The net problem
But there is a critical point: The resolution speaks of “net domestic reduction”. So the 55 percent are only net. Translated, this means: the real savings will probably be less. So-called sinks, i.e. reforested forests or the renaturation of moors, can also be included in the target. It now depends on how high the proportion of CO2– Lowering will be the overall goal. The amount of directly saved greenhouse gases is reduced accordingly.
A strong signal five years after Paris
It is no coincidence that the decision on the climate target will be made this Thursday: it is certain that the minus 55 percent will be reported on Saturday at the UN’s Climate Ambition Summit. Government representatives from 70 countries want to speak at the summit in order to promote ambitious climate targets five years after the agreement on the Paris Climate Agreement – or to announce new ones themselves. Since the previous climate plans are not sufficient to meet the treaty’s goal of staying below two degrees of average warming, the countries have to increase. In the past few months, some states have rushed ahead with hefty increases in their targets, including Great Britain, the host of the next UN climate conference. The British want their CO2– Reduce emissions by 68 percent by 2030. By way of comparison: Germany is targeting minus 55 percent.
“With this decision, the EU is sending a strong signal to the international community that it wants to live up to its pioneering role in climate protection,” says Brick Medak from the British think tank E3G. Actually, according to the status of climate research, it should be at least 65 percent. Nevertheless, the EU goal is »a big step in the right direction«.
What else is in the climate law?
With the Council’s agreement on the 55 percent target, however, strictly speaking, neither the climate law nor the climate target have been decided. From a formal point of view, both are part of the trialogue – i.e. the current negotiations between the EU Parliament, the EU Environment Ministers and the EU Commission. An agreement is expected in March at the earliest.
“The heads of state and government have always decided on EU climate targets alone,” says climate policy expert Geden. “With today’s decision and the announcement on Saturday, the member states are creating facts that Parliament can no longer ignore.”
People in parliament are actually quite angry: “While Europe has been shaken by the climate crisis and the rule of law is being crumbled by populists, heads of state and government are selling our future through crooked compromises,” says Michael Bloss, Green Member of the European Parliament. For months he had fought for an increase to 60 to 65 percent. “What we need is a new culture of negotiation that science is finally taking seriously. The EU Parliament is miles ahead here. ”
Some experts suspect that parliament could demand something for this in other parts of the law. Negotiations are, for example, the establishment of a scientific climate advisory board, as the federal government is planning. Discussions are also ongoing as to who determines what exactly are climate sinks and which ones could be taken into account and how progress in the individual countries should be monitored.
There is still a lot to be done regarding the Green Deal: For example, the EU Commission wants a proposal for a CO by next summer2– Submit border tax against the emigration of industries and advise on the expansion of the current emissions trading. So the reconstruction of Europe is only just beginning.
CO2-Sling in Eastern Europe
The dispute over the Green Deal does not end with today’s agreement. Because not everyone happily agreed to the climate target. The group of Eastern European countries is anything but enthusiastic. There are many old power plants and CO in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria2-intensive industries. Rebuilding them or replacing them with renewable energies will be a feat for which the countries want to see a lot of money from the EU.
Oliver Geden believes that this has no influence on future subsidies. “Pro-nuclear states like the Czech Republic and Hungary try to include appropriate wording in the final document before every EU summit,” says Oliver Geden. “Luxembourg and Austria then try to weaken it again.”
But the gas industry has achieved the greatest lobbying success. Unlike nuclear power, gas is named as a bridging technology in the draft adopted today. This means that the expansion of the European gas network can also be justified with climate protection.