Conservative politicians set up climate group, call for climate neutrality in 10-20 years
Clean Energy Wire
Parliamentarians and other politicians from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance (known as “Union”) have formed a climate group – the so-called “Climate Union” to push their parties to introduce policy in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5° target. The group is meant to create a network of climate-committed conservatives ahead of the September elections, to establish a majority within CDU and CSU for a resolute 1.5-degree climate policy to make Germany climate-neutral by 2040 at the very latest – which is a more ambitious demand than most conservatives have supported so far. In the recently agreed climate action law, the current grand coalition of CDU/CSU and SPD in 2019 decided to aim for climate neutrality by 2050. “The Climate Union makes it clear that the 1.5-degree promise can only be achieved if the CDU and CSU immediately work responsibly at all levels and in all areas to ensure that Germany becomes climate neutral in the next 10 to 20 years,” says the group’s charter.
Founding members include activist Heinrich Strößenreuther, who recently became a CDU party member, former Tesla Germany head Philipp Schröder and 25-year-old federal parliament candidate Wiebke Winter. At a press conference, Schröder said that unlike the Greens so far, the conservatives could put the discussion at the centre of society. “For us as a society, it is crucial that we manage to lay solid foundations in our middle class in order to give courageous politicians the necessary backing to implement the transition,” he said. CDU MP Andreas Jung, who was key in negotiating the 2019 climate action package of the current government to help Germany reach its 2030 climate targets, and other MPs are among the supporters of the group.
The conservatives have long struggled with ambitious climate policy, but have increasingly put climate action at the centre of policy programmes. Pushed by heat waves and droughts in 2018 and 2019, as well as the Fridays for Future student climate protests, Merkel’s government in 2019 decided a comprehensive climate package, including the country’s first major climate law, a carbon price for transport and heating fuels, and the implementation of the coal exit agreement.