On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a $60 billion climate package to reduce Earth-warming carbon emissions and speed up Germany's transition to renewable energy over the next four years.
Merkel said at a press conference that the country was falling short of its initial goal in 2017 to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2020. It aims to reduce them by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030.
The country plans to add10 million electric cars to the roads, as well as cutting sales tax on rail tickets, replacing oil-fired central heating systems, implementing tax increases on flights, and introducing a carbon emissions pricing system.
Previously an environment minister at the UN's first climate conference in 1995, Merkel plans to inform fellow world leaders of the country’s position regarding a long-term goal of cutting emissions to net-zero by 2050 at a UN summit in New York on Monday.
Despite the government’s aim to fight global warming and transform the country, Ottmar Edenhofer, one of Merkel's top climate advisers and head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has criticized the proposal, saying that it will not hit its 2030 goal. Although the German government has passed the $60 billion-dollar climate policy package, Merkel admitted that the plan to achieve the 2030 target and the long-term goal is not guaranteed.
The country has been a long-time leader on environmental protection issues, but it has fallen behind due to high emissions in the transport sector.
In the meantime, German students have hit the streets over the weekend to get their voices heard. Local police claimed that around 100,00 people rallied in Berlin alone, although organizers reportedly claimed that 1.4 million Germans protested.
According to a poll conducted by Germany’s ARD TV, 24% of voters said that the government should prioritize economic growth while 63% chose climate protection.