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Cabinet template: This is how the finished climate package should look

2019-10-08T14:44:19.929Z

The Cabinet wants to bless the climate package on Wednesday. But in the final draft, which is available to SPIEGEL, not all conflicts are resolved.




It was a nerve-wracking process - but now it is the final program of the Federal Government, which significantly reduces Germany's greenhouse gas emissions and also significantly improves Germany's position in important future markets.

The 173-page paper available to SPIEGEL largely coincides with the proposals from the key issues paper that GroKo presented on November 20 after a marathon session.

A summary of the most important measures can be found here.
Whether the measures in your wallet make itself felt, you can check here.

However, a few issues before the crucial Cabinet meeting are still not finally resolved. The overview.

1. Car tax: How much is cashed at the fuel guzzlers?

Another controversial point is the vehicle tax. It should be adapted from January 2021 so that large, fuel-guzzling new cars with a CO2 emissions of more than 95 grams per kilometer are charged with a much higher levy than more fuel-efficient models. Only: how exactly is not in the final draft.

The Federal Ministry for the Environment originally wanted to give concrete sums of money for how high the surcharge should look like. During the night of negotiations prior to the meeting of the Climate Cabinet in mid-September, calculations were made at a late hour - but at first they did not make it into the key issues paper.

Shortly after the long night of negotiation, concrete sums of money appeared in a first draft of the climate package: two euros per gram of CO2 should come from 95 grams of CO2 emissions onwards, from as much as 115 grams per kilometer even 3.50 euros. This would have doubled the vehicle tax of today's VW Golf to 400 euros.

The "Bild" newspaper scandalized these figures, a short time later they were deleted from the climate protection program. If you follow the Word entries in the document that is available to SPIEGEL, it happened on 30th September, under pressure from the EU side. The buzz did not come in again.

At least that's what the latest version, which was created before tomorrow's Cabinet meeting, says. There it says now, one must name this year still no concrete numbers. The regulation should enter into force only January 2021.

Axel Schmidt / REUTERS

GroKo cabinet after the marathon session on the climate package

2. Aviation Tax: More money for cheaper train tickets

Similarly, according to information from the SPIEGEL also how to deal with the aviation tax. The current draft simply states that it should be increased to ensure the financing of a VAT reduction for long-distance travel. But concrete numbers are not mentioned - as in the previous drafts. The reason for this is a dispute in the coalition.

The Union wanted to enforce on domestic flights a doubling of the ticket tax from currently seven to 14 euros. This is also the case in the climate program of the CDU.

Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) had an alternative draft drawn up in his ministry. Accordingly, in addition to flights up to 500 kilometers in length, medium-haul and long-haul flights are also taxed. On the short-haul, it should be just under three euros. All in all, according to SPIEGEL information, the officials calculated that 500 million euros in revenue would come together. Enough, then, to finance the VAT cut on the railways.

3. Flanking laws

The climate package involves a large number of other changes in the law. The government is already working on implementing a part. The tax advantages provided for in the climate package for the purchase of an electric company car, for example, are still to be included in the annual tax law, which must be decided upon anyway in the coming weeks of the Parliament's session.

To this end, the government is planning two legislative packages for the remaining tax changes:

  • One is to apply to climate protection measures that do not require the involvement of the Federal Council - for example, to increase the aviation tax.
  • The second package will consist of changes in which the Landkammer has a say. This includes, for example, the Building Energy Saving Act, which regulates renovations to the heating or insulation of buildings.

For the coalition, the clock is ticking: Everything that should come into force at the beginning of the coming year has to go into the Cabinet at the latest in October and then be decided in Parliament.

For this reason, the Federal Cabinet will deal with these legislative packages already next week. Organizationally, that's not so easy. Because originally no regular meeting was planned in the chancellery. Instead, the Cabinet members travel to Toulouse for a joint meeting with their French counterparts.

Now, according to information from the SPIEGEL on that day, there is still time to be found so that the German ministers can vote on the two packages of the Climate Tax Act - on German or French soil.

4. CO2 savings targets: No outside control

It is also still disputed how exactly it should be controlled that the individual economic sectors comply with their CO2 reduction targets.

In the current Cabinet template of the climate package states: "If a sector does not meet its statutory objectives, the minister responsible sets the climate cabinet within three months, an immediate program for follow-up."

The Climate Cabinet of the Federal Government would then bless this. It could also check whether CO2 savings can be shifted between sectors. According to the Federal Environment Ministry, this is possible in the sectors of waste, buildings and agriculture - as well as in what is probably the largest CO2 problem sector, transport.

Similar formulations have already been found in a law related to the Climate Package, which became known on Sunday evening: the so-called Climate Protection Act from the Ministry of the Environment. Its publication provoked a sometimes heated debate - especially with regard to the control mechanisms for compliance with the CO2 targets.

An earlier draft of the Climate Protection Act provided for even more control loops for compliance with the CO2 targets. The so-called climate council - a panel of experts appointed by the government - should therefore be able to make its own original proposals as to how more CO2 can be saved in individual sectors of the economy in an emergency. Meanwhile, this power for the Climate Council is no longer provided.

According to the earlier draft of the Climate Change Act, Parliament should also have blamed shifts in CO2 savings between sectors. Now this control mechanism is no longer found in the Climate Protection Act and also not in the climate package.

Environmentalists and opposition politicians had partly criticized the less stringent control mechanisms. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) then reaffirmed on Monday that the monitoring of the climate targets would be "crystal clear in the law anchored".

5. Wind power: less expansion than planned

The planned expansion amounts for onshore wind energy are lower in the final draft of the Climate Pact than planned in the meantime. In a draft from the beginning of October it was said that every year additional wind turbines with a capacity of one gigawatt are to be built in order to reach an installed capacity of 80 gigawatts by 2030. A corresponding amount of expansion had previously been proposed by the Federal Network Agency.

In the final draft of the climate package, only an installed capacity of 67 to 71 gigawatts by 2030 is now targeted - although the performance of coal-fired power plants will be more than halved by this year and although from 2023 no nuclear power plant in Germany should be on the grid.

Source: spiegel

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