German government nears deal on major climate policy package

23 Septembre, 2019, 02:30 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Germany to invest over 100 billion Euros in Climate Protection revise emissions targets for 2030

The government had faced calls from economists to use the environmental challenge as a reason to spend heavily on a big climate plan after years of fiscal prudence, but Ms. Merkel said the ruling coalition would stick to its balanced-budget policy.

The government's aim is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, in comparison with 1990 levels.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced a plan to spend about 60 billion dollars to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, left, arrive for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. "We believe we can reach these targets".

According to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation, OECD, an effective tax on fuels that reflects the climate costs of carbon emissions would need to be above 30 euros per ton of CO2.

Carbon emissions pricing will start in 2021, at a fixed price of €10 per ton of C02, rising to €35 by 2025, which will mean a 12 cent increase on petrol or diesel for motorists.

It hasn't been doing well so far, admitting last summer that the country would miss its 2020 goal of a 40% reduction, coming in at just 32%.

The document states that "the additional investments in climate-friendly measures will support the economy" and help future-proof Germany as a business, trade and investment location.

Germany doesn't expect the plan to require the government to raise more debt.

As the leaders deliberated, tens of thousands of schoolchildren and their parents packed the streets of Berlin, the capital, and more than 500 cities across the country as part of global climate protests. A poll for public television showed that 63 percent of Germans thought protecting the climate was more important than economic growth.

A protester holds up a placard as he demonstrates during a rally held the day before the start of the Paris Climate Change Summit in Madrid Spain

The climate package is being criticised by opposition parties and environmental organisations as a piecemeal strategy, far from comprehensive enough to make a difference.

Merkel acknowledged the pressure her government has come under from protesters, saying young people were justified in demanding "that we do something so they, too, have good chances in life".

"We remain committed to the black zero [policy of no fiscal deficits]", she said.

Climate activists demanding stronger policies gather in front of the Chancellery on September 19, 2019 in Berlin, Germany.

The value added tax on long-distance train tickets would be cut to encourage travel by rail.

Installing new oil heating systems will be prohibited from 2026 in most cases.

Petrol now costs around €1.40 a litre and diesel around €1.30 in Germany.

Under the Twitter hashag #NotMyKlimapaket (Not My Climate Package) people accused the ruling centre-right and centre-left parties of cobbling together a plan that does the bare minimum to protect the environment, puts a financial burden on the less-wealthy, and is created to keep the shaky coalition in Berlin stumbling along until the next election in 2021.

The government will reduce an existing surcharge from 2021 which consumers pay via their electricity bill to support the expansion of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

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