Germany's New $60 Billion Climate Package Does the Bare Minimum

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Photo: AP

Germany appears to be listening to the millions of people around the world protesting climate inaction Friday. German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Friday a $60 billion climate package to transform the country by 2030.

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In order for society to avoid complete climate catastrophe, we must stop burning fossil fuels and switch our energy to clean sources—such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydro—and stop burning all our gross oil and gas. Doing all this requires some serious planning, and Germany appears up to the challenge. However, critics say this plan doesn’t go far enough.

Leaders plan to reduce Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030, according to the Local Germany. This doesn’t just happen of course. Germany will shift to an energy portfolio that includes more wind and solar. More than 40 percent of its public net energy generation is already renewable; the plan is to have that continue going up. Officials want to see it reach 65 percent by 2030. How? Through subsidies and expansion. Coal and nuclear gotta go under this plan; both should be phased out by 2038 and 2022, respectively.

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There are also other sectors—such as transportation, for instance—that need a complete overhaul. Officials plan to add some 10 million electric cars to roads by 2030, one million charging stations, increase taxes on flights, and improve train infrastructure. The plan also comes with carbon fees for the transportation sector. For every ton of carbon dioxide emitted, companies will have to pay around $11. That price will keep going up, eventually reaching about $38 by 2025, reports the New York Times.

Still, many argue that this plan isn’t enough to prevent further climate crisis, per the Times. And it’s not like the country is meeting the climate goals it had already set for itself. Leaders took more than 18 hours to agree on the plan, but they still didn’t manage to create something revolutionary. Scientists argue that by 2030, we must cut global emissions by half if we want to avoid catastrophic climate scenarios. This plan meets the bare minimum of what scientists have called for. And what’s $11—or even $38—a ton for a company worth billions?

In times where some leaders flat out deny climate change, it’s encouraging to see action, but the climate crisis requires more than just something. It requires everything. From all of us. That’s why teens are skipping school and protesting in the street. If they won’t have a habitable home in the future, WTF is the point?

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Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.

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DISCUSSION

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Dense non aqueous phase liquid

At least Germany is trying. When it announced Energiewende (energy transition) ten or so ago the focus was on getting off nuclear and then brown coal with wind and solar. Plus electricity imports from nuke heavy France.

Germany is doing pretty well with renewables after shuttering nuke. Brown coal replacement has been problematic and that’s where natural gas imports come in.

US, Russia and now Israel are chomping at the bit to supply Germany with natural gas. Russia built and is expanding the pipeline system from western Siberia to Germany called Nord Stream. This giant pipeline runs along the bottom of the Baltic Sea not too far from Greta Thunberg’s parents house.

US is pushing LNG exports on Germany (see Trump’s tweets). US is presently in a LNG export terminal building boom that needs customers.

And now a new natural gas pipeline is being built from the eastern Mediterranean offshore gas fields (the Leviathan field, et al) to bring relatively recently discovered offshore natural gas from the Middle East to EU. Israel’s offshore share is right smack dab in the sweet spot.

On the giant EastMed natural gas pipeline project:

EastMed gas: Paving the way for a new geopolitical era?

https://www.dw.com/en/eastmed-gas-paving-the-way-for-a-new-geopolitical-era/a-49330250

Let’s look at the big fucking picture shall we? It’s like east meets west and east is going apeshit over west when it comes to carbon emissions.

Carbon justice:

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/all-the-worlds-carbon-emissions-in-one-chart/