Germany

   

Environmental Policies

#10
Key Findings
Though blemishes have appeared on its previously strong climate-change record, Germany still scores well overall (rank 10) in the area of environmental policies. Its score on this measure has declined by 0.3 points relative to 2014.

Despite a strong push into renewable energy production and energy-efficient infrastructure, Germany will fail to meet its 2020 greenhouse-gas emissions-reduction goals. Part of the issue is the continued reliance on coal as the country seeks to phase out nuclear power by 2022.

Driven by increasingly vocal voters’ concerns, the country has played a key role in international climate policy. However, Chancellor Angela Merkel opposed new EU climate objectives announced in 2018, which seek to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% compared to 1990 instead of by only 40%.

The country performs relatively well in the areas of water resources and biodiversity, but agricultural practices remain an area of environmental concern.

Environment

#14

How effectively does environmental policy protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment?

10
 9

Environmental policy effectively protects, preserves and enhances the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 8
 7
 6


Environmental policy largely protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 5
 4
 3


Environmental policy insufficiently protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 2
 1

Environmental policy has largely failed to protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
Environmental Policy
6
In the latest Environmental Performance Index (2018), Germany places only among the second tier of “strong performers” ranking behind some of its European peers. After ranking sixth worldwide in 2015, the country’s relative position deteriorated to rank 13 in 2018. Its score decreased from to 84.26 to 78.37 in 2018. Germany performs relatively well in the areas of water resources and biodiversity, but clearly below average in climate, energy and agriculture.

The greatest environmental policy challenge remains adequately responding to the 2011 government decision to phase out nuclear energy by 2022. With regard to alternative forms of energy production, Germany is comparatively well prepared. The country has become an investor friendly destination for renewable energy, offshore wind farms, cogeneration, and the energy efficient redevelopment of buildings and other infrastructure. But still, coal is an important energy source with substantial shares in electricity production.

Concerning renewable energy, Germany has consistently increased its share. Whereas in 2010 only 19.2% of the energy production originated from renewable energy sources, the share in 2017 was 38.6% and again increased to 41.1% in in August 2018. As a key component of energy policy, in its coalition contract the new government determined to increase the share of renewable energy in electricity consumption to at least 65% in 2035. Nevertheless, major challenges remain, including the question of how to permanently store nuclear wastes, expand the electric grid to supply renewable energy and harmonize the phasing out of nuclear energy while also reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

However, Germany failed to meet the ambitious climate targets of the European Union and of the former government.

Citations:
Environmental Performance Index 2014: http://epi.yale.edu/files/2014_epi_report.pdf

Environmental Performance Index 2018: https://epi.envirocenter.yale.edu/epi-country-report/DEU

Fraunhofer Institut (2018): Stromerzeugung in Deutschland im ersten Halbjahr 2018
https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/de/documents/publications/studies/daten-zu-erneuerbaren-energien/ISE_Stromerzeugung_2018_Halbjahr.pdf

Global Environmental Protection

#5

To what extent does the government actively contribute to the design and advancement of global environmental protection regimes?

10
 9

The government actively contributes to international efforts to design and advance global environmental protection regimes. In most cases, it demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, fosters their advancement and initiates appropriate reforms.
 8
 7
 6


The government contributes to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes. It demonstrates commitment to existing regimes and occasionally fosters their advancement or initiates appropriate reforms.
 5
 4
 3


The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, but neither fosters their advancement nor initiates appropriate reforms.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes.
Global Environmental Policy
8
Backed by the strong ecological concerns of voters, Germany is a driving force in international climate policy, in the development of renewable energies, and in efforts to improve energy and resource efficiency. The German government actively promotes strategies fostering environment- and climate-friendly development.

The G7 summit held in June 2015 achieved remarkable progress toward an international agreement for global climate protection. Germany, using its presidency of the G7, was able to ensure that climate policy had the highest priority during the summit, setting the stage for the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement committed to a maximum rise in average global temperatures of “well below 2 degrees.” The agreement was praised as a breakthrough because, for the first time, nations have to define their contributions to fighting climate change. The Paris Agreement was formally ratified by the European Union on 5 October 2016 and put into force on 4 November 2016. Germany also ratified the Paris Agreement. The Bundesrat agreed to it in September 2016 after the Bundestag unanimously approved it. However, detailed measures for the implementation of the ambitious climate objectives were not part of the Paris Agreement.

In November 2017, the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP 23) was hosted in Bonn, Germany. The conference was held shortly after the German general elections on 24 September 2017 and before a new government was yet in office. As a consequence, the new government was not able to present a detailed environmental policy. Astonishingly, Chancellor Angela Merkel opposed the new EU climate objectives that had been announced in August 2018 by the EU Commissioner for Climate Change, Miguel Arias Canete. The new goal of the EU climate policy shall now be a reduction in the carbon dioxide emissions by about 45% instead of the hitherto planned 40% (compared to 1990). New environmental regulations may result from the U.N. Climate Change Conference which will be hold in Katowice, Poland, in November 2018.

Germany’s reputation as a global leader in environmental policies has taken some damage since the German government had to admit that it will fail to realize its emission reduction targets for 2020.

Citations:
Leadersʼ Declaration G7 Summit, (7– 8 June 2015): https://www.g7germany.de/Content/DE/_Anlagen/G8_G20/2015-06-08-g7-abschluss-eng.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=6

European Commission (2016): Paris Agreement. Online source:
http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/negotiations/paris/index_en.htm
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