When Germany unveiled a coal exit plan two years ago, it was the product of exhaustive negotiations between representatives of industry, workers, towns and green groups.
That deliberative approach was considered typical of German policymaking on contentious political issues; by bringing all stakeholders together, the aim was to create a durable agreement. So it was all the more surprising that this week the government unilaterally declared stronger emissions targets for 2030, 2040 and 2045.
The new goals, subject to cabinet approval, put climate policy at the heart of September’s general election debate. Between this political shift and sharply rising EU carbon prices, I will eat my face mask if any German coal power station is still running in 2030, never mind the 2038 date agreed by the commission.
Welcome though this development is, India poses a sobering contrast. The country’s emissions surpassed the EU-27’s in 2019, according to analysis by Rhodium Group.
This week’s stories
While prime minister Narendra Modi found time to talk about accelerating the clean energy transition with the UK’s Boris Johnson this week, many of the experts who could help make that happen have put their work aside to tackle a deepening health crisis.
Climate analysts and journalists are among thousands of Indians using their social media platforms to connect Covid sufferers with oxygen supplies and intensive care beds, as a devastating second wave of infections engulfs the nation.
It is harder than ever to imagine how Cop26 climate talks can be safely held in person this November.
For India to be able to meaningfully participate in the summit and bring higher ambition, rich countries need to step up with both increased climate finance pledges and urgent healthcare assistance.
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