Bonn 3000 climate experts are meeting in Bonn from today. It is the first UN climate conference since the start of the global Fridays-for-Future protests. The German government had previously committed to the goal of a greenhouse gas neutral EU.
Before the start of the ten-day UN climate conference in Bonn, the German government has also committed itself to the ambitious climate targets that French President Emmanuel Macron is striving for in Europe. Germany now wants to officially support the goal of a greenhouse gas neutral EU by 2050, the Süddeutsche Zeitung quoted from a statement by the German government to the European Council. This will be discussed at the EU summit this coming Thursday and Friday.
As recently as May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), unlike other EU states, had still not joined Macron’s initiative on this issue at the EU special summit in Sibiu, Romania. However, the pressure on Germany to join the initiative has now grown – especially as the first UN climate conference since the start of the global Fridays-for-Future protests is starting in its own country on Monday. 3000 experts are expected for this in Bonn. They are to prepare for the next world climate summit in Santiago de Chile in December. If global warming cannot be halted, the planet will be three degrees warmer by the end of the century, with fatal consequences for Germany and Europe too, such as more frequent heat waves, longer periods of drought, more storms, torrential rain and floods.
Merkel recently stated that she was also striving for the goal of a CO2-free EU by 2050, but that the way of achieving this still had to be discussed. At the EU summit, a long-term EU strategy for climate protection is to be discussed. With Germany’s new stance, the chances of achieving more ambitious goals should increase. However, some East European countries in particular have so far remained cautious. The target does not mean that there should be no more CO2 emissions by 2050. However, they must be offset by other measures, such as reforestation.
Meanwhile, UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa has shown support for the Fridays for Future protest movement. “We welcome their inspiring voices as part of our overall efforts to limit the global warming to 1.5 degrees,” said the former foreign minister of Mexico. One should never forget that it is young people in particular who can change the world.
According to Klaus Müller, the head of the Federal Association of Consumer Organisations (vzbv), the majority of consumers in Germany are prepared for changes in their lifestyle. These include the gradual increase in prices for petrol or heating oil in return for relief in other areas. “The pricing of CO2 must begin in small steps and be extremely reliable,” Müller told our editorial staff.
“From a consumer protection perspective, it is crucial that the money goes back to the people and neither remains in the national budget nor is distributed to companies.” Müller proposed a “three basket model.” “The first basket, which is the largest part of the revenue from CO2 pricing, must be paid back directly to citizens in the form of per capita cheques,” said Müller. The second part is compensation for low-income households and the rural population, who frequently have to drive a car and so would be disproportionately affected by the CO2 price. “Thirdly, we must invest much more money in buses and local and long distance rail transport.”
The Greens announced over the weekend that they would establish their own state fund for German climate policies.
(Original text: Birgit Marshall. Translation: kc)