Deal could revive Germany’s ‘grand coalition’ and retain long term emission targets, but negotiating blueprint remains light on details for future climate strategy
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reportedly made a breakthrough in the long-running coalition talks to form a national government, paving the way for another ‘grand coalition’ between her party, the Christian Democrats, and the SPD.
The parties today revealed a 28-page blueprint for formal negotiations, containing compromises over immigration rates, EU budget contributions, and pension reforms.
However, the document fails to list climate change as a main priority for either party, and leaves the door open for Germany to miss its 2020 climate goals.
The draft deal affirms the country’s 2020, 2030, and 2050 emissions goals, but with Germany way off track to meet its 2020 target the document proposes a commission to find measures by the end of 2018 to close the gap ‘as far as possible’, rather than offering an absolute commitment to meet the target.
Reports earlier this week suggested the 2020 targets could be under threat in the latest round of negotiating talks. Preliminary negotiations were said to have made encouraging progress towards an agreement to delay the 2020 target until the early 2020s. However, sources suggested a new coalition deal could also retain the 2030 emissions target, step up goals for renewable energy deployment, and explore mechanisms for curbing coal emissions across the economy.
However, the paper provides scant details on any climate policy agreement and is also quiet on strategies to ensure Germany transitions to the widespread use of electric vehicles in the coming decades, a move that is crucial to Germany’s decarbonisation efforts.
On climate change, deal affirms 2020, 2030, 2050 emissions goals but vague on pace of shift away from coal power and combustion-engine cars.
— Jeremy Cliffe (@JeremyCliffe) January 12, 2018
The agreement is likely to confirm the fears of environmentalists, who have long suspected meeting the 2020 targets will be a struggle without controversial and radical action to crack down on the Germany’s sizeable coal industry.
Merkel had insisted before last autumn’s election that the 2020 targets wopuld be met. But her weakened position following the CDU’s poorer than expected electoral performance made such action much more difficult to push through the Bundestag.
The coalition text still has to be approved by the SDP at a party congress later this month, and may well change again once formal negotiations begin.
Even if the talks proceed as planned, it is likely to take at least until March before a government is in place.