Fight against climate change endangered by right-wing populists

Fight against climate change endangered by right-wing populists

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. However, the parties that benefited most from the European elections were those with a critical stance on the issue. The head of the Federal Environment Agency is concerned.

According to the President of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), Dirk Messner, right-wing populists and autocratic governments are endangering the fight against global warming worldwide. A shift to the right in Europe, a new presidency of Republican Donald Trump in the USA and an authoritarian government in China are “not a world in which we can really implement climate neutrality and strengthen our ecological and economic performance,” he said in an interview with the German Press Agency.

In order to contain the climate crisis and move forward well into the future, global cooperation, the stabilization of the world order and its further development are of fundamental importance. In order to achieve climate neutrality worldwide, a systemic change must be carried out, he warned. “This is not just about individual limits, incentives or bans, but about restructuring sectoral framework conditions in order to align the economy and consumption patterns towards sustainability.”

UBA boss: “90 percent believe climate neutrality is necessary”

At the 2015 World Climate Conference in Paris, around 200 countries agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times. To achieve this, emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases must be reduced by more than 40 percent by 2030. The earth has already warmed by a good 1.1 degrees, and Germany has already warmed by 1.6 degrees.

Messner stressed that the UBA basically works with all democratically elected parties. “Some are very critical of our issues,” he added. The UBA can learn from this criticism. However, if the basic democratic consensus is undermined, cooperation becomes difficult. In the European elections on Sunday, the right-wing AfD became the strongest force in East Germany.

Messner said that, as in politics, there are also people among Germany’s citizens who deny climate change and its effects. “But the majority, around 90 percent, believe that a transformation to climate neutrality is urgently needed and important, even in the tight time frame. And this number has remained fairly stable for around 15 years.”

Also in order to engage in dialogue with a wide variety of people, the Federal Environment Agency is planning a community festival at its headquarters in Dessau-Roßlau in Anhalt on the occasion of its 50th birthday next Saturday (15 June).

Source: Stern

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