The decisions of the traffic light coalition on climate protection and planning acceleration have caused criticism from several associations and opposition parties. Environmental organizations accused the coalition of softening climate protection rules.

The social association VdK and the child protection association complained about the lack of an agreement on the financing of the planned basic child security. Sharp criticism of the resolutions came from the left and the AfD. Leading politicians from the SPD, Greens and FDP, on the other hand, spoke of groundbreaking results.

The coalition committee met with interruptions from Sunday evening to Tuesday evening. The three coalition parties agreed on a reform of the climate protection law. In addition to railway lines, certain motorway projects intended to eliminate bottlenecks are also to be accelerated.

We are talking about 144 projects. The train should get more money. In the course of a reform of the truck toll, additional income is to be used predominantly for investments in rail. So far, revenue from the truck toll has only been used to build long-distance roads.

Greenpeace: Autobahn projects “harmful to the climate”

In the case of interventions in nature and the landscape, for example through the construction of wind turbines or roads, not only should land be compensated, but money should also be paid as compensation in the future. The annual amounts of CO2 emitted by sectors such as energy, industry, transport, buildings, agriculture and waste management are to be re-handled.

If an area exceeds the agreed annual amount, the ministries must submit so-called emergency programs for more climate protection. The coalition wants to stick to this survey for each sector, but the government should only make adjustments in the future after two consecutive missed targets – for all sectors together.

Nabu President Jörg-Andreas Krüger criticized that with the softening of the sector targets, the traffic light government was falling behind the level of ambition of the previous government. The executive director of Greenpeace, Martin Kaiser, also complained that giving up the obligation to implement each individual sector goal would gut the climate protection law. If 144 additional “climate-damaging highway projects” were to be paved through the country at an accelerated rate, the climate would be further driven into the wall.

Criticism from the left and AfD

Praise came from the Pro-Rail Alliance. Its managing director Dirk Flege welcomed the fact that the railways should receive more money and that funds from the truck toll should also flow for this purpose. “Finally, the compulsion to invest the truck toll revenue in federal trunk roads has been abolished. Now you can invest in environmentally friendly alternatives, that’s a huge step forward,” said Flege.

The German Association of Towns and Municipalities welcomed the agreements on the transport sector as a whole and also the fact that further investments are being made in road construction. “Germany will still be dependent on automobility for a very long time. It will take decades to expand the rail network – including the European one – in such a way that the volume of rail transport can increase significantly,” said CEO Gerd Landsberg of the “Rheinische Post”.

However, the left and AfD cannot see anything good in the results of the coalition committee. Left parliamentary group leader Dietmar Bartsch told the news portal t-online: “Increasing the truck toll does not make a total work of art, but is a debacle for the traffic light government and a chancellor with continued weaknesses in leadership.” At the same time, Bartsch accused the traffic light coalition of “nebulous announcements” and called it “disgraceful”.

Like Bartsch, the parliamentary group leaders of the AfD, Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla, also criticized the fact that the planned ban on the installation of new oil and gas heating systems is not yet off the table. They called the results of the coalition talks “poor” overall. There should now be social compensation for the installation of more climate-friendly heating systems. However, the coalition wants to stick to the requirement that from January 1, 2024, every newly installed heating system should be operated with 65 percent renewable energy.

This is how the traffic light reacts

The view of the traffic light coalition is completely different. SPD leader Lars Klingbeil spoke in the ZDF “heute journal” of a large modernization package that will change the country over the next few decades. He was also willing to “sit down at a table for two days”. Klingbeil confirmed that the coalition has a common interest in advancing climate protection, expanding infrastructure projects and also drastically reducing planning and approval times. In the ARD “Tagesthemen” the SPD boss said that many of the resolutions would come to parliament very quickly.

Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) called the package of measures for the railways and heavy goods traffic “very massive”. Habeck admitted in the ZDF program “Markus Lanz” that the acceleration of planning for motorway projects was not easy for his party, but was part of the compromise process. “That was not a wish of the Greens,” said Habeck. But it is important that problems have been solved.

FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr rated the results of the coalition committee as groundbreaking. “Together, the coalition has agreed on a comprehensive modernization and acceleration package that means a true paradigm shift,” Dürr told the German Press Agency. The pace of planning and approval procedures will continue to increase. The climate protection law will be transferred from the “planned economy to the market economy”. The coalition has also committed to openness to technology.