• Wed. Nov 24th, 2021

A shade of dark green for the next German government

ByMary M. Ward

Aug 23, 2021

A shade of deep green for the next German government

German Social Democratic Party (SPD) candidate for chancellor Olaf Scholz, Berlin, Germany, May 9, 2021 (Reuters)

More than any other politician, German Chancellor Angela Merkel dominated the political landscape not only of post-war Germany but also of the EU, setting the tone for her country as well as the bloc for nearly two decades.
But as Merkel prepares to hang up her gloves and hand over to her successor in the Reichstag, a sort of political earthquake is underway. Barely a month away from the parliamentary elections, the center-right CDU of the German leader has lost a lot of ground against its traditional rival, the socialist party SPD, mainly due to the poor performance of Armin Laschet, Merkel’s successor to head of the CDU as well as his party’s candidate for chancellery.
In mid-April, according to opinion polls, support for the CDU-CSU alliance stood at 38%, more than double that of the two main rivals, the SPD and the Greens, both at 16. %. However, Laschet’s bland personality as well as past commentary saw that important and winning margin evaporate in four months. According to polls conducted on August 18, CDU-CSU approval was barely 24 percent, while support for the SPD climbed to 20 percent and the Greens to around 19 percent.
Laschet is also grossly underperforming in terms of who the Germans want to see as the new chancellor. While SPD candidate and German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz leads the polls with more than 22%, Laschet lags behind with 13%, tied with Greens candidate Annalena Baerbock.
The exact makeup of the next Reichstag as well as the name of who will replace Merkel as head of Germany is still a matter of conjecture, but one thing is almost certain is that for the first time in parliamentary history across the country, the Greens are going to have a presence in the national government and not just a minor role, but in fact one of the biggest partners. According to various polls, the chances of this happening are huge 81%. In almost all calculations, no government seems possible without the Greens being part of it.
If current opinion polls hold true on September 26, it will mark a major turning point in the German and European political landscape. Indeed, it would not be a stretch to compare the long-term implications for Germany and the EU to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism in 1989.
In many ways, this “green revolution” could not have come at a better or more opportune time. The arrival of the Greens as a strong partner in Europe’s largest economy will come weeks ahead of the key climate change meeting COP26, due to be held in Glasgow in November. It will also come weeks after the latest global warming warning issued by the UN-led Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
In the IPCC’s “code red” warning, scientists said that during this decade the rise in global temperatures is expected to exceed the limit of 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels beyond which the change. climate will be irreversible, with damaging results for billions of people.
So, the arrival of the Greens in government could be exactly what is needed to boost German, European and global efforts to reduce carbon and methane emissions, and for leaders to ensure that companies not only meet their targets. emission reduction targets, but also do their utmost. which is necessary to protect the environment.
The Greens have already defined their agenda. Last month, in a 10-point program detailing their climate commitment, they said the 2015 Paris climate agreement will be at the heart of all decisions made by the government. The Greens are proposing a climate ministry which, in an interesting and controversial way, will be able to veto any government decision that goes against the objectives of the Paris agreement.

If current opinion polls hold true on September 26, it will mark a major turning point in the German and European political landscape.

Ranvir S. Nayar

Other proposed measures include a significant increase in renewables in the German energy mix and the requirement for all new public buildings to have solar roofs. The Greens also want a faster phase-out of fossil fuels from the German economy, which means an end to coal burning and the sale of combustion engine vehicles by 2030, well ahead of other major global economies. These measures will help Germany reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030, compared to the target of 55% set by the current government.
Besides the phasing out of coal and gas from power generation, one of the most controversial measures proposed by the Greens is a speed limit of 130 km / h on all of the country’s highways. Although many German car enthusiasts strictly oppose such a move, the Greens justify their plan by saying that it will save nearly 2 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
While the German Greens will steer Germany towards a clean and green economy, they are also almost certain to push the EU to make tough decisions in order to show the world what it takes to reduce carbon emissions and avoid carbon. disaster.
Indeed, the party is also expected to put pressure on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and major economies to take action to ensure that it is not too much. late to save the earth.

  • Ranvir S. Nayar is editor-in-chief of Media India Group.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the authors of this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arab News


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