One-half of the German legislature, the Bundestag, passed a long-debated and revised climate law that had produced heavy backlash from the public and officials, according to the Financial Times.
The original plan would have effectively banned all new gas and oil boilers, imposing huge restrictions on heating, with all new systems being required to be powered by at least 65% renewable energy, according to the FT. In-fighting among the legislature harmed the leading coalition and contributed to backlash through the rise of the opposition Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party.
“I think it is justified to respond to this law with specific and concerned questions,” Robert Habeck, green economy minister and vice chancellor for Germany, said Friday, according to the FT. “What you shouldn’t do, however, is pull the wool over people’s eyes — to say that we set [climate] goals but we do nothing to ensure that these goals are achieved.”
Under the current plan, the country will miss the emissions target it had set for 2030, creating a setback for its goal of being carbon neutral by 2045, according to the FT.
The bill was amended from its original tougher standards after objections from coalition member the Free Democrats and a delay that was imposed by Germany’s constitution court in July, according to the FT.
The amended law allows more time to make the desired transition, produces more subsidies to facilitate the shift and makes exceptions for the elderly, those with low incomes and those whose municipalities have not delivered plans to expand sustainable district heating, according to the FT.
The German government has been put under pressure by climate activists to push their green agenda, utilizing tactics like large acts of vandalism such as the defacement of a series of glass plates displaying the 19 articles of the German constitution in March near the country’s parliament building, according to Fox News.
German police raided 15 properties associated with the climate activist group responsible for the attack later in May after more protests, which included blocking roads and targeting artwork with vandalism, according to the Associated Press.
Habeck formally led popularity polls but now has half of all Germans wanting him to resign, according to Politico Europe. His party, the Greens, were down to 14% support in June, falling from 23% the previous summer.
In the same time period that the Greens declined, the right-wing AfD surged, rising to 18% and becoming the third strongest party in Germany, ahead of the Greens, according to Politico Europe.
The Biden administration has pushed for similar regulations, including a call in July to put new efficiency standards on water heaters. Other appliances being targeted by the Biden administration include gas stoves, dishwashers, refrigerators and boilers.
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