With the German federal election now in the rearview mirror, all signs point towards a ‘traffic light coalition’ that unites the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP). But differences between the parties’ positions on climate change mitigation may prove to be a stumbling block in negotiations. IKEM has prepared four recommendations for the coalition’s climate agenda that are both environmentally sound and compatible with all three party platforms.
‘The next federal government will determine whether Germany achieves its climate goals,’ said Simon Schäfer-Stradowsky, IKEM’s managing director. ‘That’s why the SPD, the Greens and the FDP need to focus on climate change mitigation early on in their exploratory talks. There’s no time to lose – the parties need to agree on a clear, ambitious agenda to mitigate the effects of climate change.’ To meet climate objectives and promote climate-resilient investments, IKEM recommends that the parties integrate the following elements into their agenda:
- A clear decision against fossil fuels and in favour of climate change mitigation
The future federal government must take a clear stand against fossil fuels and implement regulatory policies that reflect this conviction. The current prioritisation of fossil fuels must come to an end. The impact on the climate must be taken into consideration in all decision-making processes and must be integrated into coherent policy.
- Development of an energy code
The energy transition can only succeed if those who apply the law can refer to a consistent, user-friendly legal framework. The provisions that are most important and that have the broadest application – such as the definition of ‘renewable energy’ (RE) or ‘green hydrogen’ – should be uniformly regulated and consolidated into an ‘energy code’. This will also facilitate sector coupling.
- Land use planning and binding expansion targets
Similarly, the planning and approval of RE systems should be uniformly regulated and fast-tracked procedures made possible. This is crucial because the achievement of climate targets within the foreseeable future will depend on a rapid expansion of RE. However, nowhere near enough space is available to support an expansion of RE systems – especially those based on wind and photovoltaics – because there are no practical requirements in place that would inform land use planning or guide the development of binding expansion targets. That’s why, in addition to grid expansion planning, binding targets must be established at state and municipal levels to provide space for RE. In addition, the administration must be provided with uniform requirements for the approval of RE systems. To accelerate the process, priority can be given to construction on public lands that are not used for economic purposes.
- Debt-for-climate swaps
As the second largest creditor in the world, Germany and the German financial sector should play a role in supporting decarbonisation in other countries (and potentially in enabling these countries to take steps towards decarbonisation in the first place). Debt-for-climate swaps can be a useful tool in this effort. In such swaps, a creditor country or financial institution can cancel a country’s debts in return for investment by the debtor country in climate change mitigation or adaptation projects. The cancelled debts can then count towards the creditor’s climate finance obligations.