ARCHIV - 16.07.2022, Hamburg: Reiseverkehr aus Schleswig-Holstein in Richtung Süden staut sich in Hamburg auf der Autobahn A1 Höhe Moorfleet. Wegen der in mehreren Bundesländern zu Ende gehenden Schulferien werden am Wochenende 12.-14. August 2022 zahlreiche Urlauber auf den Autobahnen unterwegs sein. (zu dpa «Rückreisewelle erwartet - ADAC rechnet mit längeren Staus um Hamburg») Foto: Markus Scholz/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

With the government’s immediate climate protection programs for the building and transport sectors, Germany is in danger of falling further short of its climate targets in these areas, according to an independent panel of experts.

The Council of Experts for Climate Issues announced on Thursday in Berlin that there is still a large gap in efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in transport. Environmental groups reacted with outrage.

“According to the Ministry of Transport, the emergency program for the transport sector saves only 14 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions, so that there is still a mathematical performance gap of 261 megatons by 2030,” explained Brigitte Knopf, Deputy Chairwoman of the Expert Council.

The ministry has only presented plans to fill the gap in emissions from the previous year, which is “a very specific interpretation” of the Climate Protection Act. In addition, the House of Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) referred to the planned comprehensive immediate climate protection program of the federal government, which the expert council will also examine.

The experts have therefore dispensed with a comprehensive examination of the immediate transport programme. “In the transport sector, the overarching emergency climate protection program will have to go far beyond the sectoral emergency program that has been submitted,” said Knopf.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Transport told the German Press Agency that the proposed measures could compensate for the missed target of the previous year. “Ensuring that the climate protection goals in the transport sector are achieved in the years to 2030 is the subject of the federal government’s overarching climate protection program, which is currently being voted on.” The German Climate Alliance accused Wissing of “refusing to work on climate protection” and called on Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to act.

The Expert Council rated the greenhouse gas savings plans for the building sector, for which Klara Geywitz’s (SPD) Ministry of Construction and Robert Habeck’s (Greens) Ministry of Economic Affairs are responsible, as slightly better. The program envisages greenhouse gas savings of 137 megatons by 2030, which would mean that Germany would have achieved its overall climate targets in this area by then.

By 2027, however, the annual targets would still be exceeded. “Whether the savings can really be realized to this extent seems questionable after our examination,” remarked the Chairman of the Expert Council, Hans-Martin Henning. The bottom line is that compliance with the climate protection requirements is not guaranteed by the emergency program, according to the Council.

Construction Minister Klara Geywitz (SPD) emphasized: “It is feasible and we are on the right track.” It is important not to let up now. Individual critical points put forward by the Expert Council would still have to be specifically examined.

The federal director of the German Environmental Aid, Barbara Metz, criticized that the responsible ministries had done far too little. The government is delaying the switch to more climate-friendly heating and is therefore partly responsible for excessively rising heating costs. “High efficiency standards and effective renovation incentives must be the focus of the new emergency program in order to protect low-income households in particular from price fluctuations and fossil dependence.” The organization wants to sue the immediate traffic program.

Federal Economics and Climate Protection Minister Habeck said according to the announcement that the government is now obliged to decide on the immediate climate protection program in September. All areas must make their contribution. “It’s not about abstract numbers, it’s about preserving the basis for a life in freedom and prosperity.” In the coalition agreement, the SPD, Greens and FDP agreed to create the emergency program before the end of the year. The climate targets should continue to be monitored annually, but at the same time there should be a “cross-sector” and “multi-year” overall account.

Germany has set annual climate protection goals for various areas. If these are missed, the ministries concerned must submit emergency programs with additional efforts to save greenhouse gases. The Expert Council has now evaluated these programmes. The Council is an independent body of five experts nominated by the federal government.