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09 Dec 2021, 13:38
Charlotte Nijhuis

Candidates for leadership of Germany’s opposition CDU party confirm commitment to 1.5C target

Frankfurter Rundschau

The three candidates in the race to succeed CDU party leader Armin Laschet --  Helge Braun, Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen -- have positioned themselves on climate policy, Frankfurter Rundschau reports. They all support policies in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and that adhere to the “residual budget” of CO2 emissions as defined by the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU), they said in response to a questionnaire sent by the conservatives’ climate group, KlimaUnion. When it comes to the practical implementation of this goal, Braun is most ambitious, calling for climate neutrality “if possible before 2045” and climate-neutral energy supply by 2035, the news outlet writes. Around 100 gigawatts of renewable energy should be added annually, Braun said, while Merz and Röttgen refrained from specifying an expansion target. Röttgen emphasised that "all measures" should be "tackled as comprehensively as possible," calling for the expansion of renewable energy, energy storage and hydrogen use, abolishing the EEG surcharge and lowering grid fees. Merz said that the necessary CO2 reduction "probably cannot (be) achieved with pure avoidance strategies” and called for “openness to technology,” thereby alluding to the controversial carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

The German conservative CDU/CSU alliance is going through a phase of introspection and restructuring after the party incurred its worst-ever election result in September under chancellor candidate Armin Laschet. After 16 years in power with CDU chancellor Angela Merkel, the conservatives had to give way to a tripartite coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP), who have promised to put Germany on an emissions reduction path compatible with the Paris Agreement's target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The party leadership election is the third contest of this kind for the conservatives since late 2018, indicating that the party so far has struggled to fill the internal void created by Merkel’s departure.

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