Germany’s climate protection policies drawn up during full employment won’t survive the looming economic disaster.
Angela Merkel once again gave the ‘Climate Chancellor’ for a day. At the Petersberg Climate Dialogue she asked, via video, to keep a close eye on climate targets. But of course everyone knows that the topic has slipped far behind on the Chancellor’s list of priorities.
First, the coronavirus pandemic needs to be contained. Then the economy is facing the greatest recession – probably ever. And finally, there are the small matters such as school openings and the revitalisation of social and cultural life. Even the biggest loners are currently realising that they aren’t hermits.
Virologists have long since outclassed climate scientists. You can hardly hear anything from Greta. Her claim that the youth was stolen from her can easily be transferred to the pandemic. This is the fate millions of children face. This time, however, it is not about a single Swedish teenager who is on a sabbatical, but about millions of children who do not want to lose out in lockdown and homeschooling.
It is hard to imagine that in this unprecedented economic crisis companies will be burdened further. Those who continue to demand pricing of CO2 emissions will intensify the recession and torpedo the planned stimulus package. The shutdown gives us an impression of what deindustrialization means. The aim now is to prevent mass unemployment and not to make the social explosion even bigger.
Cynics and some climate researchers can certainly benefit from the pandemic. The short-term climate goals are achieved. But at what price! The Chancellor, of course, knows all of this. She also no longer has to hit the targets. But at some point she will have to explain that the climate plans drawn up during full employment are no longer viable.