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What does Germany’s planned climate protection package mean for you?

The German government is set to approve on Friday a number of laws in its climate protection package on Friday. From more expensive plane tickets to higher commuter allowances, here's how they could affect you.

What does Germany’s planned climate protection package mean for you?
Commuters in Cologne. Photo: DPA

Less than two months ago, Germany’s so-called Climate Cabinet decided on the cornerstones of its climate protection programme. 

On Friday, the Bundestag (parliament) will approve a large portion of the laws necessary for its implementation. Only laws pertaining to tax changes will still need the approval of Germany's Bundesrat (Federal Assembly)

The German government wants to ensure the country still achieves its climate targets for 2030. However, activists have said the measures don't go far enough.

The following measures were due to be approved on Friday:

PLANE TICKETS: In order to compensate for the reduced income of the changes to rail tax, the federal government wants to demand higher taxes on airline tickets, with passengers who regularly take short-haul flights facing a bigger hit.


Photo: DPA

According to the latest draft by the Finance Ministry, the air traffic tax for domestic and EU flights is to be raised by around 76 percent, and for longer flights by around 43 percent. The Ministry expects this to increase revenue by €740 million per year.

The tax for flights in Europe is to rise by €5.65 to €13.03 per ticket departing from a German airport. For routes up to 6000 kilometers, an increase of €9.96 to €33.01 is planned. For further long-haul routes, €59.43 will be due in the future, almost €18 more than before.

The changes are planned to come into force on April 1st 2020 to give airlines enough time to adjust pricing, so it gives air passengers a temporary reprieve before tickets become more expensive.

CO2 PRICE: It is intended to make climate-damaging fuels from oil, natural gas and later coal more expensive – and aims to provide an incentive for the development and purchase of climate-friendly cars and heating systems.

In 2021, more than 4,000 affected companies will pay €10 per tonne of CO2 they emit, with the price gradually rising to €35 by 2025. 

COMMUTER ALLOWANCE: Germany's commuter allowance (Pendlerpauschale) is intended to enable employers with a long way to go to work to reduce their personal tax burden. To calculate  the allowance, the commuter needs to know the length of the route and the number of working days on which the route is driven.

In order to compensate for the more expensive fuel, the commuter allowance for long distances is to rise for five years. From the 21st kilometre onwards there will be 35 cents per kilometre instead of 30. This amount can be deducted from taxable income per working day.

BUILDING RESTORATION/REFURBISHMENT: Those who take measures to insulate the walls or roof in their apartment or house, or renew windows, doors or heating, should receive tax relief for three years.

To qualify, the property must be older than 10 years. According to DPA information, the subsidy is to be deducted from taxes up to a total of €200,000 and will come in the form of a tax reduction of up to 20 percent.

This article was updated on November 15th, 2019.

READ ALSO: What are the key points of Merkel's new climate strategy?

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Central and southern Italy brace for storms and heavy snow

Storms and snowfall are forecast across much of central and southern Italy over the next few days, according to weather reports.

Snow is forecast in the hills of much of central and southern Italy.
Snow is forecast in the hills of much of central and southern Italy. Photo: Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Italy’s Civil Protection Department on Monday issued ‘orange’ alerts for bad weather along Campania’s Tyrrhenian coastline and the western part of Calabria, while Sicily, Basilicata, Lazio, Molise, Umbria, Abruzzo, central-western Sardinia, and the remaining areas of Campania and Calabria are under a lower-level ‘yellow’ weather warning.

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts is warning Italy’s central-southern regions to prepare for a blast of polar air from the Arctic Circle that will bring heavy snowfall, rain and storms, reports national weather forecaster Il Meteo.

The village of Grotte di Castro in the province of Viterbo, two hours’ drive north of Rome, mountainous parts of Sardinia, and much of the province of Campobasso in the central-eastern region of Molise were already blanketed in snow on Monday morning.

The department is responsible for predicting, preventing and managing emergency events across the country, and uses a green, yellow, orange and red graded colour coding system for weather safety reports.

An orange alert signifies a heavy rainfall, landslide and flood risk, while a yellow alert warns of localised heavy and potentially dangerous rainfall.

The current meteorological conditions mean that snow is expected to reach unusually low altitudes of around 450-500 metres, with flakes already falling thickly on parts of the southern-central Apennines mountain range at 500-700 metres altitude.

The hills of Marche, Abruzzo, Molise, Lazio, Sardinia, Campania, Calabria and Basilicata are likely to see heavy snow around the 500m mark, while areas at an altitude of 1000m or higher will see between 50-60 cm of fresh snow.

Affected parts of the country could see 50-60cm of snowfall.

Affected parts of the country could see 50-60cm of snowfall. Photo: Vincenzo PINTO /AFP

In areas where the snow is unlikely to reach, heavy rains and thunderstorms are anticipated, with rain forecast throughout Sardinia, Campania, Calabria and Lazio, reports Il Meteo.

Strong winds are forecast over the whole country, with the island regions of Sicily and Sardinia facing windspeeds of over 100km/hour and the risk of storm surges, according to the national newspaper La Repubblica.

READ ALSO: Climate crisis: The Italian cities worst affected by flooding and heatwaves

The north of the country, meanwhile, will see sun but low temperatures of below 0°C at night in many areas, including across much of the Po Valley.

While conditions are expected to stabilise on Tuesday, cold currents from Northern Europe are forecast to trigger another wave of bad weather on Wednesday and Thursday, with Sardinia and Italy’s western coastline again at risk of storms and heavy rainfall that will move up towards Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto in the north.