Not so long ago, CO2 certificates were still the epitome of a bureaucratic failure: Hardly anyone wanted them. They were introduced into the energy industry, but in a way that hardly allowed them to have any effect.
The situation has changed fundamentally in recent months: Up and down the country, there are now lively discussions about pricing carbon dioxide emissions – in whatever way.
At first, the CDU was divided: While party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer clearly rejected the introduction of a CO2 tax, her vice-president Armin Laschet, the minister president of North Rhine-Westphalia, initially appeared “just as open as other parties”. Over the summer, however, he revised this stance and took a line with Chancellor Angela Merkel, who prefers a system that is controlled via certificate trading, because this could rather achieve a steering effect.
“I reject the CO2 tax. The average Bavarian causes around three tons of CO2 per year, which would be an additional cost of 150 euros, which would then be offset by a giant mechanism. That has zero steering effect, no incentive to save CO2. People get paid, then everything is redistributed, nothing helps the climate.”
Thomas Kreuzer, head of the CSU state parliamentary group, in Munich Merkur
SPD and Greens, on the other hand, spoke out clearly in favour of CO2 pricing. Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze presented an expert opinion on the subject, which she had commissioned. The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), the Institute for Macroeconomics and Economic Research of the Hans Böckler Foundation (IMK) and the Forum Ökologisch-Soziale Marktwirtschaft (FÖS) investigated possible CO2 price developments for transport and heat. According to the authors, a climate premium is the best instrument for rewarding climate-friendly behaviour and at the same time reducing the burden on low and normal earners.
However, according to Schulze, the state should not “generate any additional revenue” through this, but the money should be used “to relieve the burden on citizens and companies”. For it is “about a sensible climate protection instrument with a social and ecological steering effect”. A climate premium, which would be paid out to thrifty citizens, would relieve the burden on low-income earners in particular.
read more in H2-international October 2019