Unambitious formula compromises are mostly the result of coalition committees. Especially in the tough years of the grand coalition, they were the order of the day. I was all the more surprised when I studied the results of the current meeting and found several resolutions worth reading them out loud to my husband.

Clearly ambitious partners have negotiated here, this applies in particular to the Greens and the FDP. However, the ambitions go in very different directions. In addition to climate protection policy, the FDP also pursues other goals, such as the preservation of individual mobility and economic prosperity.

The Greens, on the other hand, who do not do it under the apocalyptic scenario “no more livable earth” (Kathrin Göring-Eckhardt), reject such considerations. They want to subordinate everything to the goal of climate protection that is as comprehensive as possible, and they obviously don’t care much about the costs in the form of loss of freedom and prosperity.

It looks like the FDP has prevailed. By all accounts, with the help of the SPD. For some time there, a classic materialist left, which still has a sense that wealth must first be generated before it can be distributed, has been wrestling with a post-materialist left, which primarily pursues identity-political and ecological concerns.

The materialistic wing seems to have the upper hand at the moment, probably also because the results of the Berlin elections and the Berlin referendum on climate protection have been analyzed and understood.

And so the FDP and SPD were able to push through results in the coalition committee that actually mean a paradigm shift for German climate protection policy: towards a significantly more market-based and thus more cost-efficient course.

The decisive point for this is what the federal director of the German Environmental Aid describes as an “absolute catastrophe”: the agreement of a cross-sectoral approach to climate protection. In the Climate Protection Act passed in 2019, the simple logic used to be that all areas such as industry, transport, agriculture and housing must contribute equally to reducing CO₂ emissions.

However, since the costs per tonne of saved greenhouse gases differ significantly in the individual sectors, this approach means that we receive less climate protection per euro invested than would be possible. Or the other way around: that our approach to reducing CO₂ means more loss of freedom and prosperity than is necessary.

The introduction of a cross-sectoral approach decided by the coalition committee, which also underlies the market-based instrument of emissions trading, means that in future the next tonne of CO₂ no longer has to be saved where FDP ministers can best be presented in public, but where it is cheapest. Rationality has prevailed.

“What’s great is the area with the biotope network,” says Green politician Anton Hofreiter in the WELT interview. Otherwise he is dissatisfied with many of the results of the coalition committee. He also criticizes the Chancellor’s attitude: he must also implement what has been decided.

Source: WELT/Achim Our

This also applies to other points. The idea of ​​openness to technology, which is also crucial for cost-efficient climate protection, should now also apply to heating – after the FDP had already enforced it at European level with the ban on combustion engines.

In the decision of the coalition committee, the negotiating partners even explicitly committed to the “fastest possible ramp-up” of the required e-fuels production, through cooperation with partner countries that can produce these fuels more economically, and through lower minimum tax rates that reduce the “environmental and climate impact” of fuels should be taken more into account in the future.

And finally, according to the decisions of the coalition committee, Germany should finally use an instrument that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been calling for for a long time: CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage), the technical possibility of separating CO₂, storing it permanently underground and thus making it harmless to the climate. Between 2009 and 2012, the black and yellow federal government made several attempts to at least test CCS in Germany.

The bitter truth is that we failed less because of the opposition than because of an uprising in our own ranks, because state governments and constituency deputies made themselves the mouthpiece of the obviously irrational and deliberately fueled fears of their population. Now a target for “negative emissions” is to be set and this technology “plays a role” in this. Anyway. This is also a step towards climate protection that tries not to let the costs for the population rise immeasurably.

Kristina Schröder was a member of the German Bundestag from 2002 to 2017 and Federal Minister for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth from 2009 to 2013. Today she works, among other things, as a management consultant and as deputy chairwoman of REPUBLIK21, a think tank for new middle-class politics. She belongs to the CDU and is the mother of three daughters.