German media welcome emissions reduction success, debate causes and solutions
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Frankfurter Rundschau
Germany’s largest emissions drop since the 2009 recession is a success, but it should not be overvalued considering the country’s ambitious climate targets, writes Andreas Mihm in an opinion piece in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). The reduction of more than 30 percent compared to 1990 levels “is quite a number, not only because the economy grew and emissions had stagnated in the past four years”, he writes. A closer look at the data showed that the drop was not only due to the mild weather in 2018, but also because of higher prices for oil, coal and gas, partly due to an increase in EU Emissions Trading (ETS) allowance prices.
In the same FAZ issue, Jasper von Altenbockum puts Germany’s 4.2 percent reduction in 2018 into an international perspective in a separate commentary. “Whatever Germany does is not even a drop in the ocean on a global scale, but a droplet at most – even if it reaches its climate targets, which it does not at the moment.” He writes that 2018 data show emissions trading takes effect, and that the German government should not “waste money for a state-controlled coal exit”.
In an opinion piece in Frankfurter Rundschau, Marina Kormbaki says that federal government climate policy di not play a large role in bringing down emissions. The decrease is no reason for government members “to pat themselves on the back”, she writes. “It happened not because of grand coalition policy, but despite it.” However, regulatory action can indeed protect the climate, such as putting a price on carbon emissions. Higher fuel prices had helped push down emissions in 2018. “A CO₂ price, meanwhile, would only be accepted, if people with a low income do not have to finance the frequent fliers among the wealthy,” writes Kormbaki.