Germany needs to invest $1trln to hit climate target

The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by 2030

  
Power-generating windmill turbines are seen near Port Saint Louis du Rhone, near Marseille, May 7, 2014. Image used for illustrative purposes

Power-generating windmill turbines are seen near Port Saint Louis du Rhone, near Marseille, May 7, 2014. Image used for illustrative purposes

REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

BERLIN- Germany needs an extra 860 billion euros ($1 trillion) in investment if it is to achieve its 2030 climate target, a study conducted by the Federation of German Industries (BDI) with the Boston Consulting Group said on Thursday.

"A climate-neutral industrial country doesn't come for free," said BDI president Siegfried Russwurm.

The study, carried out over the past two years and with feedback from dozens of experts and companies, was published as the Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats were due to start negotiations towards forming a government.

The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Germany is then set to become climate neutral by 2045.

Russwurm said that the next government must act urgently on climate investment. "Concrete decisions are overdue," he added.

The Greens in particular are insisting on more investment and clear agreements in the pursuit of stronger climate policy.

Russwurm said that the state must invest above all in its infrastructure, a prospect that would likely cost 240 billion euros by 2030 alone.

But just putting money into better electricity grids, more renewable energy sources and improved railways, for example, is not enough, says Russwurm. "Money alone doesn't reach goals."

He said the state needs to speed up planning and approval procedures, and projects should not be held up by long lawsuits.

Reaching climate neutrality by 2045 is technologically feasible, said Russwurm. But higher carbon pricing or additional depreciation on climate investment will do little to help, he said. "Anyone who believes that is naive at best," he said.

Instead, Russwurm made the case for stronger financial incentives. In the building sector, for example, subsidies would have to be more than doubled to tackle the main issue, which is the replacement of oil and gas heating systems, he said.

($1 = 0.8591 euros)

(Reporting by Christian Kraemer, Writing by Miranda Murray, Editing by Emma Thomasson and Giles Elgood) ((Miranda.Murray@thomsonreuters.com;))


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