CDU and CSU rely on the trading of CO2 certificates for climate protection in order to sustainably lower greenhouse gas emissions. This is clear from the paper, which is to form the core of the EU proposals for the Climate Cabinet on 20 September. The seven-page paper is available to SPIEGEL. It comes from the pen of the Union factions Andreas Jung (CDU) and Georg Nüßlein (CSU). They were entrusted by their party leaders with the task of working out joint proposals for the preparation of the Climate Cabinet.
The Grand Coalition wants to make basic decisions on Friday in eight days to fight climate change. So far, the SPD has opted for a CO2 tax to reduce emissions. The CSU had already expressed itself at the weekend for a certificate model, the CDU will present its concept on Monday.
The EU's parties are basing their proposals on a combination of significantly higher CO2 prices, tax relief and the promotion of new technologies. In addition, air tickets should be more expensive, rail travel cheaper and freight transport by rail expanded. The Union also wants to expand the truck toll.
Under the heading "Climate Efficiency for Innovation", the authors urge Germany to accelerate its greenhouse gas reduction significantly. In doing so, they make it clear that they are "not concerned with more government revenue, but with better governance, not with more taxes, but with better governance in order to maximize the efficiency of the funds used - with climate-economic reform".
The central component is the pricing of carbon dioxide emissions in the area of transport and buildings. "Our benchmark is CO2 limitation," states the paper. To this end, the authors propose a national emissions trading scheme with certificates, which are to be acquired and traded by oil dealers, for example.
The number of these pollution rights is "continuously lower according to a defined reduction path," they say. The fewer papers on the market, the higher the price of the certificates, which is passed on to consumers in the form of higher fuel and heating oil prices. However, the Union demands both a minimum and a maximum price for the allowances, so that the costs for the citizen remain controllable and do not shoot through the ceiling.
The Union parties hope thereby to avoid social distortions. "When implementing the certificate system, reliable market signals and target achievement must be ensured, as well as affordable housing and individual mobility in the city and in the countryside," the authors write. The concern of the CDU and CSU is great, to frighten the citizens by too harsh measures.
Cancellation of SPD model
The move differs from what the coalition partner SPD has in mind. The Social Democrats want to levy a tax on carbon dioxide instead of emissions trading. It rejects "a CO2 tax, so tax increases on gasoline, diesel, heating oil and gas," it says in the EU paper. The rejection is justified by the fact that the instrument "does not obligatorily reduce CO2".
It is therefore unclear how, in view of the two divergent positions, an agreement in the Climate Cabinet could look like in a week or so. Already this Friday, the coalition committee from the leaders of CDU / CSU and SPD meets in the Chancellery. At the same time, according to SPIEGEL information, negotiations are currently taking place at State Secretary level.
In the video: Merkel in the Bundestag
John MACDOUGALL / AFP
On one point, the approaches of Social Democrats and the Union are similar: both want to relieve the citizens. While the SPD plans an annual distribution of a certain amount, a so-called climate premium, the Union wants to cut electricity prices. For example, the so-called EEG apportionment could be dropped, a contribution of currently about six cents per kilowatt hour, which is used for the construction of renewable energy plants.
In addition, the Union wants to "exempt non-fossil energy sources from taxation in the future," as the paper states. The vehicle tax is to be measured on new vehicle registration in full on the CO2 emissions of the vehicle, even in the company car taxation "we want to implement this principle and take greater account of CO2 emissions."
The Union also hopes that its emissions trading in the building and transport sectors will soon be replaced by an equally functioning European system. The new EU Commission under Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) has already announced this. For this reason too, the Union rejects the introduction of a CO2 tax. The EU authors are convinced that their concept is the better one and give reasons: "This way our path stands for continuity instead of zigzagging".
CDU and CSU want comprehensive tax and tax reform
The Union is seeking a comprehensive reform of the tax and levy system. Companies should be able to write off investment in climate protection more strongly than before, and a fundamental corporate tax reform should come to that end. For example, citizens in rural areas should benefit from a higher commuter tax allowance, and the authors also demand the complete abolition of the solidarity surcharge.
In the area of transport, one wants to increase "the attractiveness of the transport of goods by rail". In addition, the authors propose for LKW "the extension of the toll on all national roads and municipal roads after the Swiss model".
To finance climate change spending, which should add up to tens of billions of euros, the authors propose an "innovation fund" for which private capital is to be mobilized through an environmental bond. Corresponding proposals from the Union have been circulating for days, SPD Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is so far against such plans. The financing of the planned expenditure is thus open.
In addition to Jung and Nüßlein, the CDU head of the Thuringia, Mike Mohring, has been involved in the Union paper as spokesman for all regional parliamentary group leaders, the North Rhine-Westphalian Environment Minister Ursula Heinen-Esser, also CDU, and the CSU environmental politician and member of the Bundestag Anja Weisgerber.
more on the subject