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Cablegate: Comprehensive German Climate Change Proposal

VZCZCXRO6527
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHRL #2177/01 3411455
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 071455Z DEC 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9980
INFO RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA PRIORITY 0112
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BERLIN 002177

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SENV KGHG ENRG GM
SUBJECT: COMPREHENSIVE GERMAN CLIMATE CHANGE PROPOSAL
BEFORE PARLIAMENT

REF: BERLIN 2152

BERLIN 00002177 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: The coalition government presented a
series of far-reaching and ambitious environmental
legislative measures to the German Parliament for
consideration on December 5 (Reftel). The 14 points of this
proposal are not new, but rather stem directly from the
29-point "Meseberg Plan", which was approved by the German
Cabinet in August 2007. Nonetheless, the media has seized
upon Berlin's determination to cut greenhouse gas emissions
by 40%. The German government planned the announcement of
this draft legislation to provide momentum for the current
UNFCCC Conference in Bali. Our German interlocutors generally
believe that the climate change goals embodied in these
proposals are achievable. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The current proposals were first elaborated in the
summer of 2007. On August 23, Minister Gabriel and Economic
Minister Michael Glos jointly presented their 47-page climate
proposal (available from Embassy Berlin upon request) to the
German Cabinet for a decision during the Christan
Democratic/Social Democratic coalition government's mid-term
summer working retreat. On September 24, the German Economic
Ministry published a three-page summary report in English
(available from Embassy Berlin upon request), in which they
noted that the draft legislative package would be introduced
to the parliament before the climate change conference in
Bali. The draft legislation introduced on December 5th covers
the first 14 points of the so-called Meseberg Plan. The
government plans to present the draft legislation for the
other 15 points to the parliament in May 2008.

3. (SBU) Although the coalition government is in agreement on
these measures, they have not yet become law. The timing of
Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel's proposal was likely
aimed at showing that the Germans are taking something of
significance to the UNFCCC conference in Bali. Had this
announcement not fallen during the Bali conference, this
story may not have been picked up by international media
outlets -- which have tended to overstate the novelty of the
proposals.

4. (SBU) Our German interlocutors generally believe that the
climate change goals embodied in these proposals are
achievable. However, it is too early to make a definitive
assessment. To date, Germany has reduced its greenhouse gas
emissions nearly 19% from 1990 levels. It is accordingly
well on its way to meeting its 21% Kyoto target for the
2008-2012 period. However, according to Dr. Heidemarie
Apel-Schmelter, the senior staffer for the SPD environmental
caucus working group, nearly 9% of this drop came from the
dismantling of dirty industries in the former East Germany
(still, this was a very costly measure). After
reunification, the German government worked to clean up
highly polluting factories there. Additionally, on November
28th, Environment Minister Gabriel admitted that, if Germany
has a particularly tough winter, it might not achieve the 21%
target by the beginning of 2008.

6. (SBU) The four most important points of the Meseberg Plan
require that Germany:

-- expand its share of renewable energy;

-- substantively expand the environmentally friendly and
particularly efficient generation of electricity and heat in
combined heat and power plants (CHP);

-- adopt more stringent requirements for energy efficiency in
buildings;

-- work to develop a stable legal framework for carbon
capture and storage at the European level.

7. (SBU) The 14 specific points of the legislative proposal
include the following areas:

-- increase the share of CHP in electricity generation by
2020 to 25 percent

-- smart metering

-- raise energy requirements for buildings an average of 30
percent in 2009 and another 30 percent for 2012

-- increase the renewable energy share of heat consumption to
14 percent by 2020

BERLIN 00002177 002.3 OF 002

-- make federal buildings more energy efficient

-- promote electricity generation from biomass and wind;
increase the share of renewables in electricity generation to
30 percent by 2020

-- improve clean coal technology / power station technology

-- improve the feed-in of bio-gas to natural gas grids

-- expand the biofuels market by 20% in 2020

-- sustainability and biomass

-- increase the use of bioethanol

-- refine the processing of plant oils

-- tax vehicles based on carbon dioxide emissions as of May
2008

-- reduce emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases.
TIMKEN JR

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