Bundestag passes climate bill

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The federal government’s has passed the climate protection law in the Bundestag with the votes of the coalition groups. Green Party group leader Hofreiter spoke of “another bad day for climate protection”.

With the votes of the CDU/CSU and SPD, the Bundestag has adopted essential parts of the government’s climate protection package. The package provides for a CO2 price for traffic and buildings as well as a climate protection law with binding guidelines for the responsible ministries. Furthermore, a VAT reduction on long-distance train tickets is introduced, while the commuter allowance is raised as a set-off measure to the CO2 tax. Energy-saving renovation measures will receive additional subsidies.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) spoke of a decisive move forward: “This will ensure that climate-friendly behaviour will also pay off in the future and that those who continue to behave in a climate-damaging manner will have to pay a little more in the future”.

The Bundesrat (upper chamber) still has to approve parts of the package. However, the state chamber has criticised that the federal government has not reached an agreement with the states and municipalities on the financial effects of climate protection measures.

Criticism from all sides – for different reasons

With the climate protection programme, the Federal Government wants to ensure that Germany meets its climate protection target for the year 2030. The final debate was once again marked by arguments between the Grand Coalition and the opposition parties.

The leader of the Green parliamentary group, Anton Hofreiter, spoke of “another bad day for climate protection. The German government has failed in humanity’s task to protect the climate”. Lorenz Gösta Beutin, climate policy spokesman for the left-wing Bundestag group, referred to the criticism of all environmental associations. According to him, the government was driving climate policy against a wall with their bad laws.

The environmental spokesman for the FDP group, Lukas Köhler, accused the CDU/CSU and SPD of missing the goal: “This is a pure CO2 tax that has no effect on climate policy and yet still reaches deep into the pockets of all citizens”.

The AfD again spoke of “climate hysteria” and the “rip-off of citizens”. Driving a car would become a privilege of the rich, says MP Marc Bernhard.

54 billion euros additional expenditure until 2023

Germany has committed itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. Changes in tax law should make rail travel cheaper and flights more expensive. For commuters who cannot or do not want to change to buses and trains, the commuter allowance will be increased and a mobility allowance for low-income earners will be introduced. In addition, the insulation of homes and the replacement of heating systems will be tax-incentivised.

A total of around 54 billion euros will be spent on climate protection until 2023, partly financed by the revenues generated by the new CO2 tax on fossil fuels such as heating oil, gas, petrol and diesel.

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