Climate Action

Senate Briefing on COP21: What’s in the Paris Climate Deal?

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute held a briefing on February 10th in the Dirksen Senate Building, covering the Paris Climate Deal of late 2015. The briefing covered the policies Germany and France plan to implement in order to fulfill their end of the deal. Bruno Fulda, the Counselor for Ecology, Transportation and Energy at the French Embassy, and Georg Maue, the 1st Secretary for Energy and Climate at the German Embassy in DC, discussed their respective nations’ goals and projects. According to Fulda, COP21 can be described as “an ambitious and universal,” “dynamic” and “fair and inclusive agreement.” For France, 2016’s key issues include dealing with things that were uncovered by COP such as maritime and aviation sectors. Maue focused on German’s plans to work more on the energy sector. These projects were initiated before the conference and now are well underway. Germany’s share of renewables is growing in all sectors, but particularly in electricity. Their target is to have zero carbon electricity by mid-century from the current 40% of electricity coming from coal-fired power plants. Maue also added that Germany cannot achieve targets without first achieving success in the coal sector. In the future, Germany plans to continue to employ more technologies in wind and other clean energy sources. An important question was asked during the Q&A session: what effect does the recent Supreme Court decision to halt Obama’s Clean Power Plan have on the progress already made through signing the Paris Climate Deal? Other countries are already moving forward in their part of the agreement; the United States cannot back down now.