11 Jan 2024, 13:53
Jennifer Collins

German govt advisor launches climate policy think tank, social justice central focus


A new German think tank is set to focus on the impacts of climate change and climate policy on society, according to Table.Media. Founded by Brigitte Knopf, a member of Germany’s Council of Experts on Climate Change, Zukunft KlimaSozial (future climate social) will bring scientific expertise to the debate on the social consequences of climate policy and the energy transition. Knopf and Ines Verspohl, who was the head of social policy at social advocacy organization VdK, hope this will help bring the issue of social justice to the forefront of the climate debate, which they say has been debated on a very technical level until now. The official launch is planned for the first half of this year.

Climate policies are among the most polarising topics in many European countries, including Germany, according to a 2023 report by the Mercator Forum Migration and Democracy (MIDEM) at Technische Universität Dresden (TUD). As people struggle to make ends meet amid inflation and spiralling energy prices, climate measures, including plans to phase out fossil fuel-powered boilers, subsidy cuts for agricultural diesel, and an increased price on carbon emissions in the transport and heating sector, have become flashpoints in Germany. Far-right populist like the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party have campaigned against the government’s energy and climate policies. Environmental NGOs and government advisors said the government needed to fulfill its pledge to introduce the “climate bonus” (Klimageld) support payment to citizens as it increased the CO2 price, so as not to burden low-income citizens and to boost acceptance of climate protection measures.

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