Helpless bow your head! Germany scraps 2035 carbon neutrality target, European environmental policy falls into major setback
Latest: Germany, seen as an environmental pioneer, is taking a big step backwards in environmental policy, according to a leaked draft law.
According to media reports, Germany intends to amend the draft law to cancel the climate target involved in “achieving carbon neutrality in the energy industry by 2035”, which has been passed in Germany’s lower house of parliament.
In addition, the German government has previously blurred the deadline for phasing out coal power plants, allowing coal-fired and oil-fired generators to return to the German market, and the passage of the draft law means that coal power is no longer in conflict with local environmental protection goals at this stage.
As a major European country, Germany has always been the main force in promoting the EU’s green process, and has always been marked by technological advancement and sustainable development. However, since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Germany has repeatedly repeated its environmental protection issues, reflecting the current energy dilemma faced by the entire EU.
Germany’s environmental setbacks
In December, Germany’s new government pledged to speed up the phase-out of coal power. The new government, jointly formed by the Social Democrats, the environmental-friendly Green Party and the pro-business Liberal Democrats, led by current Prime Minister Scholz, has brought forward the goal of phasing out coal-fired power entirely by 2030. In contrast, under the previous Chancellor Angela Merkel, the target date was set at 2038.
However, last month, Russia’s important pipeline for transporting natural gas to Europe, the Nord Stream 1, was reduced by about 60% due to the lack of key components, causing tensions in EU countries.
German Deputy Chancellor and Economy Minister Habeck thus announced that Germany will significantly increase the use of coal power to get rid of its dependence on Russian natural gas.
As one of the leaders of the Green Party, Habeck’s statement also means that the German Green Party has taken the lead in returning to one of the most polluting fossil energy sources – coal.
Restarting coal is a helpless move. Without energy, households and businesses will be hit hard. Earlier, German chemical giant BASF had warned that its largest Ludwigshafen plant would be completely shut down if there was not enough natural gas.
In order to keep the industry from suspending, Germany can only turn to highly polluting coal to provide energy.
At the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the European Union had launched an ambitious energy plan, REPowerEU. Under the plan, the EU will increase renewable energy from 40% to 45% by 2030 and wean itself off Russia’s fossil fuels by 2030.
But the plan was significantly revised at a meeting of EU energy ministers last month. The renewable energy target is still back to 40%, and the 2030 energy consumption target has also returned to 9% from the previous 13%.
In addition, at the G7 meeting, the leaders of the seven countries once again haggled over climate commitments and renewed investment in overseas fossil fuel projects to reduce energy pressures at home.
Another “slap in the face” is that EU lawmakers last week put green labels on natural gas and nuclear energy to avoid the dilemma of no investment in these two energy sources due to environmental protection policies.
The overall retrogression of the EU’s environmental protection policy is also a helpless trade-off.
Last week, European Commission Vice-President Frans
Timmermans warned that this winter, Europe will face a very intense and damaging conflict over energy prices and should return to using fossil fuels in the short term to fend off the danger of civil unrest.
“If society is in conflict because there is no energy, then environmental goals are a castle in the air. We need to make sure people don’t feel cold in the coming winter,” he said.