Focus on climate crisis
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Reporting on climate change is one of the major journalistic challenges of our time. The climate crisis is also one of the most important issues of humanity for SPIEGEL. For this reason, we support an international initiative that seeks to take a look this week: "Covering Climate Now" was initiated by the Columbia Journalism Review and the Canadian newspaper "The Nation", with more than 200 media companies around the world, including the Guardian, El País, La Repubblica, The Times of India, Bloomberg or Vanity Fair. SPIEGEL is dedicating the cover story of the current issue to the climate crisis this week and every day pays special attention to mirror.de
The goal is set: Germany should comply with nationally and internationally binding climate goals by 2030. But how? That should be clear at the latest on Friday. Under the chairmanship of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the so-called Climate Cabinet will meet to decide on the Federal Government's strategy for more climate protection.
Until then, there is still great need for discussion. Now the leaders of the Grand Coalition come together for consultations. "This will be a tough fight tonight," said CDU chief Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. This is because it is "a really important issue" go and still clarify many issues.
In CDU, CSU and SPD one starts from a long negotiating night. The coming hours will be the culmination of a month-long development.
The so-called Climate Cabinet met for the first time in April. The goal is to implement the climate protection plan of 2016 bindingly. The plan prescribes concrete emission reduction targets:
- The energy industry is therefore expected to save about 61 percent of emissions by 2030 compared to 1990,
- the sector building about 66 percent,
- the traffic about 40 percent,
- the industry about 50 percent,
- the agriculture about 33 percent.
Overall, greenhouse gas emissions are expected to fall 55 percent from 1990 levels.
Before the meeting of the Climate Cabinet, a Commission should find a compromise on transport policy. This passed but only a minimum consensus. In addition to Merkel, the Cabinet also includes the Federal Ministers Svenja Schulze (SPD, Environment), Olaf Scholz (SPD, Finance), Peter Altmaier (CDU, Economics), Horst Seehofer (CSU, Interior Affairs), Andreas Scheuer (CSU, Transport) and Julia Klöckner ( CDU, Agrar). The then SPD leader Andrea Nahles commented on the creation of the Climate Cabinet with the words: "Now climate protection is finally political top priority."
Top priority or not - there was no significant progress in the Climate Cabinet. At a meeting in late May, key policy decisions were postponed. Also a second meeting in July was without results. The parties agreed on September 20 as the day of the decision.
More about the climate crisis
The sticking points
It is mainly about the following questions:
- CO2 emissions : Or - such as gasoline, diesel, heating oil, natural gas and coal to be more expensive. It is disputed whether there should be a CO2 tax or a trade in emission rights.
- Relief : Over the CO2 price, the state takes money. This should go back to the citizens - or at least finance climate protection.
- Incentives : Anyone who modernizes their home in such a way that the energy requirement falls can apply for funding now. The offers should be more attractive and easier.
- Conditions : Citizens should drive electric or hydrogen cars, better still by bus and train or bike. To do it, you need more rail and bus services, better timing, cheaper tickets, bike lanes, more charging stations and advances in alternative fuel research. The federal government wants to spend a lot of money and, for example, lower the VAT on long-distance train tickets and support municipalities.
- Specifications : Is the installation of new oil heaters prohibited at some point? Or are they simply so high environmental standards that they can no longer be installed? Coalitionarians are having a particularly hard time with the issue of regulatory law - or even prohibitions.
- Green electricity expansion : where fossil fuels are eliminated and cars are powered by electricity instead of diesel or gasoline, the demand for electricity increases - and if it is to be climate-friendly, this electricity must come from sun, wind, water and renewable resources. The official goal: Green electricity should have a share of 65 percent by 2030. It's just about 38 percent.
- Financing : The federal government does not want to shake the "black zero", the balanced budget - the promotion plans and investments should cost around 40 billion euros or more by 2023 already. (Read a comment here.) About the CO2 price money comes in, in the Energy and Climate Fund there is still money. Perhaps the federal government is also borrowing money from climate bonds for the citizens who receive fixed interest rates for it. That is controversial.
An overview of the parties' positions on the issues can be found here.