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10 Jul 2020, 12:50
Julian Wettengel

German economic stimulus needs climate impact assessment - govt advisors

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s coronavirus crisis economic stimulus package must undergo a climate impact assessment to ensure it is in line with mid and long-term targets, the Steering Committee of the German Science Platform Climate Protection (WPKS) has said in a statement. "Along with the Climate Action Programme 2030, the economic stimulus package is the most important set of measures in terms of climate policy for this legislative period and thus falls under the audit mandate which the government has given to the [WPKS]," said steering committee co-chair Sabine Schlacke. She added that there should be a quick climate check for legislation that is debated in parliament, and then an ex-ante evaluation of the climate impact of individual measures, such as loans or other financial support, which should be initiated by the government.

The researchers also gave a short preliminary assessment, warning that investments from the stimulus package may conflict with Germany’s long-term climate goals due to a flawed incentive structure. However, they welcomed the fact that the package considers climate action as a key goal, especially through investments in infrastructure, research and development, despite the time pressure. But overall, they stated that the government should have done more to adapt the regulatory framework on energy and CO₂ prices. The researchers are calling for a comprehensive reform of national energy taxes and levies, as well as European emissions trading. They argue the government should “vigorously push” for a floor price in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) to lessen the negative impact of an allowance price drop due to the pandemic.

The German government decided in early June to reboot Europe's largest economy with a 130 billion euros stimulus package that contains steps to further the country's landmark energy transition. The independent advisory body WPSK is a cooperation of several research institutions and was set up to accompany the government’s long-term climate strategy.

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