German Greens' leader says climate activists' impatience "partly justified"
German Green Party co-leader Ricarda Lang has welcomed criticism from climate activists about the government coalition's climate policies in its first year in office, saying their impatience was “partly justified” and stressed that “2023 must be the year of climate protection.” In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Lang took stock of a turbulent year for Germany’s ruling coalition and offered her take on the biggest issues currently facing the government. After 16 years in opposition, her party could finally implement what it always demanded, she stated, but added that the war in Ukraine had forced the Greens “to make decisions that we couldn't have imagined but that were necessary, like supplying arms or building liquid gas terminals." Lang argued that "responsible politics" meant taking decisive and precautionary action in a crisis, and taking advantage of opportunities. "We became independent of Russian gas in 10 months and have massively accelerated the expansion of renewable energy sources,” she stressed.
At the same time, Lang expressed regret at having to reactivate coal-fired power plants and said her party would continue to oppose new investment in nuclear power. Germany must still phase out coal by 2030 while providing support for the affected regions to create new jobs, she added. Lang reiterated her party’s goal to power Germany’s grid on 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Dismissing concerns that the U.S. was seeking to poach Germany’s green sector industries, Lang said the Greens had approved a decision to invest 100 billion euros in green technologies and climate protection. “It doesn't scare me. A competition is breaking out as to where future technologies will settle. The U.S. is spending a lot of money on this, formulating targets and goals. We need an answer to that."