In Summary
  • Berlin was likely to pledge some 40 billion euros (USD44 billion) over four years.
  • A bone of contention remained how to price the emission of climate-killer CO2 into economic activity.
  • Export powerhouse Germany accounts for around two percent of the worldwide emissions.

Berlin

Feeling the heat from a vocal climate protest movement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government plans Friday to unveil a multi-billion-euro grand plan for tackling global warming.

Days before a UN climate summit in New York, Merkel's team was due to announce details as the top EU economy, once a green energy pioneer, is bound to miss its 2020 carbon reduction targets.

Political parties were still haggling over the details early in the week, but Berlin was likely to pledge some 40 billion euros (USD44 billion) over four years, newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Measures proposed by Merkel's CDU party include boosting public transport services, making train travel cheaper and flying more expensive, and raising subsidies for cleaner cars and home heating systems.

A bone of contention remained how to price the emission of climate-killer CO2 into economic activity – either through a carbon tax or the trading of emissions permits, the option favoured by Merkel.

"Climate protection is a challenge for humankind," she said in her latest weekly podcast.

"We can see that climate change is already a reality. In the past 50 years, storms, heat waves and floods have also tripled in Germany.

"Germany is an industrialised country. In recent decades we have emitted a great deal of CO2 and thus contributed to global warming."

BLISTERING SUMMER

At the end of Germany's second blistering summer in a row, as fear of climate change has energised especially young voters, the mainstream parties are struggling to catch up on the hot-button issue.

Merkel's government will announce its plan on the day expected to see the biggest international wave of climate strikes yet by the Fridays for Future movement and the hundreds of civic groups that support it.

"We are heading for a life-destroying crisis and so far nothing has happened," said Linus Steinmetz of the student movement launched last year by Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg.

"That's why we're raising the pressure – together we're strong."

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