21 Dec 2023, 13:09
Sören Amelang

Environmental NGOs launch campaign to call for returning carbon pricing income to citizens

Clean Energy Wire

A broad alliance of environmental organisations and NGOs has launched an online campaign calling on the German government to pass on revenue from its national carbon pricing scheme to citizens. Campaigners say the money should be used as compensation for rising costs due to measures implemented to protect the climate. "We can no longer afford not to protect the climate. It is therefore right that CO2-intensive behaviour becomes more expensive. However, this requires socially just compensation for the additional burden on citizens," the appeal says. The campaign has already gathered about 20,000 supporters and is aiming for 30,000. The 16 signatories – among them WWF Germany, Climate Alliance Germany, Friends of the Earth Germany – argue that the CO2 price on fuel and heating energy must be supplemented by a so-called “climate bonus” (“Klimageld” in German), something the government parties agreed on in their coalition treaty, but is yet to be implemented. The initiative said the climate bonus could “counteract a further division and polarisation of society.”

In an open letter addressed to Social Democrat (SPD) chancellor Olaf Scholz, Green economy and climate minister Robert Habeck, and finance minister Christian Lindner from the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), the NGOs are calling for the climate bonus to be introduced by next summer. According to Berlin think tank MCC, every German resident would be entitled to a climate bonus of 130 euros in 2024 if all of the revenue from the CO2 price was used. Following the same criteria, the bonus could increase to 250 euros by 2027, says the appeal. The campaign emphasises that the mechanism would especially benefit lower to middle income groups, and increase acceptance for measures to protect the climate among a broad majority of the population. Last week, however, policymakers of the SPD cast doubt on whether the plan could be implemented, given that the constitutional court ruling causing Germany’s recent budget crisis had “severely restricted” the government’s financial scope.

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