Continuing Environmental Leadership? Germany after the Election

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Germany has become a world leader in environmental protection and climate change policies. Particularly in the years of the red-green coalition (1998-2005), milestone policies such as the ecological tax reform, the nuclear phase out, and the feed-in tariff for renewable energies were implemented. The remarkable impact: Germany has managed to build up a world leading clean energy sector with more than 280,000 employees working in renewable energies and with renewable energies making up more than 16% of the power market. But since September 27 Germany has a new center-right government that might put business interests over climate and environmental concerns. What will happen to Germany’s clean energy leadership under the black-yellow coalition between Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP)?

Following tough negotiations lasting three weeks in October, Germany’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) finally emerged with a coalition agreement entitled: "Growth. Education. Solidarity". Trade unions, opposition leaders and the press savaged German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new-look government over what they called a fiscally reckless and socially unjust plan for the next term. This paper summarizes the prospects of the black-yellow coalition in key fields such as climate policies, renewable energies, and the role of nuclear energy.

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