Social Democrats' climate plans show large overlap with Conservatives
Clean Energy Wire / dpa / Abendblatt
In the effort to agree on joint climate action legislation this year, the Social Democrats (SPD) and the conservative CDU/CSU alliance appear to be on the same page as far as their key proposals are concerned, but the mechanism for CO2 pricing could remain a bone of contention. A climate action working group paper drafted by the SPD parliamentary group, seen by the Clean Energy Wire, shows similarities with the conservatives’ draft recommendations. The devil could be in the detail, but both camps support climate neutrality by 2050, want to reform the complex system of energy taxes and levies and lower the prices for renewable electricity, aim to strengthen rail transport, increase the buyer's premium for e-cars, and support the market introduction of climate-friendly synthetic fuels. Both camps also support the introduction of a price on CO₂ for transport and buildings, while softening the impact on certain groups of society. The CDU says it wants to "avoid social upheavals," while the SPD talks of a "socially just" price. The Social Democrats do not explicitly call for a tax – so far a point of contention with the conservatives, who largely support an emissions trading system. However, the SPD writes: "A national emissions trading system in the transport and buildings sectors could not be implemented in the short term and would cause high bureaucratic effort."
The news agency dpa reports that Chancellor Angela Merkel has used a meeting of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group leadership to reiterate that she prefers the introduction of an emissions trading system. The parties published a more general position paper on climate action after the meeting, calling for an annual climate protection stocktake in the Bundestag (federal parliament).
In an interview with the regional newspaper Abendblatt, economy minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) proposed setting up a "Climate Foundation" with a volume of 50 billion euros, which would issue bonds with a 2 percent interest rate to citizens who want to invest in climate action. The government would support the foundation with 2 billion euros annually.
Chancellor Merkel has set up the so-called climate cabinet – a group of ministers with responsibilities in key climate policy fields – to decide necessary legislation to reach 2030 climate targets as promised in the 2018 grand coalition government treaty. The cabinet has promised key decisions for 20 September, just in time for UN Secretary General António Guterres' Climate Action Summit in New York.