07 Jun 2019, 13:04
Julian Wettengel

Climate could become polarising issue in Germany, conservative party head warns

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The leader of the Germany's governing conservative CDU party, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, has warned that climate policy has the potential to become a polarising issue in the country, reports Philip Plickert for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The head of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party said the election gains for the Green Party and the far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) already hinted at a divide. “We in this society have already witnessed – also on the issue of migration – how divisive tendencies arose,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer at an event in Munich. She added that German energy and climate policy had to be effective in regards to CO₂ reduction, must not burden the economy too much, and be socially fair.

The European elections delivered major gains for Green parties in several countries, as voters signalled a strong desire for more aggressive action on climate change. In Germany, the Greens' surge was especially strong. The party doubled its support, coming in second to Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance. The Green landslide has since pushed Germany’s governing parties to put greater focus on combatting climate change. But the election campaign also contained signs of a potential backlash, as some right-wing populist parties, including Germany’s AfD, seized on opposition to climate action as a key part of their platform. While analysts say it is unclear whether the strategy paid off, they see the issue of climate change ripe for political polarisation, especially as countries adopt more ambitious policies that increasingly affect citizens’ daily lives. One big test could be upcoming state elections in the former East Germany.

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