Ministers propose support for building modernisation and clean mobility at climate cabinet meeting
Clean Energy Wire
German ministers proposed to expand public transport and to offer billions in tax breaks for the modernisation of buildings during this week’s second meeting of the government’s climate cabinet, according to media reports. Transport minister Andreas Scheuer of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), attributed great importance to the voluntary nature of any new measures, saying, "We want to allow, enable and make possible, not prohibit, ostracise and increase costs," according to a report by Deutsche Welle.
The head of clean mobility think tank Agora Verkehrswende*, Christian Hochfeld, told the daily tageszeitung that it was highly unlikely that emission reduction targets can be met in the transport sector without making climate-damaging forms of mobility more expensive. In a commentary for the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Kerstin Schwenn also criticises ministers for giving the impression that climate policy will not hurt anyone. “Climate protection will not be for free. Politicians should stop pretending.” In a commentary for the business daily Handelsblatt, Silke Kersting writes that the climate cabinet’s proposals remain insufficient. “With individual measures that will likely be trimmed in the months to come, the government will not reach the goal of becoming nearly climate-neutral by 2050.”
The government only said the climate cabinet will make key decisions about climate action legislation and measures in September and adopt these by the end of 2019, without naming specific policies. “As the next step, the climate cabinet will address the issue of CO₂ pricing in July on the basis of expert opinions currently being prepared.” Germany is under pressure to meet its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030, and Merkel’s government promised in its coalition agreement to introduce legislation by the end of 2019 to make sure the country reaches its climate targets. Merkel has set up the so-called climate cabinet, a group of ministers with key responsibilities for climate issues, which is to come up with climate action proposals and the necessary legislation by the end of the year.