German president cautions 'giant steps' needed to curb climate change, says topic dominates election
dpa / Zeit Online
German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier has cautioned that tackling climate change will require "giant steps" by governments and citizens around the world if global warming is to be limited to 2 degrees Celsius, news agency dpa reports in an article carried by Zeit Online. At a meeting of German-speaking heads of state near Berlin, Steinmeier said politicians would have to be "daring" to implement the steps necessary to comply with international climate targets and to put Germany on track to achieve climate neutrality by 2045. He stressed that climate change is a key issue in the September federal elections, as shown by the central role it plays in most parties' manifestos. Steinmeier argued that "there's no dodging of the question whether and when Germany will reach climate neutrality for any party." Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen at the same meeting said climate action had long gone beyond the realm of politics and would now occupy the minds of diverse groups in society, from bankers to teenagers.
Germany heads to the ballot box to elect a new federal parliament on 26 September, deciding which party will lead the next coalition government and, therefore, shape the country’s climate and energy policy. Spurred by unusually hot and dry weather conditions, warnings from scientists and large-scale protest led by the Fridays for Future movement, climate change has become a leading voter concern in Germany in the past years.