NIt’s almost five months until the election, but the outbid competition in Berlin has long since begun. Climate policy activism has ruled since the ruffle from Karlsruhe. Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) urged the start of the week with great vigor. It needs “more planning security and of course more climate protection”.
The zeal for reform is surprising. The environment minister, like many other cabinet colleagues, could not express more clearly that the climate balance of the past three years has been modest. It truly is. It is not so much because of a lack of it, but rather because of the multitude of political interventions in the market, some of which are almost contradicting each other.
The best example of this is the price of electricity. Its level is a decisive factor in the success and failure of the energy transition, i.e. specifically whether consumers replace oil heating in the basement with an electrically operated heat pump or whether industrial companies switch from gas to green electricity.
But what has happened since the introduction of the EEG surcharge to promote wind and sun? The price of electricity for private end customers has more than doubled – because start-up aids that have been introduced can only be trimmed to the right level with great difficulty, but above all because politicians are unilaterally offloading the costs of the energy transition, including network expansion, to consumers.
Contradictions like these are unparalleled across Europe. They were not dissolved by the incumbent government. But that’s not all. The side effects of EEG subsidies and European trade in CO2 certificates are also producing strange flowers that black and red do not dare to approach. A ton of CO2 now costs 50 euros for industry and power plants, ten times as much as three years ago.
That leaves its mark: in the timetable for the coal phase-out, in the cost-benefit calculations of many companies – and indirectly also in the electricity bill of consumers, in addition to the EEG levy.
“More” climate protection is not necessary with a functioning emissions trading system. A CO2 price for all sectors, careful promotion of new technologies – otherwise the market will provide the best “drive” by itself.
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