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11 Jul 2019, 14:09
Freja Eriksen

Metalworkers’ union and environmental organisations demand German climate action in rare alliance

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s largest labour union IG Metall and its two largest environmental organisations NABU and BUND have formed a rare alliance asking for an “ecological, social and democratic transformation” in the country. In a joint paper, the three organisations assert that a “turnaround in energy and mobility” is necessary to ensure climate protection. “After years of hesitation and procrastination, we must now increase the pace significantly,” reads the paper. "We don't need new 'targets' for this, but concrete measures, above all from the federal government,” said first chairman of IG Metall, Jörg Hofmann, in a press release. More specifically, the organisations point to the need for a nationwide charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, the expansion of the public transport network and improved conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. The turnaround requires an “offensive state investment policy,” they write. IG Metall, NABU and BUND support the idea of CO2 pricing but add that it should be implemented together with an array of other sector-specific climate action measures. They are “opposed to extending emissions trading to the areas of transport and housing”.

The organisations' call comes at a time when the federal government is hurrying to agree on key climate action. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has set up her so-called "climate cabinet", which has promised to present first key decisions by September. After shying away from the debate for a long time, Germany's political leaders are also finally considering putting a price on CO2 to help the country reach its climate targets. However, there is a heated debate about the design of such a system, be it a CO2 tax or an emissions allowances trade system.

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