Carbon-pricing system needed quickly – Annual sector targets not expedient – Rapid and concrete implementation of measures essential
The automotive industry welcomes the German Government’s climate protection program 2030 as a step in the right direction. However, the package is not consistent enough. For example, it sets out on a path to a cross-sectoral emissions-trading system, but erodes this with fixed prices. Sector targets with annual monitoring should not be introduced as the first step to a “planned climate economy.”
In concrete terms this means the following:
Launching an emissions-trading system for the transport and heating sectors offers an opportunity to bring in a quantity-based CO2-pricing system. This type of system should be introduced as soon as possible, also at EU level. Yet the path now being taken is inconsistent, because the introduction of a quantity-based system is being postponed to 2026. This means that the efficiency potentials of such a system will remain unused for too long. Furthermore, it is incompatible with the system to introduce a generally applicable carbon price plus a supplementary carbon charge for trucks only within the toll system.
The automotive industry rejects the proposed introduction of annual sector targets combined with a sector-specific, annual monitoring system for achieving the targets. That will mean getting into a minutely detailed control system that paralyzes the mechanisms of the market economy, taking the introduction of an emissions trading system to absurd lengths. Moreover, there is a risk that the core elements for the sector will be continually questioned and that the reliability so essential for investment decisions will be lost.
The fact that the proposals are primarily intended to initiate and encourage investment in climate-friendly technologies is a positive signal. Social equity is included in the equation without introducing new redistribution mechanisms. Reducing the renewable energy surcharge is a good first step. An extensive project like the climate protection program must harmonize all the three aspects of ecology, economy and social compatibility.
The measures to promote electric mobility – such as extending the reduced rate of tax on company cars, increasing the state’s contribution to the shared bonus for purchases of e-vehicles and, in particular, expanding the charging infrastructure – are right and proper. These measures are crucial points for leveraging a faster market ramp-up of electric mobility. However, this depends most of all on the expansion of the infrastructure – which should now be rapidly taken forward. Therefore, further details of the measures must be announced swiftly, particularly for road freight transport, for instance relating to acquiring trucks with alternative, climate-friendly powertrains and to the creation and expansion of a suitable refueling and charging infrastructure for trucks. At the same time, electric mobility can only contribute to decarbonizing the transport sector if green electricity is available – and this requires the fast expansion of renewable energy.
In areas like introducing a hydrogen economy or promoting alternative fuels, the resolutions do not go far enough. Here further improvements in implementation are needed. Regarding the infrastructure, the measures announced for accelerating the planning and approval procedures are of key importance and point in the right direction.
The decisive aspect now is the rapid and concrete implementation of the announced measures. They include in particular secure financing of the programs in the federal budget. A large number of laws have to be prepared in detail and placed on the statute books.