16 Sep 2019, 14:03
Edgar Meza

Germany needs major change in climate strategy – media comments

Rheinische Post / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Süddeutsche Zeitung

The ideas the German government's climate cabinet members and government parties have put on the table so far "will hardly be sufficient" to meet the country's climate targets, while they seem to serve a clientele rather than the climate, Michael Bauchmüller writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Bauchmüller lambasts the government’s climate action rhetoric, arguing that its “efforts could end in one of the biggest cases of voter fraud the country has experienced so far.” He adds that “instead of boldly displacing fossil energy, the federal government is preparing to distribute benefits.”
In the Rheinische Post, Eva Quadbeck argues that Germany needs a major change in its climate strategy, in the best case one that would have an international impact. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition must meet two major criteria: Climate policy must not fall back into its old pattern that resulted in negligible superficial measures. At the same time, it must not overstrain citizens and businesses. “The scandal-ridden auto industry has chalked up a lot of misconduct. The climate transition will, however, not succeed without it, only with it,” she writes.
In a similar vein, Heike Göbel argues in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that whatever actions Merkel’s cabinet decides on, it needs to maintain confidence in the country’s market economy. Whether it bets on emissions trading, a move supported by the conservatives and the likelier choice, or introduces a CO2 tax, as originally called for by the Social Democrats (SPD), the coalition government has to work with the private sector and “give companies time to react to price signals through new technologies and processes. Only then will climate protection be cheaper,” Göbel adds, noting that customers will also need time to adapt.

Germany's famed energy transition has slowed in recent years and emissions are not falling fast enough. Chancellor Angela Merkel's government coalition is racing to put together a major climate action package by 20 September, just in time for UN Secretary-General António Guterres' climate summit in New York on 23 September. The decisive climate cabinet meeting will coincide with the planned Global Climate Strike.

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