German finance minister opts for emission fines rather than climate action - report
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has opted to pay expensive fines for failing to meet emissions targets rather than invest in climate action, Daniel Wetzel writes for Die Welt. The new budget tabled Wednesday does not include financial support to make buildings more energy-efficient, Wetzel reports, saying the minister’s approach “has left representatives of energy and green technology, as well as the construction sector, stunned.” According to the German Property Federation (ZIA), the government promise to make investment in building efficiency tax-deductible was an important tool to reduce emissions from the heating sector. “This opportunity must not be squandered,” ZIA head Andreas Mattner said.
The budget contains reserves of up to 300 million euros until 2022 for fines payable under the EU’s effort-sharing mechanism for emissions reduction in sectors not covered by the EU emissions trading system (ETS), which include transport, heating and agriculture. A commission for emission reduction in the buildings sector was promised in Germany’s coalition treaty but has yet to be set up by interior minister Horst Seehofer, who is also in charge of the buildings department.