Steffi Lemke and Sven Giegold discuss more ambitious climate action and a new emissions trading system with EU partners
Germany supports the European Commission’s proposal to limit new registrations of cars and vans to zero-emissions vehicles from 2035 onwards. Furthermore, the German government advocates expanding emissions trading at EU level to the heating and transport sectors, with an additional carbon tax on fossil fuels, as is already the policy in Germany. The EU ministers responsible for climate and the environment discussed this today in Brussels at the meeting of the EU Environment Council, where the Fit for 55 climate neutrality package was on the agenda. The Federal Environment Minister and Federal Climate Minister are jointly representing Germany at the Council sessions. State Secretary Sven Giegold stood in for Federal Climate Minister Robert Habeck at the Environment Council in Brussels.
Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke commented: "The German government stands united behind the Commission’s current proposal for the Fit for 55 package. CO2 emission performance standards for cars and vans have proven effective in reducing emissions in the transport sector. We therefore also support all elements of the Commission’s proposal for strengthening these standards. Accordingly, Germany backs phasing out combustion engines for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in the EU by 2035. Beyond that date, combustion engines, including those powered by e-fuels, will only be an option for vehicles outside the scope of the CO2 standards."
State Secretary at the Federal Climate Ministry Sven Giegold remarked: "The current situation shows that we must move away from Russian energy imports as quickly as possible. The Fit for 55 package has an absolutely vital role to play in our long-term energy sovereignty. Expanding renewable energy and lowering our energy consumption is now also a question of European security, resilience and sovereignty. This is why we need an ambitious climate action programme. We will do our utmost to support the French Council Presidency in achieving this goal. The proposed new emissions trading system for transport and heat is crucial to these efforts from Germany’s perspective. Without it, significant greenhouse gas reductions would be necessary elsewhere. The social implications of an expanded emissions trading scheme must, of course, be mitigated accordingly. In addition, a system of this kind also provides revenue that member states need to ensure that the energy transition is more socially just overall."
Today at the meeting of the Environment Council, the EU ministers responsible for climate and the environment discussed the Fit for 55 package, which the Commission tabled in July 2021 and is strongly supported by Germany. To meet the EU’s climate targets in the transport sector, the European Commission’s proposal also includes more ambitious CO2 emission performance standards for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The German government supports all elements of the Commission’s proposal. This includes the target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions for new passenger cars by at least 55 per cent by 2030 relative to 2021 levels and only allowing zero-emission cars – i.e. only cars without internal combustion engines – in the EU from 2035 onwards.
The discussion also focused on an EU-wide emissions trading system for the heating and transport sectors (known as ETS-2) and measures to mitigate the potential social impact of this new system. The orientation debate at today’s meeting serves to facilitate further dialogue between member states without seeking decisions. The French Council Presidency is striving to reach agreement among the member states on a large number of new climate regulations by the end of June 2022 if possible.