09 Jul 2021, 12:46
Kerstine Appunn

Protecting the climate 'won't require major sacrifices' - SPD's Scholz

Clean Energy Wire

Despite all the changes that are necessary to protect the climate, “there won’t have to be any major sacrifices”, Social Democrat (SPD) chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz told weekly newspaper Die Zeit in an interview. “It is an elitist attitude when those who are financially secure and can afford a new car and expensive flights preach sacrifices to those who cannot do so easily,” Scholz, who is currently finance minister in the Merkel coalition government, said. It is for Germany to show how prosperity and climate protection can go hand in hand, he explained: “Hundreds of new coal-fired power plants are planned worldwide. They will only not be put into operation if there is a better alternative.”

Speaking about his party’s plans for a climate neutral Germany, Scholz argued that a ban on combustion engines won’t be necessary because the automobile industry will get rid of fossil fuelled cars all by itself in the foreseeable future. “The car companies can invest tens of billions on their own – and they are doing so. We will also invest billions, for example, to accompany the transition in supplier companies,” he said. Scholz said building new roads and motorways would remain important in order to avoid “traffic chaos”. “We won't get freight transport onto the railways as quickly as some would like. It's a long-distance race. There will also be large numbers of e-cars. For that we need good roads,” he explained. To create alternatives for flying, Scholz said his party wants “to massively expand the railways”. “Today, it takes about 20 years to complete an ICE connection between two cities that can replace an air connection. This has to happen much faster,” he said.

Germany will elect a new parliament on 26 September. Scholz’s SPD is trailing the conservative CDU-CSU parties and the Green Party in the polls.

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