Merkel pledges to make Germany carbon neutral by 2050

BERLIN, May 14 (Xinhua/APP):The German government’s climate cabinet has been holding “intense discussions” about the country’s path towards climate neutrality by 2050, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue here on Tuesday.
“The discussion should not be about whether we can achieve it, but about how we can achieve it,” said Merkel.
This would not mean that Germany no longer emits greenhouse gases but that the emissions should be offset by afforestation or other carbon storage methods.
Renewable energies also make an important contribution to reducing harmful emissions, and Merkel noted that “more than every third kilowatt hour” of electricity in Germany already came from wind, hydro or solar energy.
Germany’s plan to phase out of coal by 2038 represents a “feat of strength,” said Merkel, but one for which “we must gain social acceptance.”
The German chancellor said her cabinet is scheduled to decide next week the key elements of the structural change in the affected coal regions, which would include billions of euros in aid.
Merkel also recalled a climate initiative by nine European Union (EU) countries aimed at making the bloc climate neutral by 2050. The initiative is led by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Merkel said that if her government’s climate cabinet could find a “reasonable answer,” then Germany could join the initiative. “I would like us to be able to do that,” she said.
Last week, the environment ministers of Germany’s federal states had already called on the federal government to support the goal of a climate neutral EU by 2050.
Speaking on Tuesday, Merkel called for a joint international effort by all states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She praised the expansion of renewable energies, for example in China.
The industrialized countries hold special responsibility in the climate debate, said Merkel, because they had “set the course for the world to be in such a difficult situation.”
On the sidelines of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue event, Greenpeace activists were protesting against the German government’s climate policy in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
The activists put up large ice blocks forming letters, which spelled out “Last Exit.” Greenpeace demonstrators held a banner saying “Mrs. Merkel, coal withdrawal can only be the beginning” next to the ice blocks.
According to Greenpeace, while Merkel had launched the Petersberg Climate Dialogue ten years ago to give impetus to international climate protection, Germany’s credibility in climate issues has “suffered greatly” in recent times.
“The world has ten years to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” said Greenpeace climate expert Lisa Goeldner.
“Chancellor Merkel must finally get Germany out of a dead end in climate protection. The climate protection law is the last exit,” Goeldner emphasized.
The Petersberg Climate Dialogue brought together ministers and negotiators from around 35 countries for informal talks in Berlin on Monday and Tuesday.
The dialogue was led by German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze together with her Chilean counterpart, Carolina Schmidt.
“To date, the Petersberg Climate Dialogue has contributed to building trust and creating space for constructive discussions. The meetings thus helped to prepare the ground for the major steps and decisions,” said Schulze.