Waiting for global solutions impedes climate action progress – opinion
Leading politicians from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance call for European or international solutions for climate action, but this thinking impedes real progress, writes Klaus Stratmann in an opinion piece in German business daily Handelsblatt. “Germany is hopelessly lagging behind in climate action and is well on the way to missing 2030 goals. The target for 2020 has long since been abandoned. Those who wait for global solutions will not make progress,” writes Stratmann. The conservatives seem to oppose big solutions like a national carbon tax in transport and buildings and prefer to continue the “micro management that has made the German energy and climate policy […] extremely inefficient and expensive,” he writes. “This despondency is wrong. It will come back to haunt the [CDU/CSU alliance]. Because even more of its voters will go to the Greens. And because Germany will not be able to overcome the climate crisis with despondency.”
After shying away from the debate for a long time, Germany's political leaders are now considering putting a price on CO2 to help reach the country's 2030 climate targets. However, Chancellor Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance struggles to find a position on CO₂ pricing. Many German politicians have called for extending the existing EU emissions trading system (ETS) as an alternative to a tax on CO₂ emissions to help reach climate targets in transport and buildings. Greenhouse gas emissions from transport, buildings, waste, some (smaller) industries and agriculture are currently limited by an EU-wide target and split up into member state-specific targets under the EU Effort Sharing Decision/Regulation – meaning non-ETS sectors. As Germany is set to miss this target, it might have to pay billions of euros for non-compliance.