Germany submits long-awaited climate plan to the EU

FILE PHOTO: The lignite power plants of "Neurath New", Niederaussem, and "Neurath Old" of German energy supplier and utility RWE are pictured in Neurath, north-west of Cologne, Germany, February 5, 2020. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

 (Reuters) – Germany submitted its ten-year energy and climate plan to the European Union on Thursday, six months after the deadline to do so, lending long-awaited support to the European Commission’s plan to design a tougher 2030 emissions goal for the bloc.

The EU’s executive Commission plans to propose a more ambitious 2030 climate target in September, to put the bloc on track to slash its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

The Commission is assessing two possible 2030 targets – either a 50% or a 55% emissions cut against 1990 levels – and uses climate plans submitted by each member state to decide what would be realistic.

Germany, the largest emitter in Europe, handed Brussels its climate plan on Thursday. Ireland is the only EU country that has not submitted its plan to Brussels.

The plan, adopted by the German government on Wednesday, contains its national goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 and measures to deliver this aim, such as launching carbon pricing for transport and buildings next year.

However some have cast doubt on whether the German measues will actually meet the target, including a study by consultancy Prognos commissioned by the German Finance Ministry.

The Commission is expected to propose a 55% emissions-cutting goal for 2030, but must agree the EU goal with member states and lawmakers.

Sweden’s Jytte Guteland, the lawmaker leading talks on the issue in the European parliament, wants a 65% cut in emissions by 2030, while countries including the Czech Republic have said anything above the EU’s current target, for a 40% emissions reduction by 2030, is not achieveable.