Germany’s governing CDU seeks party agreement on climate protection

Wolfgang Schaeuble (CDU), President of the Bundestag, opened a workshop discussion on climate protection by calling on politicians to combine ecology and a social market economy in their climate protection plans on Tuesday.

Referring to a balanced state budget and reduced carbon emissions, Schaeuble emphasized that the “green zero” and “black zero” had to be combined.

The costs caused by the violation of the principle of sustainability would have to be “internalized” Schaueble told his party colleagues at the CDU workshop, and warned against pretending that climate protection did not cause any costs, stressing that “nothing is free of charge”.

Germany’s governing CDU is currently seeking to reach party agreement on climate protection measures for the climate cabinet meeting between the CDU/CSU and the Social Democrats (SPD) on Sept. 20.

Ahead of the CDU’s climate workshop on Tuesday, the German Press Agency (dpa) reported that the CDU leadership was seeking a mixture of higher prices, certificate trading and a reduction in German electricity prices as well as the introduction of incentives.

“It must not be the case that those who act ecologically pay the price, whether it is an eco-car or a train ride,” dpa cited from a working paper by the German conservative part.

“We want environmental protection to pay off financially for those who act according to this principle that those who save CO2 will do better,” the paper stated.

The CDU leadership also called for an increase in the ticket tax for flying to better reflect the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of air traffic.

“The costs and burdens of a flight must also be reflected in the ticket price. That is why we also need measures against dumping prices,” the German conservative party noted.

German Minister for the Environment Svenja Schulze (SPD) recently also called for higher prices on air traffic to protect the climate, but had been criticized by the CDU at the time.

According to the German newspaper Welt, the CDU’s sister party CSU was striving for a national trade in CO2 pollution rights and tax reductions for travelling by train.

The Bavarian conservatives would like to see the value-added tax (VAT) on long-distance train tickets in Germany lowered from 19 to 7 percent. “In the energy and industry sectors, trading in emission certificates has already proved its worth,” German newspaper Welt quoted from a CSU paper.

Germany should not wait for the European Union (EU) to agree on extending emissions trading to transport and buildings, which are not currently covered, the CSU paper stated.

The Bavarian conservatives wanted “to start with a national trading system” while at the same reaffirmed that they were “committed to the fastest possible Europeanization” of emissions trading for the non-industry sectors.