10 May 2019, 13:25
Benjamin Wehrmann

Majority of people in Germany against CO2 tax - polls

YouGov / ZDF

Attitudes toward a tax on carbon emissions in Germany strongly depend on age, with older people in general being much more sceptical of such a policy, a survey by pollster YouGov has shown. Asked what they think about a tax “on products and services that are damaging the climate, and which could lead to price increases in some cases,” a majority of 58 percent of people aged over 55 said they “completely” or “rather” reject a carbon tax and only 30 percent endorse it. In the age group 18 – 24, 47 percent would welcome a tax on CO2, while 29 percent reject it. Endorsement drops to 34 percent in the age group 25 – 34. Overall, 32 percent of respondents favour such a tax and 49 percent are against.
In a different survey by public broadcaster ZDF, an even greater majority of 61 percent said they oppose a tax on CO2 emissions, while 35 percent said they would welcome one. Opponents of such a tax are in the majority when broken down by political party affiliation, except for the Green Party, where 64 percent of voters are in favour of a tax – but still 35 percent against it. However, in the same survey, 68 percent of respondents said Germany does not do enough in terms of climate action, up from 57 percent in the last similar survey by ZDF in November 2017.

Germany’s government is currently debating the introduction of carbon pricing, for example through a tax on emissions or an expansion of the existing EU emissions trading system (ETS) to all sectors, including transport and heating. Proponents of a tax say it is one of the most effective and cost-efficient methods for achieving emissions reduction across the board while opponents say it would make many aspects of everyday life considerably more expensive and disproportionately affect poorer people.

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