Countries release 2050 climate plans during COP22

WWF staff at COP22 in Marrakech, November 2016

WWF staff at COP22 in Marrakech, November 2016

The first international climate summit since the Paris Agreement was signed came to an end recently to cautiously positive reviews.

One of the most notable areas in which progress was made at the COP22 summit in Marrakech was that of long-term planning, which saw a welcome flurry of activity!

A ‘long-term strategies’ platform was launched by Laurence Tubiana of France and Hakima El Haite of Morocco along with various countries, cities and regions in order to “support those seeking to devise long-term, net zero-greenhouse gas, climate-resilient and sustainable development pathways”.

Over the same time period, Germany was the first EU country to launch its ‘2050 climate plan’ - which it did at the same time as Canada, the US and Mexico. While the fact that Germany has a long-term plan is good, its contents were generally perceived by campaigners as a mixed bag.

“It’s good to see the government realises the importance of looking ahead on climate, and great that for the first time our 2030 target - 55% emissions cuts - has been divided by sector. This will stop the ‘after you’ mentality which has prevailed so far!’ said Viviane Raddatz from WWF’s German office.

“However, long-term planning shouldn’t come at the expense of short-term action, and this plan doesn’t contain any of the concrete measures, like a rapid coal phase-out, which are crucial to meet Germany’s 2030 target, let alone contribute to the need for EU decarbonisation by 2050”.

A climate plan presented this year showed Germany was falling short on its 2020 emissions target. The only way to get back on track in time, Raddatz says, is to shut down Germany’s coal plants by 2025.

“The same recommendations on needing real measures to reduce emissions came up time and again when the government consulted civil society on the plan,” points out Raddatz. “What good is engaging with civil society if you then ignore everything it says?”

She points out as another example that earlier versions of the plan contained strong language on moving to electric cars by 2030, which were then gone from the final document.

German vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said the plan represented “a very good and well-balanced solution”.

The 2050 climate plan will not be a law but will become part of the government’s energy transition strategy and will be reviewed every year.