German gov't agrees on climate protection package

Saturday, 2019-09-21 12:05:20
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel says "now we have to start first".
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The German federal government on Friday (September 20) agreed on a bundle of measures to reach national climate targets.

"We do not live sustainably today", stressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a press conference on Friday. "We are called upon, especially in view of the many young people around the world who rightly demand that we do something that offers them good opportunities in life."

From 2021 onwards, Germany's transport and buildings sectors would see a fixed price on carbon for petrol, diesel, heating oil and natural gas. The price for pollution rights would start at EUR10 per tonne of CO2 and gradually rise to up to EUR35 by 2025.

Rail travel in Germany is set to become cheaper as the German government decided to reduce value added tax (VAT) on long-distance train tickets from 19 percent to 7 percent.

Sending a pricing signal to air travel which is largely excluded from carbon mechanism and national targets, the German government announced to increase the air traffic tax for take-offs from German airports.

"Fridays for future has shaken us all up and reminded us that we must now take steps that we have not taken in recent years", noted Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

As an additional measure, Germans who replace an old oil-fired heating system with a more climate-friendly model would be reimbursed with up to 40 percent of the costs. Also, the installation of oil heating systems in Germany would be prohibited from 2026.

The old target of 65 percent renewable energies by 2030 would still be valid, the German government announced.

"We will do everything in our power to ensure that if we do not reach our target path, we correct it immediately and take further action. But now we have to start first," promised Merkel.

Xinhua