Germany’s green energy shift may get a financial shot in the arm when the impact of the coronavirus ebbs, according to a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet.

When the virus’ acute phase is over, the government plans a stimulus package that advances the nation technologically and helps the economy’s move toward climate neutrality, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said in an interview with Funke Mediengruppe. Such a package “makes sense,” said the Social Democrat without adding details.

Such a move would allow Germany, Europe’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, to exploit a positive environmental quirk of Covid-19’s affect on the economy: plummeting CO2 emissions, said Patrick Graichen, executive director of the Agora Energiewende think tank in Berlin.

“What counts for the climate is sustainable reduction in emissions, not a one-time drop,” Graichen said by phone. “We need a green growth and investment program fast. For sure, once the crisis is over, emissions will soar again.

How a stimulus package could boost green energy:
  • Faster build-out of electric car infrastructure.
  • Lifting the cap on solar power subsidies.
  • Subsidizing heavy industry to switch to green hydrogen.
  • Boosting subsidies for alternative truck fuels.
  • Raising incentives to switch to electric heating from gas.

 

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