Monday, 18 March 2013

Germany wakes up to reality: Key climate change programs to be canceled

Goodbye to the program to put 1 million electric cars on German roads by 2020!

Germany is finally waking up to realityAngela Merkel is forced to cancel key climate change programs:

As prices for carbon emission continue to languis, Berlin is planning to cancel some key subsidy programs aimed at increasing reliance on renewable energies. Germany and other European countries seem uninterested in fixing the problem. 

In response, SPIEGEL has learned the Environment Ministry is set to cancel several flagship subsidy programs this month -- programs that were to be key elements of Germany's transition away from fossil fuels and towards complete reliance on renewables.
By the end of the month, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats, is set to cut the program aimed at promoting electric cars, a fund for research and development of energy storage technologies and a third program focused on protecting and expanding forestland in Germany as a way to absorb more CO2 out of the atmosphere. In April, further programs are on the chopping block, according to an internal ministry document seen by SPIEGEL. In total, 14 programs or one-time measures are affected. --

The endangered program for "electro-mobility," for example, was to put 1 million electric cars on German roads by 2020, a project that was to receive €1 billion between May 2011 and this autumn. Meanwhile, the fund for research into energy storage technologies promised the development of facilities in Germany to store energy created by wind turbines and solar panels to even out production fluctuations. The construction of such facilities is a key to becoming more reliant on unpredictable renewable energies. --

The funding shortage currently faced by the Merkel government is massive. The budget for 2014 includes €2 billion for the Energy and Climate Fund to be generated via the sale and trade of CO2 emissions certificates. But the calculation originally assumed a price of €17 euro per ton. Real emissions prices, however, have been well below that for months and are currently trading below €4 per ton. A paper presented to Merkel's cabinet last week by the Finance Ministry predicted a €1.1 billion shortfall.

One thing is certain: Other European Union countries will soon follow the leader, and we will see a massive and most welcome return to reality in Europe - and hopefully also elsewhere. 

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