BLOG: Visiting Germany's Clean Energy Sites

March-25-15

March 25, 2015 

At the invitation of the German government, a delegation of Canadian academics, environmental policy experts, public servants and myself are touring German clean energy sites and cities transitioning to renewable energy. Germany's Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy are hosting over 900 delegates at the 2015 Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue later this week, and I'll be participating in my role as the Liberal Party's environment critic. The Conservative government in Ottawa hasn't sent a single representative, though.

Unlike Canada, Angela Merkel's government is very serious about climate change. There is broad political and societal consensus here that climate change is real, and that the window to keep the planet from warming beyond 2° Celsius is closing quickly. Germany still relies on fossil fuels to power its economy, but not for long. The Merkel government is committed to getting 60 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2035. They're already half way there. Fearful of disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima, Germany is making the jump to renewables while also phasing out nuclear energy.

Germany is fully invested in transitioning to a low-carbon economy. It made its Kyoto targets, is doubling down on its Copenhagen targets and is leading the European Union in preparing for the Paris COP 21 later this year. Some forty countries have been invited to the Merkel government's sixth annual Petersburg Climate Dialogue set to take place in a few months. Chancellor Merkel will also be hosting the G7 in June and success at COP 21 is sure to be a top priority. The contrast between Germany's action and the Harper government 's inaction is painful and embarrassing.
 
- John McKay M.P.