Climate protection is “a task for mankind”, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a speech in the Bundestag (federal parliament) on Wednesday.
“Climate protection will cost money. This money is well invested. If we ignore it, it will cost us more,” she said. Moreover, “doing nothing is not an alternative.”
“We should not play off national against international climate protection” as this would not spare Germany’s own “domestic effort,” warned Merkel.
As a large industrial country, Germany needs to assume responsibility for its ecological footprint and “take reliable precautions to ensure that we meet our climate targets for 2030,” she said.
The German government is focusing on innovation, research and good technical solutions, as well as on the “mechanisms of the social market economy” in responding to climate change, Merkel noted.
In this context, the chancellor called for the revenues from a carbon dioxide (CO2) price to be paid back to citizens.
Referring to the upcoming climate cabinet meeting on Sept. 20, where decisions would be taken on strengthening Germany’s climate protection measures, Merkel stressed that it represented a “tremendous feat of strength.”
In order to promote the expansion of renewable energies, Merkel stressed that municipalities near which wind turbines were being built would have to share in the profits.
“We must prevent a kind of arrogance on the part of those who live in the city and those who live in the countryside. We need to create a new alliance of town and countryside,” noted Merkel.
Climate protection and digitization were the most important tasks for the future, emphasized Merkel, noting that coping with these two tasks would be crucial to maintaining Germany’s prosperity.
At the same time, Germany needs to become “faster” on future technologies, such as artificial intelligence, she noted.
Moreover, the European Union (EU) as a whole needs “to get back to global technological standards” in areas such as the manufacturing of chips or battery cell production, noted Merkel.