Climate protection policy in the housing sector: Lacking impact and need for action
Energy savings in the rental housing sector may contribute to the reduction of global greenhouse gas emission. However, emissions have gone up since the early nineties despite of large energy saving potentials. In general the effects of energy saving regulations and support programmes were overestimated. Unfortunately, these programmes ignore market specific restraints. Markets do not provide optimal incentives to prevent emissions since the costs of greenhouse gas emissions are not fully internalised in fuel prices. Special characteristics of rental housing market in Germany enhance this deficit. Consequently profitable measures of saving energy are neglected. Overall the effectiveness of regulations and support programmes suffers. Therefore it is necessary to strengthen energy saving incentives. Suitable instruments would include a gradual rise in fuel taxes (Öko-Steuer), a reduction of rental housing market control and measures to improve the transparency of energy consumption.