Germany’s CO2 Reductions “Fetish” Causing National Policy Turmoil: Economics And Environment Ministries Collide

Daniel Wetzel of the German online flagship daily Die Welt here tells readers the real reason why Chancellor Angela Merkel is sticking to the “senseless” and now impossible to reach CO2 emissions reduction target of 40% for Germany by 2020:

She can sit back and enjoy watching her coalition partner SPD ministers rip themselves apart trying to implement it.”

Already we are seeing a nasty collision developing between Merkel’s Economics Minister, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who calls the shutting down of coal power plnats an illusion, and Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, who insists that the coal power plants need to be shut down rapidly. Both ministers are SPD socialists.

Wetzel writes: “The traditional confrontation between the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Economics is taking on absurd traits.”

Now that both of these ministries are run by members of the coalition partner SPD, it is hardly possible for the SPD party to achieve any sense of unity – strife is inevitable. Merkel is skillfully implementing a “divide and conquer” strategy.

Wetzel writes there is virtually no chance Germany will reach the 40% reduction target, citing McKinsey:

Experts of McKinsey Consulting and other institutes have made calculations for the German government showing that the chances reaching these extremely ambitious reduction targets are close to zero.”

Die Welt says it has obtained a government list of 28 power plants that would need to be shut down in order to achieve the 40% target.

The problem is that closing these plants would mean the gutting out of some power companies, such as North Rhine Westphalia power giant RWE. North Rhine Westphalia is Germany’s most polpulated state and is currently governed by a coalition led by the SPD, who are in no hurry to anger the powerful trade unions. Read here.

Also a government move ordering the early closure of power plants would lead to lawsuits by power companies, who would demand billions in compensatory damages. Economics Minister Gabriel not only sees little technical and environmental sense in shutting down the power plants, but also thinks the political risks are too high. Die Welt writes:

Such an approach would also endanger the power supply and increase the prices of power for industry.

Thus in any case it remains open as to how the German government wants to reach its 40 percent CO2 reduction target. […] The 40% target as mere ‘political symbolism” or ‘a fetish’ is increasingly the word among ministry circles.”

Die Welt adds that the 40% reduction target was established in 2007, a time of ambitious aims. But since then the European Emissions Trading scheme has adopted new rules that apply to Europe, and not to individual countries. Also Germany abruptly mothballed a number of older nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima accident, thus radically altering the overall power and policy landscape.

Die Welt quotes Jürgen Hacker, Chairman of the German Association for Emissions Trading and Climate Protection (BVEK):

The national German policy no longer has any direct influence on the emissions of German plants, as they are subject to emissions trading. It is thus pure nonsense to want to include them in a national German climate protection target.”


13 responses to “Germany’s CO2 Reductions “Fetish” Causing National Policy Turmoil: Economics And Environment Ministries Collide”

  1. DirkH

    “The national German policy no longer has any direct influence on the emissions of German plants, as they are subject to emissions trading. It is thus pure nonsense to want to include them in a national German climate protection target.”

    And that’s EXACTLY why it will be done… As I said before, the noble intention counts, not results!

    1. DirkH

      …Durch die Bank

  2. L Michael Hohmann

    Apart from the sheer impossibility of man-made global warming [as in ] here looms something far more serious coming our way:

  3. Kevin Marshall (Manicbeancounter)

    What will happen is a political compromise. The German government will go on promoting “clean” energy policy and building coal-fired power stations. Behind the scenes they could also do with some people to redefine the ways of estimating CO2 emissions.

  4. Josh

    Music to the ears. I have long suspected that the German political establishment (Fritz Vahrenholt a notable exception) were out of touch with reality. They are all going to be found out.

  5. Bernd Felsche

    Looks like the “Environemnt” [sic] Ministry is already the worse off for wear. 😉

    I wish I could spot my own spelling misteaks as easily.

  6. yonason

    The real danger of AGW is obviously not to the climate, but to world economies and social cohesion. It has nothing to do with the imaginary effect we allegedly have on nature, but because a bunch of greedy malicious fools are crying “FIRE” in a crowded world, in the hope of profiting from the ensuing panic.

  7. DirkH

    SPD PM of NRW, Hannelore Kraft, leader of a Red-Green coalition, busy flattening all hilltops in NRW to install wind turbines, takes side of SPD vice chancellor Gabriel, says, coal power plants should not be closed down.

  8. DirkH

    German leftists demand that Swedish government should demolish the German Vattenfall Lignite power plants (Vattenfall is owned by Swedish state) instead of selling them, to make sure they are never used again.
    German leftists also demand expropriation of German energy concerns. “Before their value has declined to zero”. In other words – first destroy the energy market with subsidies, then expropriate struggling energy providers BECAUSE they are struggling. Problem, reaction, solution.
    Telepolis is not always Stalinist, but in this case they are:

  9. DirkH

    While the SPD’s Gabriel and Kraft insist on coal power, the SPD’s Hendricks spends taxpayer money to broadcast a series of advertisements to convince the populace to save miniscule amounts of electricity and feel smug about it.

    I’d rather they’d all resign without replacement.

  10. Brian H

    Reality bites, and is persistent.

  11. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #157 | Watts Up With That?

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