Unlike many other heads of state and government, the German chancellor did not come to New York empty-handed or with just another declaration of intent and vague climate goals set for the distant future. After long and cumbersome negotiations among the parties of her coalition government led to the unveiling of Germany’s Climate Action Program 2030 on 20 September, Angela Merkel brought with her a concrete national policy framework along with agreed budgetary commitments for the next four years to reduce Germany’s greenhouse gas emission by 55% until 2030 and to raise the share of renewables in the country’s overall energy consumption to 65 %. In New York, the chancellor also announced that Germany will double its contribution to fight climate change at the international level from 2 billion Euro in 2014 to 4 billion, including a 1,5 billion payment into the Green Climate Fund.
At the center of Germany’s Climate Action Program is the introduction of a national emissions certificate trading system for transport and heating, putting an effective price tag on CO2-emissions. As a result, use of fossil fuels will become increasingly more costly – whether for cars, air travel, or for residential or commercial heating. On the other side, trains and other forms of low-emission public transport will receive substantial additional investments and subsidies to encourage increased use. Special incentives will also be given for the switch to electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles.
Other parts of the Climate Action Program focus on industry, agriculture and in particular on Germany’s energy sector. Among other aspects, all coal-fired power plants will be phased out by 2038. For more information: