New environment minister Schulze says Germany must regain leading position in international climate action
Germany’s new environment minister, Svenja Schulze, says Germany must regain its leadership position in the international effort to reduce carbon emissions. “Germany quickly has to restore its pioneering role in climate action,” Schulze said during her inaugural speech in parliament, adding that this will require a “big transformation” in all sectors and a combined effort by all ministries, the federal states, and the country’s companies. Schulze said she would work to close the gap to Germany’s 2020 climate target “as much as possible” through additional renewables auctions and other measurers, and that she has already called on all relevant ministries to coordinate their emissions reduction efforts. She said that a climate action law will be adopted by 2019 to ensure that the country’s 2030 climate target is met. Schulze said the commission that will be charged with planning Germany’s coal exit will start its work soon, and determine an end date. “But we all know that a mere date is not enough,” she said, adding affected regions need an economic perspective.
She said Germany was “a case in point” that economic success and ecological policies do not contradict each other, adding that the Paris Climate Agreement will boost international demand for green technologies made in Germany. Regarding the ongoing dieselgate affair and the looming EU lawsuit over air pollution in German cities, Schulze said she is “no big fan” of diesel driving bans, and that innovative solutions are needed to prevent them. She said carmakers were responsible for ensuring that vehicles obey emissions rules, adding she endorsed mandatory mechanical diesel retrofitting.
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