Six German green ministers for a better European climate and energy policy
In a common pledge published on September 27, Green energy and climate ministers from six different German states called on EU Commissioner for energy Günther Oettinger and the EU to reverse its current path, and pave the way for a truly sustainable energy transformation and climate protection. “We note the latest decisions taking Europe’s climate and energy policy in the wrong direction with great concern” the signatories state.
To achieve an integrated energy and climate policy and to make Europe a showcase for future-oriented, safe, affordable, nuclear-free energy policies, the EU, its member state and regions need a credible and ambitious common European framework.
The pledge lists different fields that need action, to build on sustainability and climate protection. It gives concrete proposals to improve current legislation, policy and practices to enable such reform. Amongst them are a climate roadmap with binding targets for member states, effort sharing and a fixed aim for renewables. It suggests structural reform of the current Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that reduces the number of carbon credits and applies the scheme to the transport sector. The pledge also calls for stronger efforts on cross border energy infrastructure projects and a clear framework for citizens’ investment in sustainable energy projects. The six ministers speak out against what they see as misplaced and disproportional funding of research and training in the field of nuclear energy. Instead, they call for more research efforts into power storage technologies and innovation in energy infrastructure development. They criticise the Commission‘s stance on shale gas fracking, which overestimates its economic potential and downplays its environmental risks.
Commenting on the pledge, EGP Co-Chair Reinhard Bütikofer said, "behind the doors of the European Council, the majority of European member state's governments, most prominently German Chancellor Merkel, have apparently either given up their ambitions for a progressive climate and energy policy or are even openly boycotting Europe's common efforts and previously agreed strategies. It cannot be overrated how important it is that actors from all different levels, from the European, from the regional or even at a local, are now making their voices heard and are pointing at this worrisome fact. They know about the urgency of such a policy change and they see the potential - also the economic one - that lies with a true reform of energy and climate policies. Europe deserves better. We should make all efforts to defend our common achievements against shortsighted special interest - be it from German car manufacturers or nuclear lobbyists."
The Ministers who signed the pledge are pledge are Johannes Remmel (North Rhine-Westphalia), Franz Untersteller (Baden-Württemberg), Stefan Wenzel (Lower Saxony), Eveline Lemke (Rhineland-Palatinate), Robert Habeck (Schleswig-Holstein) and Joachim Lose (Bremen Citystate).
Find the full list of their demands here.