Flensburg, Germany: Germany climate change policies

Climate change became a hot topic on the majority of political agendas dominating most of the discussions in the last years. This is happening because the issue is alarming and it touches most aspects of our lives, from economic to social areas. Germany is not escaping from this, as it is one of the largest global economies and its stance in this cannot be denied. Similar to other states, Germany has to cut down its gas emissions in order to maintain a global temperature below 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels until 2030. (News | DW |2019) 

Thus, the German political class has started to take action to mitigate climate change and has set an example to the world. The country is already well-known for its well-structured recycling mechanism and its endeavors to reduce the number of diesel cars. From 2007, the German politicians started to formulate targets in the fight against climate change  when they finally put their actions onto paper. (Appunn&Wettengel, 2019) Therefore, more strategic official documents followed, such as The Climate Action Plan 2050 in 2016 as a result of the Paris Agreement negotiations, and the Climate Action Programme 2020 from 2014- an earlier document which didn’t meet its promises. (BMU, n.d.)

However, on 18th December an important law entered into force mainly supported by Angela Merkel’s coalition CDU/CSU with the social democratic party. Known under the name of Climate Action Law, this package is not formed of only one law, but it addresses multiple sectors of the German economy, from coal exit to e-mobility. This was created as a long-term climate policy and the targets were set to be met until 2030. (Appunn&Wettengel, 2019) 

Under this framework, a policy programme of measures called the Climate Action Programme is included. The main goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% of the 1990 level, supporting different endeavours such as: rewarding the climate-friendly actions or increasing the prices on CO2 in the transport and heating sectors. (‘Federal Government, 2019)

Flensburg Germany, EST Ambassador 2020: Carmen Murgu


References

Appunn, K., Wettengel, J., ( 18.12.2019), Germany’s Climate Action Law.  Journalism for the Energy Transition. From: https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/germanys-climate-action-law-begins-take-shape

DW News.(20.12.2019). German upper house approves amended climate plans. From: https://www.dw.com/en/german-upper-house-approves-amended-climate-plans/a-51750251

Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Climate Action Plan 2050 – Germany’s long-term emission development strategy. From: https://www.bmu.de/en/topics/climate-energy/climate/national-climate-policy/greenhouse-gas-neutral-germany-2050/

The Federal Government, (20.09.2019). Climate Action Programme 2030. From: https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-en/issues/climate-action/klimaschutzprogramm-2030-1674080

Messina, Italy: The academic Global Studies and research about environmental policies. Analysis of issues, solutions, subjects and normative

The position and the role of Academia in Italy about the climate and environmental policies are codified in the Global Studies sector, in particular, in the Environmental policy discipline of research and study of the actual argument. The analysis goes to see the problems faced by the environment, possible solutions, backgrounds followed, and the international, local, public and private subjects involved; as well as the conferences, conventions, agenda, protocols, and treaties shared.

Our economic system is basically anthropic, dedicated to using the resources useful for very high consumerism, related also to a high and increasing global population. The primary sector is involved in technology and intensive agriculture using a lot of chemical products, fertilizers, pesticides with heavy effects on Earth, as polluted and degraded ground. With their growing production, industries dangerously pollute the atmosphere, causing the greenhouse effect, climate change, the high temperature, melting glaciers, sea-level rise, violent meteorological phenomena, global and local environmental issues, acid rains, desertification. Other anthropic actions cause deforestation and biodiversity loss.

The possible solutions to prevent this pollution go from managing better the natural resources, protecting biodiversity, reforesting (as done in Europe in the ‘90s), doing decontaminations and the disposal of chemical materials or reducing the intensive agriculture and the atmospheric emissions. Industries mean to use more ecological, economical and modern technologies in their production cycles, recycling, reusing materials and using more renewable resources. Actually, unfortunately, also using these methods, the production and the general consumerism tend to stay higher than their sustainable impact. 

A balance between population numbers, their needs, and the natural resources is desirable. The goals should be planning a sustainable growth, managing the resources, empowering the research and the technologies, aiming this broad and global argument to shared goals and solutions, for a sustainable environment related to the activities of the society. 

Other policies are also followed through normatives such as taxes, costs against the polluters (incentive taxes if they reduce the pollution), territorial sustainable plans and protected areas. Moreover, there are important aspects to consider such as participation in environmental policies, public opinion, and social movements. The most important subjects involved in the international context are international organizations, the European Union, the national States, Regions, local institutions, environmental agencies, citizen associations, enterprises. The global normative references are mentioned in the Stockholm Conference 1972, the Rio Conference 1992, the Kyoto Protocol 1997, the Aarhus Convention 1998, the Agenda 21 1992, the Millenium Development Goals 2000 (Bagliani & Dansero, 2011).

Messina Italy, EST Ambassador 2020: Giosè Venuto


References 

Bagliani, M., Dansero, E., (2011) Politiche per l’ambiente, Novara, Italy, Utet

 

Milan, Italy: The separation of roles in Italy’s environmental policies: an important factor

The climate will be the defining issue of our generation. Even for the most stalwart of sceptics, there is little contesting such a fact. Ursula Von Der Leyen’s engagement to turn the whole continent climate neutral by 2050 is clear proof of how this consideration is not lost on those leading our Union. However, even more so than with other policies, the effort necessary to limit our emissions and save the planet for those to come cannot merely be a top-down one. Member States, local authorities, and individual citizens have a crucial role to play, one that cannot be overstated.

The Italian case is no exception. Italy’s environmental policy-making has a governance model that is, in fact, quintessentially multilevel. While Article 117 of the Italian Constitution attributes the protection of the environment and the ecosystem to the unitary State, a host of competencies attributed to the regions, provinces and municipalities overlap, de facto lightening the load of the capital’s central administration. These competencies range from transport to agriculture, tourism to public health, all the way to policies on forests and water basins.. Much like the EU sets the standards with its directives and the Member States then implement regulations at the lower level, most of the day-to-day environmental management happens through the principle of subsidiarity enshrined in Article 118 of the Constitution.

Taking the example of waste management, the system is so articulate so as to share the competence between the state, the region, the province and the municipality. However, from the structure of the system stem both its main advantages and disadvantages. A layered approach to tackling recycling makes it so that policies take into account local specificities, all the while maintaining country-wide guidelines and legislation. Yet, the concrete results in the ecological transition are wildly different within the country: going back to waste, regions such as Veneto recycle 74% of their litter, while Sicily’s counterpart figure is only 22% (Istat, 2019). The impending, eternal dilemma looms over Italy: how does one incentivise the good administration of virtuous regions and cities, all the while bridging the gap with the ones lagging behind? A strikingly similar question to the one many in Brussels have about the EU. How does it obtain decentralization and convergence at the same time? Should we strive for unity in outcomes, or accept the reality of a ‘two-speed Europe’? The question is a tough one to answer.


References

(National Institute for Statistics – Istat, (2019), Raccolta differenziata dei rifiuti: comportamenti e soddisfazione dei cittadini e politiche nelle città | Anni 2017-2018. As seen on the 11/01/2020 on https://www.istat.it/it/files/2019/10/Report_raccolta_differenziata.pdf