Info: What is a Climate Action Program?

One term - many meanings. A number of variations on the German term "Klimaschutz-Sofortprogramm" have been highly visible in German political discussions about climate change in recent months. But what do the terms Klimaschutz-Sofortprogramm, Klima-Sofortprogramm or simply Sofortprogramm actually mean? Each refers to different programs depending on the context - here we provide a brief overview.

Despite the diversity in word-choice, the different programs are similar in terms of their focus: Germany’s CO2 neutrality by 2045 and, as an interim target, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by 2030 (compared with 1990 levels).

Abbildung 1: Übersicht der Sofortprogramme

Mehr Fortschritt wagen” – Climate Action Program in the coalition agreement 2021-2025 1:

  • Package of measures from the coalition agreement of the “Ampel” parties. Agreed to by the parties before officially forming the federal government.
  • Declaration of intent, but not legally binding
  • To be launched with all necessary laws, ordinances and measures by the end of 2022
  • Contents include: Climate protection in the building sector: as of January 1, 2025, newly installed heating systems are to be powered by renewable energies (65%); acceleration of planning and approval procedures for electricity and hydrogen grids; etc.
  • Update: Folllowing the Ampel parties officially forming a government, Robert Habeck, now Minister of Economics and Climate Protection, announced at the presentation of the opening statement on Jan. 11, 2022, that the immediate climate protection program is to be implemented in two legislative packages in 2022

Climate Action Program of the grand coalition 2021 (or Climate Action Program 2022) 2:

  • Investment program passed in 2021 by the grand coalition, the new federal government formed by the Ampel parties.
    • Also known as the Climate Action Plan 2022
  • Legally binding legislation, enacted on June 23rd, 2021
  • Additional 8 billion euros allocated for climate protection
  • Contains sectoral and cross-sectoral measures, with a focus on fast-acting measures.

Climate Action Program in the Federal Climate Change Act (KSG) 3:

  • Mandatory measure in the event of failure to meet sectoral targets
  • Legally binding legislation, in force since August 31st, 2021
  • Establishment of binding climate targets at sector level (energy, industry, buildings, transport, agriculture, and waste management) and emission limits in the KSG
  • If targets (set annually) are not met, the respective federal ministries are obligated to define measures for remedial action (a sector-specific Climate Action Program) in order to bring the sector back in line with targets

Climate Action Program by Agora Energiewende 4:

  • Impulse paper by the think tanks Agora Energiewende and  Agora Verkehrswende together with the Climate Neutrality Foundation:
  • Not legally binding
  • 22 key points for the first 100 days of the new German federal government (if approved by the cabinet in the first 100 days, they could come into force in the summer of 2022)
  • Builds upon 50 policy recommendations for the 20th legislative period from 2021-2025 (made by the same authors in June 2021)