April 19. 2024. 8:25

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Berlin under fire for climate law ‘catastrophe’

Opposition members and green campaigners in Germany have criticised the government for weakening the country’s climate law after it reached compromises on key contentious issues after days and nights of negotiations.

Late on Tuesday evening, the three government parties agreed to a set of decisions on key sticking points within the coalition after talks began on Sunday.

But the bundle of compromises was widely seen as coming at the expense of climate action.

Among other things, the parties decided to loosen the benchmarks set out in Germany’s climate law: In a widely criticised step, the sector-specific emission reduction targets currently set out in the legislation will be replaced by an overarching target for all sectors over multiple years.

“Watering down the climate protection law instead of complying with it – how can you justify this?” Andreas Jung, vice party whip of the leading opposition party, the Conservative CDU/CSU, asked Chancellor Olaf Scholz during a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday.

Jürgen Resch, managing director of green NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe, called the move to loosen climate targets a “catastrophe,” while Greenpeace Germany chair Martin Kaiser said the changes would make the climate law an “empty shell.”

The move away from sector-specific reduction targets was pushed in particular by the liberal, business-friendly FDP, which currently holds the Transport Ministry, which has been far from reaching its climate targets in the past years.

(Julia Dahm | EURACTIV.de)