Will Merkel be Trumped?

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

Could it be that the USA will do better than Germany when it comes to meeting obligations arising from the Paris Agreement, despite the US's repudiation of the deal and all that Germanic enthusiasm between the Elbe and Rhine?

I wonder this because of comments such as these in Clean Energy Wire.

In 2007, the German government set greenhouse gas reduction targets of 40 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels, in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recommendation for industrialised nations outlined in its Fourth Assessment Report. Germany had achieved a reduction of 347 million tonnes CO2 eq., or 27.7 percent, on 1990 emission levels by 2017. However, over the last few years emissions have barely changed. Preliminary calculations by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) published in March 2018 showed a slight emissions dip in 2017, mostly due to strong wind power feed-in which had led to less hard coal power production. ...

Hence the uncomfortable question remains: Is Germany’s renewable energy and climate policy effective at cutting greenhouse gas emissions, or were the country’s achievements down to other factors? Germany was given a head start in 1990 when, following the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification, the decline of the East German industrial and power sectors meant automatic CO2 reductions (so-called “wall-fall profits”). In 2009, emissions dropped by 6.9 percent compared to the previous year due to the economic crisis, which saw many companies scale down production. However, in the years that followed, the hope that this trend would continue remained unfulfilled.

There are some nice graphs in this report.

I also wonder because, in the USA, business and some states (California, of course, but others as well) are just getting on with it.  See this report in GreenBiz.com and also the We Are Still In campaign.  GreenBiz contains this comment:

"When the Trump administration announced the U.S. would pull out of the Paris Agreement a year ago, it certainly galvanized action. But not the type of action that was probably intended. Despite all of the positive stories of defiance, this is not the time to be complacent. We need to pick up the pace to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement — with companies and policymakers using their influence to spur wider climate action. We need earlier targets, increased ambition that allows us to beat these targets and more action on energy saving and electric vehicles.  The commitments of U.S. businesses and state governments send a powerful signal that they are not aligned with the federal government when it comes to climate. Let us acknowledge the collective progress from the past year and continue with this determination in the 12 months to come."

It's all well beyond irony, especially given that, if this proposition does come to pass, it will be despite what one powerful man did, and largely because of what one powerful woman, insisted on.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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