Brussels (Brussels Morning) German Chancellor Angela Merkel has issued a call saying the world needs to speed up the fight against climate change. She pointed out that Germany and other countries have not done enough to achieve the Paris climate accord target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Speaking to reporters in Germany, Merkel noted that “we shouldn’t pretend we haven’t done anything”, while admitting that not enough has been done to stay as close to the 1.5-degree limit as possible.
Merkel’s statements come as Germany is assessing the damage and cost of the unprecedented series of devastating floods that have taken 177 lives so far, with scientists warning that such disruptions could become ever more frequent as global climate patterns change due to rising temperatures.
The Chancellor of 16 years, who is not seeking another term in September’s federal election, noted that society is facing a profound transformation, as European governments scramble to reach the goal of complete carbon neutrality in the coming years.
Merkel defended her decision to end the use of nuclear power in Germany, which, at the time she made, it drew serious criticism from experts claiming full carbon neutrality goal would be much more difficult to reach without nuclear power.
She conceded that other countries, which had opted not to abandon nuclear power, would have a somewhat easier time in achieving carbon neutrality. However, she reiterated her firm belief that nuclear power does not offer a long-term, sustainable form of energy production.
The German phase-out of its nuclear plants increased the country’s use of coal power, significantly, raising its carbon footprint, but Merkel pledged to end coal use by 2038, and said carbon neutrality could in any case only be achieved by expanding the use of renewable energy.