No, nobody has to be afraid of climate protection à la Andreas Scheuer. According to the Federal Minister of Transport of the CSU, in the coming years billions of euros will be brought under the people: for new bicycle lanes, as a purchase premium for electric cars, for cheaper train tickets and the expansion of public transport.

Anything that would guarantee more liability, ie legal requirements, can hardly be done with the Union. Instead, in their proposals for climate protection we are experiencing a new edition of the principle of voluntariness first, which has shaped the environmental policy of the CDU and CSU for decades. At almost every point where the SPD wants to bring real political pressure, it fails because of the resistance of the Union. Ban new oil heaters from 2030? Not with the union. Sanctions for ministries that do not reach their climate goals? For God's sake.

The discouragement that the Union has so far displayed in the climate debate is shocking. Instead, the double dogma rules: no tax increases, no new debt. Although the Union wants to reduce CO2 emissions by making it more expensive. However, it rejects a CO2 tax even if, according to many climate experts, this would be the fastest and most practicable way. After all, she promised citizens years ago that there would be no tax hikes with her. She keeps it slavishly now. Even the removal of environmentally harmful subsidies is taboo.

And because the black zero in the budget must be kept at all costs, the Union wants to collect the money for their many beautiful climate projects rather than a foundation, instead of letting the Federal new loans, even if in the end higher interest due. The Union is wasting taxpayers' money rather than conceding that it needs to reassess former beliefs. That's the opposite of responsible politics.

The reason for this behavior is obvious: the Union is staring frightened at its own bad poll numbers and the yellow-voted protests in France, which finally lit up, not least because of higher energy costs. They fear that especially in the country higher energy prices of the AfD could open up completely new layers of voters.

Good conditions

But fear is always a bad guide in politics, especially the fear of their own voters. Of course it is right to see to it that the costs of climate protection do not lead to social upheaval and are not paid unilaterally by the people in the countryside, while city dwellers benefit above all else. A citizen or energy money that could redistribute some of the CO2 tax revenue is a good way of compensating. Nevertheless, politicians should have the courage to make uncomfortable decisions if this benefits the common good. That's exactly what they are chosen for. If circumstances so require, they must also be able to question and revise longstanding beliefs. If the rulers were to fight for a cause that they recognized as important, they could also inspire their constituents.

In any case, the conditions for a policy change in the sense of a genuine and not just simulated climate protection are currently outstanding in Germany. A very large majority of people want politics to finally take effective action. And the only people who take to the streets in this country are people who demand vehemently more climate protection, not those who fear it. The Union and the SPD could build on this mood with clear messages and clear leadership. They would only have to overcome their own despondency.