Germany announces multi-billion euro climate plan

Germany on Friday agreed a package of measures aimed at helping the country hit its 2030 emissions reduction goal, but which were quickly criticized by campaigners and industry as too weak.

One headline measure is to introduce a national emissions trading system for the transport and building sectors. The government also pledged to lower tax on rail tickets, raise charges on air travel and reform car tax in an effort to encourage a switch to cleaner modes of transport. It also promised to raise public spending on mass transit systems to €1 billion annually from 2021.

The emissions trading scheme, starting in 2021, would see fuel companies buy emissions permits covering fuels such gasoline, diesel and heating fuels. The government plans to set prices initially at €10 per ton of carbon dioxide; rising to €20 per ton in 2022 with further yearly increases up to €35 per ton in 2025. It plans to set a cap on emissions from 2026.

Both environmental campaigners and industry were quick to hammer the plan, released as millions of people took part in protests around the world calling for stronger action against climate change.

Patrick Graichen of think tank Agora Energiewende called the German climate package “shockingly power- and brave-less,” and criticized the proposed CO2 price “as a bad joke: €10 per ton wont have an impact.”

Angela Merkel maintained the emissions trading system would be a “paradigm shift”

Plans to promote wind power similarly fall short, he said: “The 2030 climate goals will definitely not be met like that.”

The national energy industry lobby BDEW said the package was “disappointing,” calling out the government for being “too hesitant on CO2 pricing and the necessary power price easing.”

Dieter Kempf, the boss of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), said it posed a problem for companies that could now face booming electricity and gas prices.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel maintained the emissions trading system would be a “paradigm shift” during her press conference at a recently opened museum in downtown Berlin.

A new aviation tax will be introduced from January 2020 under the plan. VAT on train tickets will drop from 19 percent to 7 percent, a move the government estimated will make traveling by train 10 percent cheaper. National rail company Deutsche Bahn announced it would buy 30 new trains to carry an estimated 5 million extra passengers a year due to the tax cut.

German political leaders attend a press conference after a climate commitee meeting | Axel Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The government is planning financing of over €54 billion until 2023 to fund the measures, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said, adding: “This is a huge amount of money and we can only mobilize this because we will … have additional income possibilities.”

That includes revenue from the new air and cRead More – Source

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