To counteract climate change, emissions of carbon dioxide must fall significantly. Climate protection may be expensive but the alternative –doing nothing now and gradually adapting to the eventual consequences of climate change – would be considerably more expensive.
For the climate it matters little how and where on the earth CO2 is saved. Climate protection should therefore start where it is as inexpensive as possible. Unfortunately, environmental policy often resorts to instruments which cause unnecessarily high costs. A great deal more could be done to protect the climate for the same money.
Yet even the best climate policy is to no avail if practised by only some countries. Europe, and certainly Germany, are much too small to limit climate change on their own. Going it alone also carries the risk that industries will move to countries which do not restrict their emissions. For this reason, not only the industrialised but also threshold and developing countries should commit to CO2 reduction.