Ambitious plan boosts green power, energy saving, CO2 offsets German climate policy is compelling companies to clean up
One of Germany’s biggest and oldest companies wants to become carbon neutral by next year, starting a race to tap more green power, ramp up energy savings and offset emissions.
Robert Bosch GmbH announced the sweeping plan that will impact 400 sites worldwide on Thursday. It puts the 133-year-old company at the forefront German blue chips moving to eliminate emissions as new costs loom for greenhouse gas pollution. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has been cracking down on the carbon dioxide emitted by Europe’s biggest economy in order to meet obligations under the Paris climate accord.
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The Stuttgart-based company intends to cut 3.3 million tons of carbon emissions next year, said Chief Executive Officer Volkmar Denner in a speech on Thursday. Companies in Germany have no choice but to grasp the nettle and make the cuts, he said.
“Climate change is not science fiction,” according to the CEO, a trained physicist who said global warming is beginning to take a dramatic hold on societies. “Driving bans, diesel protests, yellow vests, and Friday climate strikes -- all this shows that companies need to take climate action.”
Denner didn’t say how much Bosch’s initiative would cost. The closely-held company’s strategy has seen growing sales of goods and services that boost energy efficiencies and curb emissions. Bosch spends about half of its $8 billion research and development budget on environment-linked technologies.
Merkel’s government is compelled to follow the European Commission’s so-called Effort Sharing Directive that targets carbon dioxide reductions in energy, transport, heating and cooling, industry and farming. The policy is intended to help countries meet their 2030 pledges tied to the Paris Agreement.
Pollution costs are already borne by some 2,000 of the Germany’s most energy-intensive companies via certificates purchased as members of the EU’s Emissions Trading System. That leaves about 3.6 million German companies that aren’t enrolled in carbon trades and who may soon face extra costs on emissions from factories to car fleets.
Merkel’s coalition government of the Christian Democratic Union and Social Democrats is at loggerheads over which financial instruments to adopt in order to achieve climate goals. Squabbling this month has centered on proposals to make fossil fuel use in transport and heating more expensive.