Dhe demands are increasing that the federal government’s economic stimulus plan, which is planned for early June, should above all benefit climate protection. At first glance, steps to boost the economy in the short term seem difficult to reconcile with the long-term climate goals. Operated intelligently, economic stimulus can certainly be combined with a longer-running economic and climate program, according to a not yet published article by the employer-oriented Institute of German Economy (IW) in Cologne. Among other things, the scientists are proposing that all German citizens should have a fast broadband connection.
This would solve several problems: securing jobs and employment in the economy, promoting digitalization, supporting new forms of work and learning, promoting rural areas, and last but not least, making provisions for a possible upcoming pandemic. The fast Internet for everyone could “bring long-term growth impulses to less populated regions and enable new business models”, the paper says. “Digitization plays a key role in climate protection because it enables home offices, video conferences instead of business trips and distance learning.”
It was similar in the financial crisis
The economists point out that the demand for “Green Recovery”, an economic recovery for “Corona” in the sense of environmental and resource protection, also comes from the ranks of the economy: At the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in April, 68 German groups had spoken out in favor , including eight companies listed on the Dax. The IW is now proposing to finance long-term sustainable structural programs in addition to quick-acting relief for companies. In doing so, one should be guided by the uniform EU classification system for climate-friendly investments that was adopted in 2019.
The renovation and optimization of existing buildings and heating systems is particularly proven and effective. The construction infrastructure generates almost 14 percent of the CO2 emissions in Germany. There is a lot of potential in school buildings, where there is a renovation backlog of € 138 billion at the local level. The researchers see a further need for the expansion of charging options for electric cars, in renewable energies and in the hydrogen and circular economy. “With the development of these technologies, which are increasingly in demand worldwide, German industry could take advantage of its lead and open up new sources of added value,” the article says.
However, the authors warn against being deceived by the declining greenhouse gas emissions in the Corona crisis. They draw a comparison to the financial crisis in 2009. Just a year later, emissions had jumped by 35 million tons. A look back is also worthwhile in another respect: More than a quarter of the aid package put together in those years was used for investments in public infrastructure.