German govt defends climate package, env min signals possible amendments
Clean Energy Wire / Süddeutsche Zeitung / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended her government's climate policy against criticism by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. Merkel told journalists in New York that while Thunberg's speech at the UN Climate Action Summit had been "rousing", it did not sufficiently express "the way in which technology and innovation, particularly in the field of energy, but also in the field of saving energy, open up opportunities for us to achieve the objectives."
Meanwhile, environment minister Svenja Schulze expressed openness to amending the climate package in the Germany’s council of federal states, the Bundesrat, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung. If improvements were to be proposed, "I would listen impartially”, Schulze told Funke Mediengruppe. Schulze argued the package also contained "great progress, especially when it comes to the new binding nature of the targets”. After Germany's government coalition presented the package on 20 September, the Green Party has said it will use its influence in the Bundesrat to amend the package and enforce stronger climate action measures. In an e-mailed statement following the UN summit, Schulze said the country's climate policy is "not yet where we want and need to be, nationally nor internationally” but the package meant Germany had laid a foundation for the country to "assume its responsibility and catch up with the leading group".
Answering criticism in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, finance minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) said the government coalition "really did make a decisive difference" with the new climate package, as could be seen in its "dimensions alone". He stressed that 54 billion euros were to be invested in climate action by 2023 alone and that "if we extrapolate it to the 2020s, we are talking about an amount of far, far more than 150 billion euros”. Scholz also said "we must not hesitate any longer”.
Germany's coalition government agreed on a climate action package on 20 September, which includes a pricing system for carbon emissions in transport and buildings, a proposal for a framework Climate Action Law and a package of incentives and regulatory measures across all sectors. The package has since drawn criticism as insufficient to reach the country's 2030 climate targets.