Green party signals big concessions on diesel and coal in coalition talks

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Green party signals big concessions on diesel and coal in coalition talks

Cem Özdemir. Photo: DPA

With coalition talks to create a new German government seemingly going nowhere, the Green party signalled on Tuesday that they were willing to compromise on some of their key policies.

Green party leader Cem Özdemir made clear on Tuesday that the party would no longer insist that a pledge to ban new gasoline engines by 2030 be written into the coalition agreement.

“It is clear to me that we won’t be able to push through a deadline of 2030 for stopping the allowance of new gasoline engines on our own,” he told the Stuttgarter Nachrichten.

Instead, the Green party leader said that they wanted “a clear recognition that we will do everything we can to create a car of the future which is automated and emissions free.”

Up until now the Green party have insisted that they would only join the government if the coalition agreement contained a pledge not to allow anymore combustion engines to be built for German roads after 2030. But the Free Democrats (FDP) and the Christian Social Union have flatly rejected implementing such a deadline.

After Angela Merkel’s Christian Union (CDU/CSU) won the election on September 24th with a significantly reduced vote share, the Chancellor has been trying to build a “Jamaica” coalition with the Greens and the FDP. As the Greens differ from the more right-wing FDP and CSU on key issues such as migration and climate policy, preliminary talks have so far been slow. 

The environmentalist party also signalled on Tuesday that they were prepared to compromise on coal power. A further pledge they made to voters before the election was that they would only join the government if Germany immediately closes down its 20 dirtiest coal power stations, with all the remaining ones to shut down by 2030.

But party chairwoman Simone Peter told the Rheinische Post on Tuesday that “it is not important to us if the last coal power station is closed in 2030 or in 2032. We are pragmatic. What is key is the reduction of C02 emissions.”

“For us it is about making sure C02 emissions are reduced by 40 percent in comparison with 1990 by 2020 and that the targets for 2030 are met,” she stated.

READ ALSO: Germany at huge risk of missing 2020 climate targets, government figures show

But even this goal is meeting resistance from the other parties, despite the fact it is already official government policy.

Wolfgang Kubicki, deputy leader of the FDP said on Tuesday that it was not realistic to believe targets for 2020 could be met.

“You can’t just close down whole industrial sectors and ban cars - that’s unimaginable for an industrial country such as Germany. We weren’t elected to take away hundreds of thousands of jobs,” he told the Passauer Neue Presse.