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Germany’s ‘very, very tough’ climate battle

Germany’s ‘very, very tough’ climate battle

Environment Minister Svenja Schulze aims to steer tough talks over upping the bloc’s 2030 climate goal.

BERLIN — EU leaders last week agreed to increase the bloc's 2030 climate target by the end of the year. Now it's up to German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze to make it happen.

That's a big change for Berlin, which has traditionally been wary of higher EU climate targets.

Germany holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, which means Schulze chairs meetings of environment ministers until the end of December. She'll have to oversee tricky negotiations on raising the bloc’s 2030 emissions reduction goal from 40 percent to as high as 55 percent — something that pits rich countries against poor and East against West.

"We have to deliver an updated [EU climate commitment] in 2020. It's only six months [but] we have to deliver," Schulze told POLITICO from her Berlin office after hosting a first informal meeting with her peers in mid-July. "The pressure is huge ... We need very, very tough negotiations. There are no summer holidays for anyone."

The issue will heat up in late September when the European Commission is due to come out with a plan for reaching the 2030 target, and map implications for the energy sector. The 2030 goal is also part of the bloc's commitment under the Paris Agreement, and there's pressure for countries to submit updated and ideally higher emissions reduction objectives by the end of the year.

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