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CDU politician: Former Federal Environment Minister Klaus Töpfer dies

CDU politician: Former Federal Environment Minister Klaus Töpfer dies

He was considered the “green conscience” of the CDU and campaigned for sustainable policies well into old age. Now the former Environment Minister Klaus Töpfer has died at the age of 85.

The former Federal Environment Minister and CDU politician Klaus Töpfer has died. He died on Saturday after a short, serious illness, as a spokeswoman for the Federal CDU confirmed. Töpfer was 85 years old.

He was Germany’s second environment minister – but the first to have a lasting impact on the office. For decades, Klaus Töpfer was considered the “green conscience” of the Christian Democrats, and even into old age he never tired of calling for sustainable policies. The newspapers “Neue Westfälische” and “Westfalen-Blatt” had previously reported on Töpfer’s death.

Töpfer became famous, among other things, for a courageous jump from a police boat into the Rhine in 1988 – the reason was a lost bet, as he repeatedly said. A year earlier, he had succeeded Walter Wallmann as Minister for the Environment. Töpfer remained in office until 1994 – when he was replaced by the future Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU).

As early as 1988, Töpfer called for a future without nuclear energy

The Chernobyl nuclear disaster in April 1986 prompted the government of then Chancellor Helmut Kohl (CDU) to combine environmental issues and the area of ​​reactor safety in a separate ministry. As early as 1988, Töpfer called for a future without nuclear energy, but also with ever fewer fossil fuels.

Töpfer was born in Silesia in 1938 and came to Höxter in Westphalia after the Second World War. Töpfer entered politics in the 1970s in Saarland, where he took a position in the State Chancellery. He later became State Secretary in Rhineland-Palatinate and then State Minister for the Environment and Health before moving into federal politics. Töpfer later ran unsuccessfully twice as the CDU’s top candidate in the Saarland state elections.

Even after he left office as Federal Environment Minister, environmental protection and sustainability – including social issues – remained his topics. In 1996, Töpfer represented Germany at the UN Habitat Conference in Istanbul. The focus there was on the quality of life in cities and thus also on the issues of poverty and the environment. From 1998 to 2006, Töpfer was director of the United Nations Environment Programme. Most recently, he lived with his wife in Höxter in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Source: Stern

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