20 Jan 2021, 13:27
Benjamin Wehrmann

Biden presidency sparks hope for climate but policy differences remain – German env min

Rheinische Post

The inauguration of new U.S. President Joe Biden sparks hopes that "climate action will finally be taken serious again" by the government of the world's largest economy, German environment minister Svenja Schulze has said in an interview with the Rheinische Post. "It's high time for that," Schulze said, adding that the U.S. had only lowered its annual emissions by ten percent since 1990. "This is far too low to reach the UN climate targets." According to the minister, parting President Donald Trump has "greatly damaged" climate action through his hostility to science and an erratic diplomacy approach. Schulze welcomed that the Biden administration will be re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement swiftly, arguing that together with the EU, the U.S. could now become one of the global drivers of climate action again. "And we can finally have a constructive debate again wherever opinions differ," she added. However, Schulze said differences in key energy policy areas would remain under the new U.S. government, for example regarding Germany's "totally different nuclear strategy”. Germany would be ending nuclear power "for sure”, whereas Biden has said his country could construct new nuclear power plants. "I think it's an illusion to believe that newer, smaller reactors will be a technology of the future," Schulze said. 
The head of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Siegfried Russwurm, in an e-mailed statement said the best way forward in joint climate action between Europe and America would be a "roadmap for a global greenhouse gas pricing system" that includes a minimum CO2 price for 2030.

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