate Change Conference that will be take place this November in Glasgow, Scotland. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dialog was held online for two days. Various new agencies have reported that Merkel will discuss new climate financing targets in the post-2025 period at the UN Climate Change Conference. While the governments of some of the world’s wealthiest countries have repeatedly stated that they are contributing their fair shares of the funding, some observers contend that they have not lived up to their commitments.