Implementing the EU 2020 Energy and Climate Package in Germany: Green Champion Struggling to Adapt

FNI Report 9/2014. Lysaker, FNI, 2014, 101 p.

This report examines Germany’s implementation of the EU climate and energy policy package to attain 2020 goals: the extent to which and how these policies have been implemented to date. Germany has seen mixed implementation performance. Transposition was completed with delays for the CCS Directive and the adoption of national implementation measures under the ETS. The Renewable Energy Directive was transposed on time, but national policies and measures became contested, with repeated calls for reform. Rapid growth in renewable electricity means that Germany was on track to meet its main Renewable Energy Directive target, despite a halt in progress for renewable heat and a setback for renewable fuels in transport (not on track to meet the 10% renewables share for transport fuels). Germany was not on track as regards meeting its obligations for reducing GHG emissions, reflecting increased use of coal for electricity generation and implementation problems for policies targeting the major non-ETS sectors of transport and buildings. Our analysis shows that misfit in what Germany wanted and what was decided at the EU level does not provide a good explanation for implementation problems. The EU package design fitted well with Germany’s policy preferences. Domestic politics has proved important. Implementation problems variously reflected horizontal and vertical fragmentation in the politico-administrative apparatus. State-level governments with co-decision powers were instrumental in curtailing measures proposed by the federal-level government, thus acting as a veto player. A consensual policymaking style with broad consultation dominated German energy and climate policy in the implementation period. This provided no guarantee for smooth implementation when underlying interests and opposition were strong. German implementation included a packaging approach aimed at levelling costs and benefits between the states and societal groups and thus reducing conflict. This facilitated implementation of parts of the package, but was insufficient to overcome opposition against other parts of the package.