German ire at EU target reports

Despite their political differences, Angela Merkel and Sigmar Gabriel have an excellent working relationship

Supporters of an RE target hope Angela Merkel and Sigmar Gabriel will back them at the EU table

Germany’s government, opposition and green groups in unison strongly rejected the idea of scrapping binding targets for renewables and energy efficiency throughout the EU, warning of dramatic repercussions for climate goals.

A majority of European commissioners now back the UK’s argument, supported by EC president Jose Manuel Barroso, that for 2030 member states should only adopt a single greenhouse gas (GHG) target, a Brussels source told Recharge.

“Without a binding greenhouse gas reduction target and a binding target for renewable energies, progress achieved Europe-wide in the restructuring of energy systems would never have been reached,” German economics and energy minister Sigmar Gabriel stressed.

“We should consequently continue on this path. That’s important not only for Europe’s role in international climate negotiations, but also for the conversion of energy systems in Germany and Europe. A clearly binding EU target for the build-up of renewable energies is part of that.”

German environment minister Barbara Hendricks said a White Paper on the issue to be released by the EC next week will be decisive for the European climate protection debate.

“Consistent targets that build up on each other are decisive for the ability to plan and for investment security, as well as the success of climate protection efforts,” she said, adding that the EC ought to also present a proposal for a structural reform of emission trading.

Germany’s government in joint letters with other EU environment and energy ministers has lobbied for a continued renewables target and a 40% emission reduction goal.

Oliver Krischer, an MP from the opposition Green party, said proposals to scrap binding RE and efficiency targets for 2030 aim at initiating a renaissance of nuclear power and push through fracking and CCS by the back door.

“The proposals from Brussels take away the basis for the Energiewende in Germany,” Krischer said, urging Chancellor Angela Merkel and Gabriel to refuse to accept them.

Despite its criticism, Germany’s government hasn’t yet stated whether it plans to block the apparent proposals or not.

Environmental group Greenpeace was even more outspoken in its criticism.

“A farewell to serious and binding targets would be the death blow for European climate protection,” said Martin Kaiser, the head of international climate policy at Greenpeace.

“If the EC doesn’t want to be regarded as the supporter of the British nuclear and the German and Polish coal industry, it must present three serious climate targets for 2030 next week.”

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