The inadequate in pursuit of the out-of-date: Germany’s coal exit must be revised by 2020
Germany's Coal Commission has ignored essential review guidelines of the national climate targets with regard to the Paris Agreement. The commission's plan must be revised already by 2020, alongside the EU's and Germany's targets.
(Article also available in German)
Bitte bring mich zu der deutschen Version des Artikels
The recommendation to keep burning coal for electricity in Germany until 2038, put foward by the government-appointed commission, was met with wide and well-founded criticism for being out of step with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C – something Germany has agreed to do by ratifying the Paris Agreement. Being Paris-compatible, however, was never its mandate. The Commission’s plan refers solely to Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050, adopted in 2016. This plan in its current version builds on the previously agreed 2030 emission reduction target (at least 55% by 2030 relative to 1990) and includes a corresponding 2030 target for the energy sector: a reduction of 61-62% by 2030 relative to 1990.
These targets are not in line with the requirements of the Paris Agreement, a fact explicitly recognised in the Plan, which states that the EU’s 2030 target, and thus Germany’s overall 2030 target, will have to be reviewed and updated “in light of the long-term targets of the Paris Agreement”(See page 23). The Climate Action Plan 2050 revision cycle is explicitly linked to the Paris Agreement ratcheting up cycle – with the first revision by the end 2019/beginning of 2020 at the latest (See page 78).
Ignoring these review cycles in the coal commission’s mandate, process and final report, and instead using a non-Paris compatible 2030 target as benchmark, is a fundamental flaw of the process.
The commission’s proposal comes at a critical time for the EU and global climate protection. Current emission reduction pledges are vastly insufficient to achieve Paris Agreement goals and would lead to a warming of 3°C or more by the end of the century. In its landmark report, the IPCC states with ‘high confidence’ that pathways with insufficient emissions reductions until 2030, like the one proposed by the commission, would lock out limiting warming to 1.5°C.<
In light of the need for global action, the European Union is in the spotlight. Several EU member states have already committed to increasing ambition and, among those with a phase out target for coal, no country has set a date later than 2030. At the same time, the EU parliament has called for a strengthening of the European 2030 target from 40% to 55% in line with pursuing the 1.5°C limit of the Paris Agreement. What’s more, the EU is taking steps towards setting a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and recently presented a strategic long-term vision. This is in line with the greenhouse gas neutrality target in Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050.
Scaling up emission cutting measures on the EU level is in full swing and, according to its mandate, the German climate action plan will need to be revised accordingly.
The coal commission’s timetable must reflect these ongoing reviews and it’s recommendation to first revisit the coal phase-out plan in 2023 is insufficient. Rather, it is clear that the German coal phase out plan needs to be revised in line with any updates of the EU and national climate targets to come forward by 2020.
COP28: social and economic metrics could serve as stepping stone for Global Goal on Adaptation
As work on shaping the Global Goal on Adaptation culminates this week at COP28, we explore if social and economic metrics could be used as proxies for a country’s ability to adapt.
Safeguards and exit points for the World Bank as host of the Loss and Damage Fund
An agreement was reached to establish the World Bank as the interim host of the Loss and Damage Fund. Developing countries signed up to this on certain conditions. We unpack the safeguards put in place and look at the three points at which the Fund could exit the World Bank.
Beetaloo gas field is a climate bomb. How did CSIRO modelling make it look otherwise?
The fossil gas industry is gearing up for a truly enormous new fracking project in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin that could undo all Australia's efforts to cut emissions.
From droughts to floods: how Eastern African countries are responding to the rising El Niño and Indian Ocean Dipole
The Horn of Africa looks set to go from one disaster to another as floods intensified by a rising El Niño and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole are predicted to follow a prolonged drought. We take a look at climate policies in the region and what countries are doing to prepare for compound extreme events.
The just transition looks different for small islands – their voices must be heard
The concept of a just transition is gaining momentum, yet it’s too often viewed through a developed country lens in international climate talks and discussions often ignore the links to climate justice. The unique concerns of small islands must be heard to ensure the just transition works for all.
Overshoot Commission’s veneer of neutrality is solar radiation modification PR by stealth
Calls for a moratorium on solar radiation modification (SRM) today by the Overshoot Commission seem sensible – such sun-blocking technologies are highly risky. Yet in the same breath, the Commission appears to encourage moratorium-busting SRM testing, begging the question – is their new report a trojan horse?
Loss and damage: two options in play for fund’s makeup
There are currently two options on the table for the loss and damage fund’s structure – ‘programmatic’ and ‘responsive’. We reflect on the pros and cons of each.
El Niño is contributing to the hottest temperatures ever recorded – what does this mean for the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit?
Extreme weather is raging across the northern hemisphere. Our experts explain the implications of the emerging El Niño for our changing climate.