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Motion by Bündnis 90/The Greens on the signing of the Paris climate agreement

German Bundestag, 18th electoral term,  F 88/16 Printed Paper 18

Motion

Tabled by the Members of the German Bundestag Annalena Baerbock, Bärbel Höhn, Sylvia Kotting-Uhl, Oliver Krischer, Christian Kühn, Steffi Lemke, Peter Meiwald, Dr Julia Verlinden, Harald Ebner, Matthias Gastel, Kai Gehring, Stephan Kühn, Nicole Maisch, Friedrich Ostendorff, Claudia Roth, Markus Tressel, Dr Valerie Wilms and the Alliance 90/The Greens parliamentary group

On the signing of the Paris climate agreement – effectively anchoring climate protection and meeting climate targets

The Bundestag is requested to adopt the following motion:

With the Paris climate agreement that was finalised on 12 December 2015, the world community reached an important milestone for climate protection. The message is unambiguous: It represents a move away from fossil energies and towards renewables. The German Federal Government will commit itself officially to this once again when it signs the agreement on 22 April in New York. However, the agreement itself will certainly not be enough to overcome the climate crisis, but now has to be implemented by the national governments.

This is also particularly true for Germany. As the fourth largest industrialised country in the world, the Federal Republic of Germany has an outstanding responsibility for climate protection. The preconditions are particularly good for this country to play a positive role in climate protection. Germany is strong economically and highly developed technologically. Targeted measures and innovative entrepreneurship have ensured a rapid pace of development in many fields that are of relevance to climate policy. Renewable energies are now ready for the global market, efficient and economical. Germany is also a leader in many other environmental technologies and possesses the technical resources, the creativity and the social innovativeness to tackle the challenges of the future. All over the world, ever more states are now switching to renewable energies and environmentally friendly technologies, a trend driven not just by ecological factors, but also by economic factors – while the transformation of Germany’s energy system is being thwarted. By allowing this to happen, the German Federal Government is threatening to gamble away what has hitherto been a competitive advantage for Germany in the field of climate protection.

Per capita emissions of CO2 have hardly fallen in Germany despite the fact that renewable energies have been booming for years. For, at the same time, a protecting hand has been held over the fossil energy companies, the car industry and factory farms. The climate target Germany set itself of emitting 40 per cent fewer greenhouse gases by 2020 compared to 1990 is still a very distant prospect. Up until now, a merely 27-per-cent reduction has been achieved. It would be necessary to triple the activities that are being carried out if the 40-per-cent target is to be attained; this would require an ambitious climate protection policy to be adopted by the German Federal Government without delay.

II. The German Bundestag calls upon the German Federal Government

to make climate protection binding by

  • introducing an ambitious Climate Protection Act that sets annual targets for the power generation, transport, buildings, industry and agriculture sectors up until 2050, and backs them up with concrete climate protection measures. This will create a sense of direction and a secure environment for the planning of investment and product decisions, maintain industrial value creation and ensure necessary structural decisions are no longer postponed any more;

  • ending power generation from coal in the next two decades, e.g. by means of the introduction of CO2 budgets for fossil power plants;

  • repealing the cap on the expansion of renewable energies, maintaining the feed-in tariffs for onshore wind energy and photovoltaics, dismantling barriers to citizens’ energy, and investing in storage facilities, networks and load management;

  • working for European emissions trading to be genuinely reformed, i.e. two billion surplus certificates to be withdrawn, for the emissions cap to be based on the obligations entered into at Paris and the climate targets that have been set, and for the free allocation of emissions certificates to be ended;

  • introducing a minimum price for CO2 at the national level until the introduction of a European minimum price;

  • limiting exemptions from energy duty, the special equalisation scheme and subsidised grid charges to a few industries that really do suffer disadvantages in international competition, and no longer encouraging high energy consumption in the producing sector with extensive exemptions, as a result of which necessary innovations are not being pursued;

  • transforming Germany’s building stock to make it climate neutral in the next 25 years, among other things by means of a comprehensive refurbishment programme for whole residential quarters, by means of a Renewable Energies Heat Act based on the model of the legislation in Baden-Württemberg that also introduces an obligation for existing buildings across Germany to use renewable heat, by means of the expansion of short-distance heating grids and the funding of 10,000 heat stores at the local authority level, and by means of broad, independent energy saving advice for private citizens;

  • making a complete change of direction in the transport sector within the next two decades. To this end, it must usher in the phasing-out of fossil combustion engines, strengthen railway services and, apart from bringing in clockface railway timetabling, link up all transport services seamlessly in a user-friendly fashion, and put in place the requisite infrastructure for buses, commercial vehicles, taxis and other vehicle fleets in urban areas;

  • putting an end to a European agricultural policy focussed on industrialisation and surpluses, in particular when it comes to animal products, by means of the introduction of area-based livestock farming, by means of the use of appropriate forms of funding to ensure the target of 20 per cent of farmland managed organically is attained by 2020 and by means of steps to ensure agricultural subsidies are disbursed in future according to the principle of ‘public money for public services’;

  • incorporating climate protection into the German Basic Law.

Berlin, 13 April 2016

Katrin Göring-Eckardt, Dr Anton Hofreiter and the Alliance 90/The Greens parliamentary group

Explanatory memorandum

The clear implication of the Paris Agreement is that the decarbonisation of the energy industry is on its way. This means it is not a question of ‘whether’ coal power is going to be phased out, but purely of ‘how’ and ‘how soon’. The German Federal Government is stubbornly refusing to address this question, although an overwhelming majority of the population have clear opinions on the matter – favouring climate protection and opposing coal power. Vague long-term goals are no use, the phasing-out of coal power must begin now. CO2 pricing alone will not be able to deliver this, which is why new and additional measures are required. The proactive phasing-out of coal power is also an imperative in terms of energy economics because efficient, flexible gas power plants are being crowded out of the market by coal power. Overcapacities in the conventional power plant fleet are proving to be more and more of a burden for the power market. The 40-per-cent target could still be attained by 2020 with CO2 limit values, i.e. a maximum emissions budget for each generating unit. Countries like the USA and the UK have already set out on this path. Germany continues to need a dynamic, ambitious expansion of renewables in which citizens are able to participate. In consequence, the cap on the expansion of renewable energies must be repealed, feed-in tariffs for onshore wind and photovoltaics maintained, and barriers to citizens’ energy dismantled.

Up until now, energy-intensive industries have had their CO2 pollution rights allocated to them largely free of charge and profited from extensive exemptions from energy duties. Their high power consumption is subsidised by means of compensation for power costs worth several hundred million euros a year. In addition to this, there are the numerous subsidies worth billions of euros under the special equalisation scheme laid down in the Renewable Energies Act and for grid charges. Yet German industry needs incentives if it is to invest in climate-friendly technologies and hold its own in the competition on the markets of tomorrow. Instead of high energy consumption continuing to be encouraged, investments in climate protection must be rewarded. This is why European emissions trading has to be reformed by withdrawing two billion surplus certificates. Germany would have to lead the way and introduce a minimum price for CO2 nationally until a European minimum price is introduced. Exemptions from energy duty, the special equalisation scheme and subsidised grid charges must remain limited to the few industries that really do suffer disadvantages in international competition.

The country’s building stock holds out a great deal of potential for energy conservation, yet hitherto the German Federal Government has not succeeded in increasing the low refurbishment rate of less than one per cent a year, appreciably reducing energy consumption or boosting renewable energies’ share of the heating market. These failures mean it is neglecting a quite central instrument for climate protection. If the Renewable Energies Heat Act were to be completely revised, an obligation to use renewable heat could also be introduced for existing buildings. The necessary social compensation for the new requirements that would be imposed could be provided through funding programmes. At the same time, effective action would have to be taken against the displacement of poorer population groups by gentrification, which would focus on refurbishment schedules and grants for whole urban quarters.

CO2 emissions are still just as high in the transport sector as they were ten years ago. In consequence, the German Federal Government must now initiate the phasing-out of fossil energies in order to move away from the use of oil in road vehicles. What are needed are towns and cities that give cyclists and pedestrians sufficient space and that are free of toxic exhaust fumes. The future will drive electric cars that are powered by renewable energies and intelligently networked. The necessary switch-over could be achieved by offering grants for purchasers of electric cars, including particular incentives for buses, commercial vehicles, taxis and other vehicle fleets in urban areas, and by putting in place the requisite infrastructure. At the same time, rail services must be strengthened and, apart from bringing in Germany-wide clockface railway timetabling, all transport services connected seamlessly in a user-friendly fashion.

Around the world, about one third of all climate-damaging gases are attributable to agriculture and the food industry. In particular, intensive, industrial stock rearing is poison for the climate. It pushes up meat consumption and meets its demand for high-protein feedstuffs from unsustainable sources such as genetically engineered soya. The rain forests are being felled and bogs drained so that animal feeds can be cultivated. Simultaneously, farmers all over the world are suffering from the consequences of the climate crisis, and food security is threatened by advancing climate change in many regions. Site-adapted, ecologically sustainable agriculture traps more climate gases than it releases. Its core elements are area-based livestock farming, which uses the soil’s potential as a CO2 sink, and the far-reaching rejection of pesticides and chemical fertilisers.


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