September 20, 2019 / 2:12 PM / a month ago

Germany agrees climate package in bid to meet CO2 targets

FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government on Friday presented a far-reaching 50 billion euro ($55 billion) package of measures to curb carbon emissions, including a new carbon dioxide (CO2) pricing system and a higher air traffic tax.

Below are some initial reactions from companies and industry associations:

HERBERT DIESS, CEO OF CAR MAKER VOLKSWAGEN (VOWG_p.DE):

Diess welcomed the climate package as important positive signal that confirmed Volkswagen’s own strategy.

“We need a change in the system for electric mobility. The car will lose its negative characteristics in the years ahead. It will be quiet, safe, clean. But for electric mobility to prevail, the charging infrastructure must be right. The climate package contains important decisions on its expansion.

“At Volkswagen, it is important not to lose sight of low-income earners, commuters and small businesses when it comes to climate protection. It is thus right that the price increase of diesel and petrol should be cautious.

“It is also good that the Federal Government has agreed on a CO2 allowance trade. A tonne of CO2 has the same climate effect, no matter where it comes from. All polluters must therefore also be treated equally.”

JOHANNES TEYSSEN, CEO OF GERMAN ENERGY GROUP E.ON:

“The measures ... are a step in the right direction but are not bold and rigorous enough. It may be good that CO2 will get a price in the traffic and buildings areas, but figures below 35 euros do not have a real steering effect. Until 2025 valuable years are being lost for climate protection.”

THYSSENKRUPP, GERMANY’S LARGEST STEELMAKER:

“Climate protection goals can only be reached if all sectors contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why it makes sense to put a price on greenhouse gases also in the traffic and buildings sectors ... It can be an appropriate tool to cut emissions and speed up the transformation towards greenhouse gas neutrality. However, it significantly depends on how the chosen instruments are being implemented. The German economy’s international competitiveness must be preserved in any event.”

LUFTHANSA, GERMANY’S BIGGEST AIRLINE

“A significant increase in the air traffic tax ... weakens the competitive position of German airlines compared with international rivals,” a spokeswoman for Germany’s largest airline said.

“A real option to save CO2 in air traffic is the use of synthetic kerosene. The government should use proceeds from the air traffic tax for the market development of sustainable fuels.”

GERMAN UTILITY UNIPER:

“A national emission trading mechanism that runs separately from the European scheme can only be a first step. One of the key tasks of the new EU Commission will be to further develop the European climate policy in the areas of heat and traffic in a meaningful way.”

CARL MARTIN WELCKER, PRESIDENT OF GERMANY’S ENGINEERING ASSOCIATION VDMA:

“It was high time for the grand coalition to enter a CO2 pricing system that includes the traffic and buildings sectors. However, the prices per tonne of CO2 agreed for the coming years are too low and it takes too long.”

CHRISTIAN OSSIG, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT GERMAN BANKING ASSOCIATION BDB:

“The challenges of climate protection are so elementary and fundamental the government, the real economy and the banking industry need to work as one and jointly develop solutions.

“Against this backdrop, today’s resolutions are a step in the right direction. What matters most to the real economy is a reliable and workable way to price put a price on CO2.”

Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach, Tom Kaeckenhoff, Christoph Steitz and Jan C. Schwartz; Editing by David Goodman and Alexander Smith

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