The frontrunner to succeed Angela Merkel as German Chancellor warned the EU that joint greenhouse gas targets should not come at the cost of diminishing the dexterity of German industry, indicating a reluctance to join the reduction schemes carbon plans in other European countries.
“Europe has to modernize: we have to implement the Green Deal together, but still remain successful with our industries,” Armin Laschet, head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told The Guardian in an interview.
“That is the part that they do not say so strongly in Brussels, but it is what we hope in Germany: that we do everything possible to modernize our industries. There are many member states that are no longer industrialized economies. But we, and a couple of other people, want to continue like this. “
Laschet, whose conservative party appears certain to play the indispensable and dominant role in Germany’s next coalition government after the Sept. 26 elections, says he is committed to Germany achieving climate neutrality by 2045.
But the 60-year-old is convinced that the country under his leadership would meet its goals by focusing on technological innovation and market incentives, rather than restrictions on consumer behavior, such as higher taxes on air travel or a ban. of combustion engines.
“A lot can be done with technological innovation and market media,” Laschet said. “The European Union’s CO2 emissions trading system, for example, has proven its worth.
“Adjusting our steel industry and our chemical industry to become climate neutral will mean a huge reduction in emissions, something that history has never seen before. So I think it can be done without preaching abstinence or banning. As a society, we have the technological means to become climate neutral and remain an industrial nation. “
Scientists wonder if technological research can generate groundbreaking innovations over the next decade. Work on “negative emissions” technology – sucking CO2 out of the air to offset ongoing emissions – has yet to produce a breakthrough, for example.
Unlike countries like the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium, Germany has yet to commit to a specific date to phase out gasoline or diesel passenger cars.
Germany began shutting down black coal plants in 2020 and vowed to abandon coal power entirely by 2038, a move that Laschet, the son of a miner, said will “likely lead to the largest CO2 reduction since the beginning of the industrial age “.
“The end of the era of fossil fuels is a great effort. Of course, Europeans could eat less meat and it would probably be healthier. But ultimately, climate change can only be solved globally, ”he said.
Laschet opposes German Green Party proposals for state action against budget offers on air travel or a ban on short-haul flights that could be covered by train travel, as is being introduced in Austria and France.
Instead, he proposes that a revision of Germany’s planning and approval laws could lead to an expansion of the rail network that would incentivize more people to travel by train rather than by plane.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism