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Germany likely to miss 2030 climate goal, federal government advisors state

Germany is most likely to miss its 2030 greenhouse gas targets, federal government environment consultants said on Monday, contradicting the environment minister's forecast in March and requiring new policy procedures.

The Expert Council on Environment Concerns, which has independent authority to evaluate the country's climate performance, stated Germany is not likely to fulfill its goal to cut 65% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 since sectors such as transport and building are struggling to meet their targets.

Its findings come after Germany just presented a more flexible environment protection law in April that offers leeway to underperforming sectors such as transportation. However, the Climate Defense Act will also need the federal government to take restorative measures for the 2030 target if the Professional Council on Climate Problems verifies its findings in its next annual report in 2025.

In March, Environment Security Minister Robert Habeck, pointing out information by the Federal Environment Company (UBA), stated Germany was on track for the first time to fulfill its climate targets after emissions fell by 10% in 2023.

The council, nevertheless, stated UBA's earlier estimates for nearly all financial sectors were too positive, adding that Germany will not be on track even after 2030, threatening the nation's objective to become environment neutral by 2045.

Versus this background, we recommend not waiting on the target to be missed again, but rather taking a look at the timely execution of additional procedures, the council's Chairman Hans-Martin Henning stated in a statement.

Germany's Environment Defense Act was concurred after months of wrangling by the government union of the Social Democrats, Greens and pro-business FDP. The FDP, which leads the transportation ministry, campaigned for modifications to give some freedom to some specific sectors that consistently fall back as long as the national CO2 limits were not surpassed.

With specific sectors now off the hook, drafting more enthusiastic climate steps will be the responsibility of the entire government, the reformed law states, without explaining who would supervise.

Even with a more flexible nationwide climate law, Germany will need to fulfill the European Union targets and risks paying billions of euros for emissions certificates or fines if it fails to do so.