German gov't agrees on climate package to halve emissions by 2030

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-21 04:26:52|Editor: Yurou
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a press conference after the government meeting on climate in Berlin, capital of Germany, Sept. 20, 2019. The German federal government on Friday agreed on "concrete measures" to achieve climate targets set for 2030, announced the official website of the government. (Xinhua/Shan Yuqi)

BERLIN, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The German federal government on Friday agreed on a bundle of measures to reach national climate targets -- 55 percent fewer greenhouse gases by 2030 as compared to 1990, including CO2 pricing and various incentives.

"We do not live sustainably today," stressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a press conference. "We are called upon, especially in view of the many young people around the world who rightly demand that we do something that offers them good opportunities in life."

From 2021 onwards, Germany's transport and buildings sectors would see a fixed price on carbon for petrol, diesel, heating oil and natural gas. The price for pollution rights would start at 10 euros per tonne of CO2 and gradually rise to up to 35 euros by 2025.

Rail travel in Germany is set to become cheaper as the government decided to reduce value added tax (VAT) on long-distance train tickets from 19 percent to 7 percent.

Sending a pricing signal to air travel which is largely excluded from carbon mechanism and national targets, the government announced to increase the air traffic tax starting from 2020.

"Fridays for future has shaken us all up and reminded us that we must now take steps that we have not taken in recent years," noted Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

As an additional measure, Germans who replace an old oil-fired heating system with a more climate-friendly model would be reimbursed with up to 40 percent of the costs. Also, the installation of oil heating systems in Germany would be prohibited from 2026.

The old target of 65 percent renewable energies by 2030 would still be valid, the government announced.

Germany will also promote the switch to electric vehicles which are struggling to increase their share in the car market. Subsidies for purchasing electric vehicles will be boosted for cars costing less than 40,000 euros. For initial registration and conversion, electric vehicles are initially exempt from tax.

"We will do everything in our power to ensure that if we do not reach our target path, we correct it immediately and take further action. But now we have to start first," said Merkel.

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