“Traffic light got tangled up in climate protection”

The frost sign is displayed on a digital heating controller and signals that the radiator is switched off.
The heating law divided the governing coalition. © Jens Büttner/dpa

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The climate researcher Ottmar Edenhofer advocates that the federal government give up its controversial heating law and restart the project. “The traffic light got tangled up in climate protection,” said the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”. “My recommendation would be to take a deep breath, take a step back and start the heating transition again.”

Edenhofer spoke out in favor of controlling the price for the emission of climate-damaging carbon dioxide (CO2). “Letting the national emissions trading with emission upper limits work immediately is wiser than the ban and bid policy.” This could cap the price increase. “With the BEHG, the government really has all the legal options in its hands.” Then people would switch to less CO2-intensive heating systems of their own accord.

The climate researcher said he often hears that higher CO2 prices cannot be enforced politically. “But even detailed regulations, such as the Heating Exchange Act, annoy people and are difficult to enforce. Clear communication from the government explaining to people why heating with gas has to become more expensive, what price increases are to be expected and who is protected from the price increases with which reimbursements would be accepted by the population.”

What is planned

According to the draft law already passed by the Federal Cabinet, from 2024 every newly installed heating system should be operated with 65 percent green energy. This should apply to all owners up to the age of 80. Existing oil and gas heating systems can continue to be operated, and broken ones can be repaired. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the switch should be cushioned socially by funding.

The Greens want to pass the law in the Bundestag as quickly as possible. The FDP brakes. The SPD, in turn, wants to start parliamentary deliberations quickly, but then make changes.

What the FDP says

FDP parliamentary group leader Lukas Köhler is pushing for a different funding system. “For example, the subsidy system for buildings must be based on CO2 efficiency, and the concrete renovation schedule must be left to the owners,” he told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung”. In addition, he demanded subsequent exchange obligations.

What the Greens want

Green Bundestag Vice-President Katrin Göring-Eckardt insisted that the law would come into force on January 1, but spoke out in favor of corrections. So there must be a staggered subsidy according to income, she told the Funke media group. “There shouldn’t be any major burdens for tenants either.” That’s why her party wants to subsidize the new heating system by up to 80 percent – and not as envisaged in the draft with a maximum of 50. She rejected other exceptions.



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