Climate change is a key issue in this election campaign.

None of the three parties that have a candidate for chancellor skimp on powerful words that declare the fight against global warming to be a crucial task of the future federal government.

"Stopping climate change is a human task," says the SPD, the Greens speak of the "existential question of our time", the CDU of the "preservation of creation" to which the Christian image of man obliges.

How do the parties live up to the expectations that they themselves create?

Andreas Nefzger

Editor in politics.

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Timo Steppat

Editor in politics.

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In principle, all three parties feel committed to the Paris Climate Agreement and the goal of limiting man-made global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times.

The CDU and SPD are sticking to the well-known reduction targets for Germany - 65 percent less greenhouse gases in 2030, a minus of 88 percent in 2040, climate neutrality in 2045. The Greens want “to revise the inadequate climate protection law and the climate protection plan and - in line with the higher new one European climate target - raise the German 2030 climate target to 70 percent ”.

It is not surprising that climate policy is particularly important to the Greens.

Even fields such as the financial markets and international trade agreements are analyzed from the perspective of climate protection.

It culminates in the idea of ​​a CO2 brake: if the Greens have their way, every new law will in future be checked for its climate impact.

In an immediate program that the party presented at the beginning of August, the Greens concretized this proposal: A climate protection ministry should have a veto right on every law.

Environmental groups particularly criticize the CDU and the SPD for the fact that their goals remain vague.

Renewable energy

The Union wants to make the expansion of renewable energies “much faster” than before, the SPD promises “a decade of resolute expansion of renewable energies”, and the Greens want an “expansion offensive”. It should also go faster with electricity and rail lines. The Union wants to bundle routes, the Greens emphasize the importance of citizen participation procedures. Much sounds similar. The direction of the thrust is clear: things should go faster now. Policy management is likely to be decisive for this. And possible reforms to shorten the procedures that have so far delayed the construction of wind turbines.

Union Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet therefore spoke out in favor of shortening planning and implementation processes, and for this also legally restricting the right to classify actions. SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz was open to it. The Greens do not think this is the right step, the energy transition is not going “against the citizens”. In the past, it was often local groups of environmental associations that are close to the Greens who complained against the wind turbines or power lines. When appearing in election campaigns, Scholz often points out that the expansion of wind power is too slow, especially in countries where the Greens co-rule. He cites Baden-Württemberg as an example, where the number of wind turbines only rose by five in 2020.