Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
Last week, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier announced the country would be implementing a new climate charter that calls for “increased state incentives for environmentally friendly businesses” and “more EU-wide policies” as Deutsche Welle (DW) reported. In addition, the charter declared that each year until 2050 will “see new concrete CO2 reduction plans,” by which time Germany would become entirely carbon-neutral. The United Nations General Assembly meets virtually this week and many nations are expected to announce new climate commitments.
Why This Matters: The question is whether this or any of the other moves this week will be sufficient to make the needed progress to reign in emissions to get back on track to meet the Paris targets. The German pact has been billed by many as a “historic compromise,” one which “cross[es] parties lines and helps businesses.” And, it represents the “first time the economics ministry of a major country has openly embraced policies suggested by groups like Fridays for Future,” climate change policy expert Miranda Schreuers told Deutsche Welle.
A Cross-Party Charter?
Certain groups lauded the proposal for reaching across party lines. But, as DW reported, “smaller parties were quick to point out flaws.” As Green Party’s Stephan Kühn declared in Parliament, “There are still completely the wrong priorities when it comes to infrastructure building.”
Others, particularly the pro-business Free Democratic Party, had other critiques. As Lukas Köhler wrote on Twitter (reported first by DW), “One suggestion: A little less dramatic language and a little more effective and efficient climate politics — then the FDP would happily work together.”
A Leader on Climate Change?
As Schreuers told DW, “Although Germany has been seen as a leader in climate protection policy, you could argue that Germany has really been crucial in putting on the brakes.” This policy could represent a step in the right direction. She says, “But now Germany is waking up to the reality that other parts of the world are already streets ahead of them.” According to EcoWatch, countries like China and Japan and US States like California are “all in the process of developing ambitious renewable energy systems that could leave the EU, and Germany with it, trailing behind.”
While this may be a good-faith proposal, others have also suggested that it could represent an “early start to the election campaign.” Based on the current political climate of Germany, the center-right Christian Democrats could be “setting themselves up for a new coalition partner– possibly the Greens,” as Schreuers said. This could be a potential step to work towards creating that coalition.
Whether or not this represents a political stepping stone, it is crucial that Germany works to actuate this proposal— and go even further to integrate business into the discourse and policies on climate change. As Antje von Broock from Friends of the Earth Germany told EcoWatch, “The only concrete measure in his plan is the idea of reforming CO2 pricing. And he could have done that in September 2019,” referring to when Germany “announced its climate package ahead of the EU’s Green New Deal.” According to von Broock, “What we need are serious social efforts, led by politicians who courageously initiate the necessary ecological and social transformation. It is therefore fundamentally to be welcomed that Minister Altmaier wants to bring the economy on board. However, the 20 points of his climate charter do not go far enough.”
There were certainly some positive climate commitments that came from the gathering of G7 leaders last week. Yet many experts and activists feel as if the richest nations in the world have room to be more ambitious and must lead the world in decarbonization. British environmentalist Sir David Attenborough had nothing but straight talk for […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer World leaders from the Group of 7 countries wrapped up their first post-pandemic in-person summit on Sunday, and the climate crisis was one of the primary agenda items. The heads of state from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Italy, and Japan (as well as the European Union) Agreed […]
The nation’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, created by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, has reached record lows (at only 36% full) in the face of a severe drought sweeping the western U.S. The reservoir supplies drinking water for 25 million people in Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, and more.
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.