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16 Jul 2019, 13:11
Julian Wettengel

Right climate policy can reconcile yellow vests and Fridays For Future – French and German advisors

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Clean Energy Wire

With European cooperation and an “appropriate design” of climate policy, the seemingly diverging calls for change by French yellow vests and German Fridays For Future student protesters can be reconciled, write economic advisors of both countries’ governments in a joint guest commentary in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
In a separate joint statement published in French and English, the French Conseil d’analyse économique and the German Council of Economic Experts call on the European Commission and the Member States to expand the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) to other sectors, “because a homogeneous treatment of CO₂ emissions would be an important element for the completion of the EU Single Market.” Should an agreement comprising all member states not be forged in the short term, France and Germany should form a coalition and integrate non-ETS sectors such as transport and buildings. "Such an extension of the EU-ETS might not be possible immediately, however, because it requires legal changes and political agreement," they note. As a transition measure, the countries should introduce either a separate trading system for non-ETS sectors, or a carbon tax, they write. A "significant part" of the revenues should be given back to households and companies. In addition, both countries should push for international CO₂ pricing systems. “There is a wide range of approaches centred on carbon pricing that allow France and Germany to together pave the way for a more efficient international climate policy,” write the advisors.

The advisory groups have both presented expert opinions saying that a uniform price on CO₂ emissions is essential to reduce them in a cost efficient way, and securing acceptance by the population is key for the success of introducing such a system. Having long shied away from the debate, German political leaders are finally considering a price on CO₂ to help reach the country's climate targets. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s climate cabinet is set to debate CO2 pricing this week and has announced key decisions by mid-September

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