The German climate cabinet presented its long-awaited draft of Germany’s first climate protection law on Friday (20 September). But environmental organisations are already calling for the revision of the proposed carbon price for the transport and construction sector. EURACTIV Germany reports.
The climate cabinet had presented a “very powerful package”, according to Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who presented the key points of the plan on Friday (20 September).
However, only two days after the publication of the draft, critics started to emerge.
In a joint statement, an alliance of ten environmental associations wrote that it was a “conglomeration of expensive incentive programs” that must be significantly improved.
The environmental organisation Deutsche Umwelthilfe even spoke of a “disastrous climate protection program” and called on the federal cabinet to refuse the package at its next meeting on Wednesday (25 September).
So far, the draft for the climate protection law has only been presented by the climate cabinet. This means that it still needs to be approved by all other ministers of the German cabinet, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat.
But politicians, particularly the Greens, who sit in nine state governments, are showing resistance.
Annalena Baerbock, the chairwoman of the Greens, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that she was “deeply disappointed”. She stated that the Greens in the Bundesrat would “closely examine” every bill from the climate package that requires approval.
As expected, the other opposition parties are also disappointed with the proposals for a climate law.
Compared to the Greens and the Left (Die Linke), who are in favour of increasing climate protection, the AfD (Alternative for Germany) wants to put an end to the Greens’ notion of “climate panic”. Notably, the AfD warned of the competitive disadvantages for the German economy.
“A ban on oil heating, and an increase in the price of heating oil, petrol, diesel, coal and natural gas: the citizens are mercilessly squeezed out because of an ideology,” the co-chairwoman of the AfD parliamentary group, Alice Weidel, tweeted.
One day before the climate package was presented, the party launched a campaign against the government’s “green environmental policy”. The AfD presented its climate protection programme, which, among other things, called for a stop to the expansion of renewable energies.
A tonne of CO2 remains cheaper than a metre of beer
Climate scientists believe that the proposed climate package will not be enough.
Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, believes that the proposed carbon price path will not ensure that the climate targets for 2030 are reached.
Edenhofer had advised the climate cabinet on a carbon price for transport and construction sector and demanded a starting price of €50 per tonne of CO2, which would then rise to 130 euros by 2030. However, the current proposal only provides for a fixed initial carbon price of €10 for these sectors starting 2021, which is set to rise to €35 euros by 2025, following which the pricing will be left to the market.
The proposed price is set to complement the European Emission Trading System (ETS), which only applies to CO2 emitted by the energy and industry sectors.
Brigitte Knopf, who together with Edenhofer, heads the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, also sees an “enormous gap in action”. According to her, the level set for the carbon price is purely a “cop-out”, which will be six years late in attaining the minimum levels necessary to reach the climate targets.
According to Knopf, the environment and economics ministries have designed a good framework, but the pricing level has “become a tool for political interests”.