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Peter Bofinger: "Putin is currently the best climate protector"


Economist Peter Bofinger calls on the future federal government not to increase the CO₂ price any further for the time being. His argument: the already high energy costs create enough incentive to save oil and petrol.

Enlarge image

Oil and gas field in Western Siberia

Photo: Gazpromneft / Itar Tass / imago


: Mr. Bofinger, energy prices are at a record high.

Starting in January, the CO₂ tax is expected to rise to 30 euros per tonne of CO₂.

Is it the right step?


: No!

For consumers, the prices for petrol are already so high that it would be a surcharge of around 75 euros per tonne of CO₂ compared to 2019.

The high oil prices create massive incentives for consumers to save oil and gasoline.

Without intending to do so, Vladimir Putin and the OPEC cartel are currently the best climate protectors with their pricing policy.


: Would the new government be credible if it changed its plans for the CO₂ price so quickly?


: Of course.

No government would dare to ask for a CO₂ price of 75 euros, even though that would be ideal for the climate.

For the consumer, only the final price counts ...


: ... which is likely to rise further due to the increase in the CO₂ tax.


: In terms of climate policy, there is currently no need to increase CO₂ emissions.

In addition, this would further fuel inflation.

The increase should be made up for when prices on the world market fall again.

Until then, the government should wait and support the poor in the form of heating subsidies.

This could be financed with the additional VAT that comes in from the high energy prices.


: World market prices are constantly changing.

How should politics react?


: Fixed CO₂ taxes make no sense because the base price for crude oil is a cartel price.

Should world market prices fall significantly in the future, this could be compensated for by a flexible CO₂ tax so that consumer prices at least remain constant.

The income generated could be returned to consumers via tax checks.

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-12-03

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