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CO2 tax, car tax, airline tickets: These are the climate sticking points of GroKo


It is still unclear how Germany will be able to reach its climate targets for 2030, with the climate cabinet resolving resolutions in just a few days. In the evening, the coalition meets to seek compromise.

One week before the decisive meeting of the climate cabinet, the leaders of the SPD and the Union are struggling for compromise lines for a common concept. In the evening, among other things, the Chancellor's office is concerned with how exactly the emission of greenhouse gases in traffic and heating should be made more expensive.

On 20 September, the Climate Cabinet, chaired by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), intends to present a package to enable Germany to meet national and international climate goals by 2030.

In many respects the coalition partners already agree or negotiate only about details. The railways want to make them more attractive and cheaper via a VAT reduction for long-distance tickets, to expand public transport.

The issues include, for example, how exactly diesel, gasoline, heating oil and natural gas are to be made more expensive - the overview.

The CO2 levy

For a long time a dispute on the emission of CO2 was discussed particularly controversial: The SPD-led Ministry of the Environment wanted a tax, the Union rejected that strictly. She became friends with a trade in rights to CO2 emissions from gasoline, gas and heating oil (read more here). The issued rights should become more and more scarce with time, until they have reached the necessary amount of reduction in 2030. The bottom line is that it will make fossil fuels more expensive like a tax.

The SPD speaks in papers meanwhile only of a CO2 price, thus moves away from a tax. A compromise seems possible.

The economic and climate expert Ottmar Edenhofer, who advises the government, warned of "religious wars". "A tax and certificate trading work the same way if done right," he told the dpa news agency. Both set price signals.

The revenue from the CO2 tax

First of all, the SPD wants to repay the income, mainly to poorer people, by way of a lump sum so that commuters, for example, can bear their higher travel costs or people in poorly insulated houses by paying heating costs.

On the other hand, the Union wants to use the money to lower electricity prices, which, in addition to households, would also relieve industry and commerce. This also wants the SPD, but funded from another pot. In addition, the Union wants to use the money to finance tax relief for climate-friendly investments, such as efficient household appliances.


Both the Union and the SPD are calling for serious tax-related interventions: the Union wants to completely orient the motor vehicle tax on C02 emissions and completely exempt all non-fossil fuels - such as hydrogen - from the tax. The SPD also pleads for a significant increase in e-car purchase premiums and has parts of the CSU on their side.


For climate protection investments, the Union wants to launch a climate bond. Here, citizens who lend their money to the state, a fixed rate of interest will be offered. This is attractive in times of negative interest rates. The SPD is skeptical about this model (read more here).

Peter Kneffel / dpa

Public transport should be strengthened

Buses and trains

All coalition parties want to promote public transport as an alternative for car commuters. A reduction in VAT on long distance tickets can be found both at Union and at the SPD. The SPD parliamentary group also calls for a one-euro ticket per day for local traffic, ie 365 euros per year. However, transport associations fear an overload of buses and the train (why the ticket is controversial, read here).

Rail freight transport will be strengthened by additional investment in the network. The Union also wants to relieve him of charges.


Cheap airline tickets just on domestic routes want to prevent future SPD and Union. The climate-damaging air traffic is to be pushed back so straight in competition to the course. The SPD parliamentary group does not want to allow a ticket price below the costs for fees and ticket delivery. The Union wants to increase the ticket price. Taxes, duties and charges would have to be reflected in the price, it is said in her.


The additional CO2 levies would primarily affect industries that rely heavily on fossil fuels or who need upstream inputs that are more expensive. The SPD is therefore considering a reimbursement of such additional costs for companies exporting and competing outside the EU. The Union wants to give companies more incentive tax on climate protection innovations.

Green power expansion

The aim of the coalition is to increase the share of green electricity to 65 percent by 2030 - currently around 38 percent. 2022 is the last nuclear power plant off the net, 2038 should be no later than the end of the stream of coal. But how and where exactly more solar systems and wind turbines are to be created is highly controversial (read more here). Because locally there is often fierce resistance of the local residents. For example, the SPD wants to involve municipalities in the proceeds of wind power

And how much is it?

The cost of the proposals for more climate protection add up to around 50 billion euros - for example, for a possible scrapping premium for old oil heating systems, for the energy-efficient refurbishment of buildings or for lowering the VAT rate for the railways. It is unclear how the revenue from CO2 pricing - which should then go back to the citizens per capita (SPD) or, above all, through a reduction in electricity prices (Union).

So where should the billions come from? So far, the coalition holds to the "black zero", a policy without new debt. In addition, there are still a few billion in the already existing Energy and Climate Fund. But that will not be enough.

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Source: spiegel

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