Head of Germany’s consumer protection organisations calls for a fairer climate transition
The head of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV) has called for a climate friendly infrastructure model that also guarantees citizens a certain standard of living. In an interview with newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, Klaus Müller said that, along with regulating industry and prices, Germany should be building “a climate-compatible infrastructure that gives citizens, for example, a guarantee of mobility – not only in big cities, but also in the countryside”. “The German government has promoted the market for new e-cars with subsidies worth billions, but it has neglected the used car market. The crucial question is: When I buy a used battery, can I be sure that it has been independently tested and is worth the money?,” he said. He also suggested that compensation measures, paid through the social security system, should be geared to avoiding social division. For example, those who travel by bus and train and live in well-insulated homes should receive back more than someone who drives an SUV and regularly takes planes. He also criticised the current government for funding its industrial policies through electricity prices, leading to consumers facing the most expensive power costs in Europe while grid operators’ “pockets are being lined”.
The issue of who should pay for the climate transition has been hotly contested in Germany. The current CO2 price on heating and transport fuels has been attacked as unfair on low income households and been a key issue of the election campaigns.