Targets for the year 2030: What is in Berlin's final climate protection spurt
TIME ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates
Berlin (dpa) - If the leaders of the grand coalition find compromises on climate protection, most people in Germany are probably still in their beds - or already set up the first coffee.
The SPD, CDU and CSU are all expecting a long night before this Friday, when the Climate Cabinet meets for the decisive meeting. What should then be on the table: A plan for Germany to reach the goals of saving greenhouse gases for the year 2030. Or at least cornerstones of a plan.
Because so keen climate protectors, business and many citizens to wait for the decisions: Most of it must first be packed in laws and regulations, needs the blessing of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, ie the federal states.
It is a tightrope walk. Scientists predict catastrophic consequences, if it continues at the current pace with the earth heating - the drought summer 2018 has made many people aware that Germany would not be spared. Fridays for Future and other protest movements are on the rise. On the other hand, many are worried about their job, their standard of living, old habits. The coalition wants to find a middle ground: acting yes, but not overburdening anyone.
It will not be easy. That is why it has been calculated, negotiated and weighed for half a year - and expected to be decided on Friday morning. It's all about this:
CO2-PRICE: Or - as gasoline, diesel, heating oil, natural gas and coal are to be more expensive. This is meant to get people to buy climate-friendly cars and heaters and motivate companies to develop more. Whether the emission of the greenhouse gas CO2 will now become more expensive through a tax or through the more complex trade of pollution rights preferred by the Union makes no difference from a consumer point of view. The question is when it starts, at what price per ton of CO2 you start and how fast it is more expensive. 35 euros would mean that the liter of diesel 11 cents more expensive.
DISCHARGE: The government takes money via the CO2 price. This should go back to the citizens - or at least finance climate protection. From the per capita premium proposed by Minister of the Environment Svenja Schulze (SPD) is rather nothing, but at least in the medium term, the electricity price to sink, for example, the green electricity surcharge must not be paid with the electric bill. The distribution effect is about the same according to experts. Also for commuters there should be relief, such as a higher commuter tax, on it beats above all the Union. It is about giving the AfD no clipping, it is said.
INCENTIVES: Anyone who modernizes their home in such a way that the energy requirement decreases can apply for funding now. The offers should be more attractive and easier. For old oil heating, there could be a scrapping premium, the so-called energetic refurbishment of buildings should be fiscally promoted. The premium for e-cars is likely to rise - and the car tax will save even more in the future, who is climate-friendly on the road.
GENERAL CONDITIONS: Citizens should drive electric or hydrogen cars, better still by bus and train or bike. To do it, you need more rail and bus services, better timing, cheaper tickets, bike lanes, more charging stations and advances in alternative fuel research. The federal government wants to spend a lot of money and, for example, lower the VAT on long-distance train tickets and support municipalities. The taxes on airline tickets should increase - because flying harms the climate, but is often much cheaper than train driving.
SPECIFICATIONS: Is the installation of new oil heaters prohibited at some point? Or are they simply so high environmental standards that they can no longer be installed? Coalitionarians are having a particularly hard time with the issue of regulatory law - or even prohibitions. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has already indicated that it will not work without specifications.
CONTROL: And if it is not enough? If the target of reducing German greenhouse gas emissions from currently 866 million tons to 563 million tons by 2030 is not achieved - namely by 55 percent compared to 1990? It should give new rules on how to monitor progress, and how to adjust if necessary, with a higher carbon price or new programs.
ECOSTROME EXPANSION: Where fossil fuels are removed and cars are powered by electricity instead of diesel or gasoline, the demand for electricity increases - and if it is to be climate-friendly, it has to come from sun, wind, water and renewable resources. The official goal: Green electricity should have a share of 65 percent by 2030. It's just about 38 percent.
The Union and the SPD have been bitterly arguing for months about how and where more solar plants and wind turbines are to be built - especially against wind turbines, there are often violent protests on the ground. Particularly controversial regulations are the distance from wind turbines to residential buildings. That's a key question.
FINANCING: The German government does not want to shake the "black zero", the balanced budget - the promotion plans and investments should already cost around 40 billion euros or more by 2023. Money comes in through the CO2 price, there is still money in the Energy and Climate Fund. Perhaps the federal government is also borrowing money from climate bonds for the citizens who receive fixed interest rates for it.