VA lot more electricity from wind and sun, greener industrial restructuring, an end to coal, oil and gas – when it comes to climate protection, the programs of the established parties for the Bundestag elections hardly differ at first glance. With the exception of the AfD, all of them emphasize that changes are needed and that greenhouse gas emissions must drop rapidly. The announced ways and means, however, are very different.
In their last few meters, the incumbent federal government had stepped up a gear. After the sensational climate decision of the Federal Constitutional Court and the sharpened EU goals, Schwarz-Rot has brought forward the desired national climate neutrality from 2050 to 2045. Germany should “become a climate-neutral industrial nation well before the middle of the century,” write the CDU and CSU in their election manifesto. The SPD makes it clear that it can also be earlier: “We will be climate-neutral by 2045 at the latest.” If the Greens have their way, climate-neutrality will even be possible in Germany “in 20 years”. Only the left, who formulate the target date of 2035, are writing even more speed.
The FDP does not formulate a fixed national end date. She refers to her commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees as possible in the pre-industrial era, and the commitment of Germany and Europe to climate neutrality by 2050. The AfD does not believe in this goal. Striving for climate neutrality leads to a radical restructuring of industry and society, threatens freedom, and it has not been proven that the burning of fossil fuels is actually causing the current global warming.
“The climate crisis does not regulate a market”
Even for the FDP, the quick turn to a climate-neutral economy does not come automatically from the invisible hand of the market. However, it sees the existing EU trade in emissions certificates as a central instrument, which makes CO2 emissions more expensive and has an annual lower limit for emissions. That leaves it to the market participants in which climate-friendly technology they invest. This emissions trading has so far been mandatory for electricity producers and parts of industry and aviation in the EU. The Liberals want to expand it “as soon as possible” to other sectors such as buildings and transport. The Union is also striving for a comprehensive European emissions trading scheme and wants to establish mobility and heating as well as shipping “as quickly as possible”; so far, these sectors have been regulated by the nation state.
How far apart the parties are on questions of the market economy and on climate issues became evident in the Bundestag. Green candidate Annalena Baerbock said: “The climate crisis does not regulate a market, because the market doesn’t care about people.” That caused astonishment in the ranks of the FDP. The Greens are focusing on reforming emissions trading instead of expanding it “in the light of the new EU climate target for 2030” so that it “can finally fully fulfill its steering effect”. You would like to reduce the certificates in the EU emissions trading system even faster and delete excess certificates from the market. This should increase the CO2 price in the areas of electricity, industry and European aviation so that renewable energies are worthwhile. The Green election program speaks of a “smart mix of CO2 prices, incentives and subsidies, as well as regulatory law and the reduction of environmentally harmful subsidies”. The SPD does not even mention EU emissions trading in its election manifesto.