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14 Apr 2021, 15:02
Sören Amelang

German Free Democrats bet on emissions trading in election manifesto

Clean Energy Wire

Germany's pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) plans to enter the election campaign with a pledge to extend emissions trading as the main tool for fighting climate change. The party wants to "extend the EU emissions trading to all sectors and other geographic areas as quickly as possible" in order to protect the climate "in a market-based and scientifically secure manner," the party's draft manifesto says. "Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. But if we tackle it right, it can also become one of our greatest opportunities," states the programme, which party delegates still need to approve at a convention in May. "We are expressly committed to the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to a maximum of 2, if possible 1.5 degrees Celsius."

The party programme argues that "many of the bans, subsidies and support measures adopted to reduce CO2 emissions in transport do not lead to a reduction, but only to rising costs and market distortion. Only emissions trading guarantees a cap on total climate gas emissions." The party also advocates the use of synthetic fuels for "all means of transport" as these can be used in conventional combustion engines. Many climate activists argue that energy-intensive synthetic fuels should only be used for shipping and aviation because, in contrast to road transport, these sectors can't be electrified directly. 

On 26 September, Germany will head to the ballots to elect a new federal parliament, deciding which party will lead the next coalition government and therefore shape the country’s climate and energy policy. The Free Democrats are currently polling at around nine percent but hope to achieve a "strong double digit result" that could rule out both a coalition between Angela Merkel's Conservatives and the Greens and an alliance between the Social Democrats, Greens and the Left party, FDP head Christian Lindner said during the presentation of the manifesto, according to a report in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Merkel will not run for another term, and her conservative bloc is in the process of choosing a candidate to succeed her. The Conservatives still lead the polls but have been dealt heavy blows by both a lobbying scandal involving key climate and energy MPs and missteps in handling the pandemic. 

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