Germany talks a good game on climate change and environmental policies, but unfortunately it appears to be mostly quatsch, as the country’s actions are far more matching its words, according to the European Council on Foreign Relations, which delivers a polite but damning overview of these Teutonic hypocrisies in a recent blog post.
- Chancellor Angela Merkel got off to a strong start, with public commitments to participate in European-wide emissions reductions and increase the proportion of energy derived from renewable sources. After the Fukushima disaster in 2011, she led the charge to close all the country’s nuclear reactors (although nuclear energy is not a major contributor to greenhouse gases, but whatever).
- Since then, however, German climate policy has ground to a halt. Most proximately, the coalition government is almost certain to miss its own emission reduction goals for 2020 and 2030, prompting it to defer them to a goal of overall net zero emissions by 2050.
- Looking for cosmetic changes to give the appearance of change, the coalition government is working on a new proposed carbon pricing system, which however won’t take effect until 2021 and even the only prices carbon at €10 per ton, compared to a recommended target of €130.
- Takeaway: “For the EU, this German impulse is dangerous. Even when confronted with major crises, the German response will be cautious and focused on small steps. A lack of German support, however, makes policy change almost impossible.”