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08 Jun 2021, 13:20
Julian Wettengel

2020s must be “decade of sustainability”, says German chancellor Merkel

Clean Energy Wire

Governments across the world have to make the 2020s the “decade of sustainability”, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 20th annual conference of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE). She based her remarks on UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ global call for a decade of action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. “What we’re doing is simply not enough,” said Merkel. Calling for intergenerational fairness, she said that action must be stepped up today. “Worldwide, we live at the expense of younger and future generations, that is the depressing truth.” The economic and social recovery from the coronavirus pandemic had to be used to make the ways to live and the economic activities more digital, resilient, climate-friendly and overall more sustainable, she added. “We have to bring up the courage for a true transformation.” In Germany, the soon to be updated Climate Action Law ensures “a kind of intergenerational contract that distributes the climate protection burden fairly“, she added.

The RNE advises the government on sustainability policy. Together with the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, RNE presented a position paper on climate neutrality 2050 to the chancellor. The institutions call for strong international climate partnerships, which should also include alliances with countries from the global south, for example to protect natural CO2 sinks and help with adaptation. “As much green electricity as possible, as quickly and as cheaply as possible” must be made available across the planet. At the European level, the paper says CO2 emissions trading should be the key instrument of climate action. Germany itself must make “significant headway” on emissions reduction under the next government and translate the new EU 2030 climate target into national instruments and measures.

The German government has decided to pull forward the national goal to reach climate neutrality to 2045 and introduce more ambitious interim greenhouse gas reduction targets to put the country on the right path. This reform of the Climate Action Law will be debated in parliament on 10 June and could be decided on 24 June. The German government also plans to introduce an emergency climate programme in the coming weeks.

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