Goring-eckardt warns of excessive demands in climate protection

The Greens have started to lurch on the way to power, the candidate for chancellor Annalena Baerbock faces a demanding party conference this weekend. Green caucus leader Katrin Goring-Eckardt says in an interview how much she wants to ask of people in terms of climate protection – and comments on the question of whether she would like to become German president.

5.9 percent in Saxony-Anhalt – the Greens have fluffed the last mood test before the Bundestag elections. Is the Baerbock boom already over?

Katrin Goring-Eckardt: In the federal government we have a completely different situation. We are still doing very well in the polls. And the fact that trees don't grow to the sky for us in the east is nothing new. But clearly: We had hoped for more in Saxony-Anhalt.

The Greens are also sinking in the polls at the national level. Must correct your election goal – the chancellor's office?

Goring-Eckardt: No. We knew we would face headwinds and not simply surf a wave into the chancellor's office. After all, a lot is at stake. The fact that the competitors from the other parties are gunning for us is something we can feel right now. Gives us a chance to talk about what we're really about. Our concepts are on the table: addressing the climate crisis is the critical task for the next decade. With the CDU, one can only puzzle over what it stands for.

The Greens have created a number of obstacles for themselves: the party expulsion proceedings against Boris Palmer, Robert Habeck's move to supply weapons to Ukraine, Annalena Baerbock's declared supplementary income, the imprecise curriculum vitae of the candidate for chancellor – what have you been most annoyed about??

Goring-Eckardt: The party's expulsion of Mr. Palmer was overdue. It was good that Robert Habeck went to Ukraine to point out an almost forgotten conflict. The discussion on support for Ukraine could have been conducted with greater precision. This is a conflict that needs to be resolved diplomatically. We must help the people there by strengthening the OSCE mission.

And the candidate for chancellor?

Goring-Eckardt: Annalena Baerbock was probably most annoyed herself that some information was not given precisely enough. These are certainly things that are not helpful. Mr. Laschet's curriculum vitae does not seem to be complete either. But none of this concerns the substantive debate in this election campaign.

Faulty information about one's own career is not a trivial matter.

Goring-Eckardt: I do not say that either. But Mrs. Baerbock has not deliberately misrepresented her curriculum vitae, but there were inaccuracies. Of course this is annoying.

Baerbock's demand to raise the price of gasoline by 16 cents caused an outcry. The Greens lack a feel for the reality of people's lives?

Goring-Eckardt: To make that clear once again: The federal government decided exactly that last year. For climate protection reasons, we just want things to move a little faster. But above all, unlike the other parties, we are proposing a strong social compensation right from the start: in the form of an energy allowance and a subsidy for the renovation of buildings and the purchase of emission-free cars.

Those who live in the country and depend on a car should not have to pay for it. Tackling the climate crisis can only be done together with citizens and industry.

The energy money you plan to offset should go to everyone – rich and poor alike. Is that fair?

Goring-Eckardt: Our concept is that everyone gets the same share back per capita. People with high incomes also have a larger carbon footprint on average. Our energy money has been proven to relieve lower incomes. Those who have a large apartment, drive around downtown in a two-ton truck and can afford several flights a year naturally pay more.

Goring-eckardt warns of excessive demands in climate protection

The Green base wants to use the party conference to write a significantly higher CO2 price into the election program: By 2023, the levy for each ton of carbon dioxide emitted should rise not to 60, but to 90 or 120 euros. Do you think that is also socially acceptable?

Goring-Eckardt: I believe that we are right on track with a CO2 price of 60 euros. This is a sensible, ambitious amount. We must not overcharge anyone.

How do you feel about short-haul flights?

Goring-Eckardt: We want aviation fuel to be taxed fairly. It makes no sense to tax all fuels but not kerosene. We also want short-haul flights to become superfluous. That doesn't mean that these flights should be canceled as of tomorrow. We want to expand rail services so that they can replace flights – because they will then be faster, more comfortable and cheaper. Other countries have long been showing us how it's done. And Germany will play an important role due to its central location in a European night train network.

And Mallorca drops out as a vacation destination?

Goring-Eckardt: No, of course not, no one should feel bad about a vacation in Mallorca.

How many flights a year are okay?

Goring-Eckardt: I'm not the one who has to decide how many flights who takes. As a politician, I am there to set the framework conditions so that climate-neutral mobility is possible. There are people for whom the majority of the family lives abroad – they will perhaps fly more frequently than others.

How do you want to set the framework conditions so that construction and housing do not become even more expensive??

Goring-Eckardt: We will only fulfill the Paris climate agreement if buildings contribute a large share to CO2 savings. One key is energy-efficient refurbishment – from solar roofs to climate-friendly heating and thermal insulation. The state must launch a funding offensive here. We want to make climate protection radically simple and affordable for tenants and landlords.

Means concretely?

Goring-Eckardt: We want the state to pay one-third of the renovation costs, just as landlords and tenants do. This keeps modernization costs limited for landlords and cuts tenant apportionment in half. Since the money does not have to be paid back, it is also an investment incentive.

What should the state spend on it?

Goring-Eckardt: We want to increase funding for climate protection in housing to seven billion. There has never been so much support for tenants, landlords and homeowners. This also includes making the supply of district heating by municipal utilities climate-friendly.


The CO2 price also makes heating more expensive. Who should pay for it?

Goring-Eckardt: Those who can do something about the state of buildings and heat supply. These are the landlords and homeowners. If they switch to climate-friendly heating, for example, there is less or no CO2 price to pay. Incidentally: A new heating system and good thermal insulation are subsidized and increase the value of a home enormously.

What do you think about a nationwide rent cap??

Goring-Eckardt: The Berlin rent cap was overturned by the Federal Constitutional Court. We need effective rent ceilings. Then rents may no longer be increased by more than 2.5 percent a year. The state must ensure that housing remains affordable and that the nurse can still live in the district where she works. This is often hardly possible in cities like Berlin, Cologne or Hamburg.

If everything goes as the Greens envision, Annalena Baerbock will become the second woman in the chancellor's office. When will Germany have its first female president?

Goring-Eckardt: The federal presidential election does not take place until early next year. It is not yet clear what the majority in the Federal Assembly will then be. All these decisions we will not consider before the federal election.

You said long ago that it was time for a woman in the highest office of state.

Goring-Eckardt: We need many more women in all top positions in the first place. Of course, this also applies to the highest state offices.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier has declared his candidacy for a second term in office. Does this mean that the question has already been decided??

Goring-Eckardt: It is the good right of the Federal President to announce his candidacy for a second term in office.

You yourself are named as a candidate for the highest state office. Stand by?

Goring-Eckardt: It is very kind that I am trusted to do this. But now is not the time for this topic. Now comes first of all the Bundestag election and then we know also, which for majorities it gives in the Federal Assembly.

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