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09 Sep 2019, 13:36
Julian Wettengel

Bavarian CSU presents climate plan ahead of crucial 20 September govt meeting

The Bavarian conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) – sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDUhas agreed on what it calls a "comprehensive climate action concept" as the federal government coalition enters the final two weeks of negotiations on a major climate action legislation package to be decided in a meeting on 20 September. The CSU is calling for climate neutrality in Germany "by 2050 at the latest". It says it wants to bring together "social, economic and ecologic goals" in one strategy, emphasising "innovation instead of bans". The party rejects a CO₂ tax in the transport and buildings sectors, instead calling for an emissions trading system with upper and lower price limits for the allowances – to be updated regularly. "Due to rising CO₂ prices, carbon intensity will become a key economic indicator in the short to medium term," the CSU writes. It proposes to use the revenues from the trading system to pay for Germany's feed-in tariffs for renewable power, thus lowering the current renewables surcharge. The party also proposes tax rebates for climate-friendly investments by private citizens and businesses, such as energy-efficient modernisation of buildings or buying climate-friendly appliances. It also intends to keep the controversial "10H" minimum distance rule for new wind turbines, meaning they have to keep a distance of at least ten times their height from residential areas.

In an opinion piece in Tagesspiegel, Robert Birnbaum comments on how the CSU – which has until now made headlines by supporting German carmakers, farmers and industry, rather than increasing climate ambitions – has changed course in recent months. "The blacks [conservative CSU members] are greening – without turning red," he writes, and adds that the switch has a lot to do with political expediency.

CSU MPs last week presented their own climate proposals, which show a large overlap with the party's newly decided strategy. Both will feed into the decisions to be made by Chancellor Angela Merkel's climate cabinet on 20 September. Draft plans by federal coalition partners CDU and SPD indicate agreement on many measures, but possible systems for CO₂ pricing for transport and buildings and the question of whether or not to make climate targets legally binding remain key sticking points.

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