Germany’s Christian Democrats are moving away from the climate change bill agreed by the coalition government, at least for the time being. The reason: “The exit from coal is ambitious enough.” CDU and CSU reject any additional CO2 reductions, as demanded by the left-wing Social Democrats (SPD).
Basic pension, asylum, tax policy – these are the issues flying like ping pong balls through the Berlin government district these days. But what about climate change? The leaders of the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) also discussed this issue during the coalition committee meeting this week. On Wednesday evening, however, clear resistance formed about the proposed new climate protection law, especially among CDU and CSU members of parliament.
Step on the brake
This is all too fast for us, explains Georg Nüßlein, the vice-chairman of the Christian Democrat’s parliamentary party. First, the federal government should now focus on the coal exit as there is hardly any money left for further climate protection measures, according to the CSU politician. Criticism comes from the opposition:
“In the coalition government, everything else is more important in the end, but when it comes to protecting the climate, it is agreed between the CDU/CSU and the SPD that you don’t do anything,” says Oliver Krischer, Deputy Leader of the Green Party in the Bundestag.
Federal government remains guarded
In fact, CDU/CSU and SPD have committed in their coalition agreement to launch a law on climate protection by the end of this year: We will adopt a legally binding implementation in 2019, it is said literally. “This is an ambitious project that is being discussed.”
Or not. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert is buttoned up. Specifically, the planned law deals with the question of how Germany can reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. By 2030, emissions are expected to fall by 55 percent, and now everyone has to do it, Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, SPD, demands:
“We’re going to have to change something, we cannot drive cars like we have been doing before. We have to change things in the buildings, we have to run a different agriculture, and we have to look at the energy sector. We have to reduce CO2 so it does not get any worse.”
Acting instead of discussing forever
But it is not getting better yet. It is true that the coal commission has presented its first measures with its roadmap for an exit by 2038. But in the EU-led ministries of transport, agriculture, buildings and industry, there are no proposals to reduce CO2 emissions. The CSU parliamentarian Nüßlein is strongly opposed. This in turn annoys the Green politician Krischer:
“So there is no shortage of proposals for action. It is now time to just have time to act. And then the Union should say what it wants. If, for example, they want a market-based instrument … we have proposed the carbon price. From the Union, I always just hear rejection. Well, there’s nothing coming. “
Front against Svenja Schulze
The so-called carbon price would be a levy that would raise the price of CO2 emissions. Yet just a few days ago the Federal Ministry of Economics rejected these plans. This is too an affront to the Minister of the Environment (SPD) who demanded exactly this carbon levy. Nikolai Fichtner, the spokesman for the Federal Environment Ministry, says they will continue to work on the carbon tax:
“We work internally on a concept for a carbon tax. This is not trivial, it also important to us that the social issues are taken into account, i.e. that tenants and commuters are not overcharged, and if possible, even relieved. We are confident that the concept will be so good that it will convince others. “
Will the CSU continue to block?
One politician who is particularly difficult to convince is the Federal Transport Minister. CSU politician Andreas Scheuer recently stopped new ideas for more climate protection in the transport sector. And in Horst Seehofer’s building ministry, the responsible commission has apparently been put on hold. Now the clock is running.