The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has criticized the German government’s relief packages aimed at mitigating the impact of high energy prices for industry caused by the Ukraine war and inflation. The WWF believes that the measures lack plans and measures to reduce CO₂, making them inefficient. Viviane Raddatz, the German WWF climate chief, commented that the state had helped companies in the energy crisis but not the climate, and a great opportunity for transformation had been missed.
The relief packages aimed to counteract rising energy prices. However, according to a study by the Forum for the Ecological and Social Market Economy (FÖS), the price reductions have subsidized fossil fuels, making the switch to CO₂-neutral technologies less attractive for companies. Additionally, the industry was not sufficiently signaled to save energy or use it more efficiently. This means that efforts to combat a crisis born of fossil dependencies were countered with measures that would increase fossil dependencies.
The WWF has demanded that government spending be subjected to a stress test with a view to climate and environmental impacts. The organization wants subsidies to be targeted more precisely at energy-intensive companies, and more efficient production methods and process changes should be favored with the help of benchmarks. The WWF also believes relief should be linked to counter-services that help achieve climate goals and that companies should set themselves scientifically-based climate and environmental targets and submit appropriate change plans.
The environmental organization has demanded that the grants be used to expand renewable energies and energy efficiency, and they should be repaid if the requirements are not met. The FÖS examined several relief programs, including the state price brakes for electricity, gas, and heat, and the extension of the so-called peak equalization, which allows industrial companies to recover part of the electricity and energy taxes they’ve paid. The regulation was extended until the end of 2023.