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12 Aug 2019, 12:29
Julian Wettengel

Conservative party head calls for overhaul of German energy taxes and levies

Clean Energy Wire / Welt am Sonntag

The head of Germany's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, wants to step up climate action through a "fundamental overhaul" of Germany's energy taxes and levies. In a joint guest commentary with party colleague Andreas Jung in Welt am Sonntag, the two politicians suggest making greenhouse gas emissions the main criterion and introducing an emissions limit for the transport and buildings sectors – without going into details – while lowering the renewables levy and power tax. "With a research, innovation and technology campaign, we will preserve the [earth] for our children and grandchildren," they wrote. Kramp-Karrenbauer and Jung – who is in charge of developing a climate strategy with the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the CSU – propose measures such as tax incentives for energy-efficient building modernisation, and a scrappage premium for old oil heating systems. As a contribution to generational justice, they are aiming to reach climate neutrality in Germany by 2050 without creating new public debt, they added. They also plan to make “sustainable development” a binding task for the state by putting it into German Basic Law.
In a separate opinion piece in General-Anzeiger, Birgit Marschall wrote that the CDU's guest commentary represented "an unsystematic collection of isolated ideas". In light of the call for no new public debt, it remains "totally unclear" how Kramp-Karrenbauer plans to finance proposals such as the scrappage premium or the expansion of public transport, Marschall added.

The federal government coalition aims to agree on legislation by the end of 2019 to ensure Germany reaches its 2030 climate targets. It has promised to decide on key climate action proposals in a meeting of chancellor Angela Merkel's climate cabinet on 20 September, with CO₂ pricing likely playing a part. In preparation, the three government parties are developing their own climate action strategies to feed into the debate. While the CDU's government partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), has called for a carbon tax for the transport and buildings sectors, most CDU politicians have rejected introducing new taxes, instead proposing to adjust existing taxes and levies or setting up new emissions trading schemes.

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