German Greens say will only enter a government aiming for 1.5 degree goal
The German Green Party's candidate for chancellor, Annalena Baerbock, has said her party would "not enter into a government that doesn't do everything in its power to get on a path compatible with the 1.5 degree goal" of the Paris Agreement. In an interview with weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Baerbock said the most important task for Germany's next government following the September elections would be to launch "an immediate climate action programme" that spells out a wide range of measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions, most importantly a rapid expansion of renewable power sources and an earlier coal phase-out. Echoing parts of the Green election programme, Baerbock said her party would strive to introduce a general speed limit on German motorways to "immediately" reduce CO2 emissions, speed up the increase of the carbon price to make fossil fuels more expensive in order to accelerate the switch to low-emission cars, and ban registrations of new combustion engine cars by 2030. Following sharp criticisms from political opponents that Green policies could overburden long-distance car commuters and other groups, she stressed that price increases must not be too fast to avoid social injustices.
Baerbock stressed the need to increase taxes for aviation fuel and in other areas where a switch to carbon-neutral propulsion systems or production methods cannot be achieved quickly. This should happen at the national level if no international agreement can be made quickly, she added. "The government's climate action plan said dumping prices in aviation should be stopped. But nothing has happened at all. We need to change that." She also reiterated her party's intention to reimburse citizens for higher CO2 prices on transport and heating, and reduce electricity prices in a bid to make climate action more socially equitable. She also said wealthy people would not necessarily have to consume less, but "differently" in order to make their everyday lives more climate-friendly. The Greens are currently trailing outgoing chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives in opinion polls, after a brief period earlier this year when the party claimed the top spot.