2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 05:39
The heads of the coalition have agreed on a multi-billion dollar climate package. Criticism comes from environmental groups.
Higher prices for refueling and heating, but in return relief and incentives: For more climate protection in Germany, citizens and companies will face far-reaching changes.
Even under pressure from renewed climate protests, the leaders of the grand coalition agreed on a multi-billion dollar package on Friday. This should enable the Federal Republic of Germany to reliably achieve its binding climate targets for 2030. As a central element, climate-damaging carbon dioxide (CO2) is to receive a price. The federal cabinet is expected to make the necessary changes to the law this year. Criticism came immediately from environmentalists, the opposition and business.
Merkel speaks of a paradigm shift
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) spoke of a “paradigm shift” with a view to the renewed climate protection demonstrations. Consequences were rightly demanded from the fact that Germany might miss the climate target for 2020. Therefore a mechanism is to come, which is supposed to be “something like a guarantee” for a step-by-step achievement of the goals for 2030. The government's climate cabinet is supposed to draw up an interim balance sheet annually and ensure that adjustments are made.
The aim is to reduce Germany's greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 - from currently around 866 million to 563 million tons annually.
In parallel to the deliberations, there were large protests near the government district and in other German cities. According to the activists, a total of 1.4 million took to the streets in Germany, in Berlin alone 270,000 gathered, in Cologne 70,000, and according to the police there were also 70,000 in Hamburg. Police estimates were slightly lower than the organizers' figures. Hundreds of thousands of people in many other countries followed a global appeal by the youth movement Fridays for Future.
54 billion euros by 2023
Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said the coalition plans secure jobs and open up opportunities to modernize the German economy. Investments totaling more than 54 billion euros are planned by 2023. There should be no new debt for financing. All additional income should flow into climate protection measures or relief for the citizens.
Funding should be particularly attractive at the beginning and then melt away later. In the next few years there will be “the great opportunity” to switch to climate-friendly options the next time you buy a car or replace a heater, according to a 22-page key point paper.
Criticism from BUND and environmental aid
“The grand coalition failed because of its own goals. This is bitter news for the climate and for all climate protectors who flooded the streets today. The federal government is not delivering a big hit and no answer to the climate crisis,”said Hubert Weiger, Chairman of the Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND). “The Union is mainly responsible for the lack of ambition, but the SPD also apparently did not have the strength to enforce its positions. This weak climate package documents the failure to face the challenge of the climate crisis and the obligations from the Paris climate agreement,”Weiger continued.
For the Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) there is no discernible plan to start CO2 reductions. “The introduction of a CO2 price via national emissions trading for the transport and building sectors is like a total failure in terms of climate policy. The implementation will take years,”said the DUH.
Even after months of negotiations, there is only a bundle of key points and measures that are miles behind the obligations of the Paris climate agreement, criticized Greenpeace. The German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) emphasized that a lot of detailed work was still necessary to ensure planning security for investments. Left parliamentary group leaders Sahra Wagenknecht and Dietmar Bartsch spoke of a "largely ineffective patchwork of measures".
An overview of important elements
CO2 PRICE: A CO2 price in transport and heat generation is intended to trigger a boost for climate-friendly drives and heating. The pricing of gasoline, diesel, heating oil and natural gas is to start in 2021 with a fixed price for pollution rights of 10 euros per ton of CO2. The price is to rise gradually to 35 euros by 2025.
Only then should the price of the pollution rights be formed via a trade and determined within a corridor of supply and demand. It is not the end customers who have to deal with pollution rights, but companies that offer fossil heating and fuel. However, the consequence is that it becomes more expensive to refuel and heat. The CO2 price is to become part of the final price in the future. Experts assume that a CO2 price of 35 euros per ton makes diesel fuel, for example, more than 9 cents more expensive.
TRAFFIC: In return for the CO2 price, the commuter allowance is set to rise. Per kilometer, 35 cents instead of 30 cents should be deducted from the tax - from the 21st kilometer and limited until the end of 2026. To increase the weak demand for electric cars, the purchase premium paid by the federal government and manufacturers is to be increased - for cars with one Price of less than 40,000 euros. The vehicle tax for new cars is to be geared more closely to CO2 emissions.
The coalition also wants to make rail travel cheaper and flights more expensive. The value added tax on long-distance train tickets is to be reduced from 19 to 7 percent. The Deutsche Bahn immediately announced that the prices for ICE and Intercitys will drop by ten percent when they come into effect. There should be no price increase that is otherwise common at the end of the year. In return for this tax cut, the air traffic tax for take-offs from German airports is to increase on January 1, 2020.
HEATING: The change from old oil heating systems to more climate-friendly new models is to be promoted with an "exchange bonus" of up to 40 percent of the costs. The installation of new oil heating systems is to be banned from 2026 - "in buildings in which more climate-friendly heat generation is possible". A tax subsidy is planned for the energy-saving building renovation.
ECO-ELECTRICITY: In return for a CO2 price in traffic and buildings, the EEG surcharge for promoting green electricity is to be reduced from 2021. The expansion of green electricity is to be accelerated. In order to increase the acceptance of new wind turbines, municipalities are to receive a financial share in the operation of plants in the future. (AG / dpa)
The government's climate cabinet met for the first time on Wednesday. Environmental associations and car clubs have called on the ministers to take concrete measures
The bosses of the car manufacturers meet on Tuesday evening for a discussion in the Federal Chancellery for the car summit. It's about promoting
Leading environmental groups have called for more realistic emissions tests. All vehicles would have to be measured in real operation - and that under supervision
Bike racks are safe when transporting two-wheelers by car. The ADAC inspectors observed evasive maneuvers for some products
Three environmental associations fear that the current negotiations on a Europe-wide CO2 limit will fail. They asked the politicians to do one