Conservatives to present few details on climate policy in election programme
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU)/Christian Social Union (CSU) alliance is set to name few climate policy details in its joint election manifesto, which is due to be presented later today. A promise of modernisation for Germany as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic and the goal of making the country climate neutral by 2045 are at the centre of a draft document, according to media reports. Robert Birnbaum writes in Tagesspiegel that the 2045 goal is already part of the outgoing coalition’s Climate Action Law and notes that one sentence easily summarises the alliance’s platform: “We will relieve both citizens and companies instead of burdening them.” The alliance, known locally as the Union, supports expanded CO2 emissions trading, but it has not said how much more expensive climate-damaging behaviour should be made, nor specified future CO2 prices. The Union will rely on "the market-based instrument of emissions trading with social compensation" and strive for European trading with a uniform price and global connectivity, Spiegel adds, citing the programme draft. The growth path of CO2 pricing should be streamlined and "move as quickly as possible to a price established on the market in the newly established European emissions trading for mobility and heating". CO2-related fees that are collected should be returned in full to citizens and companies via electricity prices, Spiegel notes. Demonstrating support for Germany’s car industry, the Union rejects a general ban on internal combustion engines and embraces alternative fuel development: "We are giving the internal combustion engine a future with renewable fuels," says the draft. The parties also reject diesel driving bans and a general speed limit on the Autobahn. Speaking to Bild am Sonntag, CSU leader and Bavaria Premier Markus Söder stressed that the Union would seek to abolish the country’s electricity tax, increase the tax break for commuters and introduce a nationwide 365 euro flat-rate ticket for public transport from 2030.
CDU chief and North Rhine-Westphalia state premier Armin Laschet is currently the top contender to succeed Merkel as head of government following Germany’s federal election on 26 September. The climate and energy issue is expected to have a major impact on this year’s election as rising temperatures, severe drought and climate protests have put emission-reduction efforts at the top of the agenda.