German Court of Auditors calls on govt to “seriously consider” carbon price
Kay Scheller, president of Germany’s Court of Auditors (Bundesrechnungshof), says the government should “seriously consider introducing a CO2 price” to meet the country’s emissions reduction goals. “Those who have to pay for pollution have an incentive to reduce it,” Scheller said in an interview with Welt Online. At the same time, the government should examine whether existing subsidies, fees and levies are still fit for purpose, he said, referring to lower taxes on diesel compared to petrol, the exemption for certain companies from power and energy taxes, and the buyer’s premium for e-cars, which the government recently extended despite low interest from customers. “I don’t want to advocate any measure that simply increases taxes, but rather call for a thorough trawl through the system of fees and levies,” Scheller said. “Many taxes and regulations that only benefit particular interest groups could be removed.”
Germany’s Court of Auditors, whose job it is to oversee government spending and identify possible savings, has repeatedly criticised the government’s climate policies. In late 2018, the auditors said the government lacks an overview of the total cost of the Energiewende and called for greater cost transparency, efficiency and coordination of the energy transition, in order to keep the public on board. Numerous economists and other experts have advocated carbon pricing as a cost-efficient tool to bring down emissions. But the new German state secretary for energy in the economy ministry, Andreas Feicht, recently ruled out carbon pricing coming in under the current government.