Germany commits €100bn for climate amidst protests

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures at a news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (not pictured) in the German Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi - RC1E3F6C9DF0

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Friday a sweeping climate protection plan worth at least 100 billion euros by 2030, as hundreds of thousands protested for action against global warming.

Merkel’s coalition government, after marathon overnight talks, sealed a deal to tackle emissions in the energy and industrial sectors, boost zero tailpipe emission electric vehicles, and get passengers out of planes and onto trains.

Emission trading will discourage fossil fuel use, 86 billion euros will be ploughed into railway infrastructure, and cities will test 365-euro annual tickets for public transport.

By 2030 “a three-digit billion euro figure will be made available for climate protection and the energy transition,” said a summary of the sweeping package.

The government, which has faced international pressure to invest its huge annual budget surpluses, said the extra spending will help to “support the economy” without affecting its plans to keep the budget balanced.

In the biggest global wave to date of the Fridays for Future climate strikes started by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, protest action was held in 575 sites across Germany.

Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz admitted at a press conference that “Friday for Futures jolted us into action”.

Merkel too noted that “if there is something that impressed me, then I have to say as a scientist that it is when Greta Thunberg said ‘unite behind the science’.”

Environmental groups, however, ripped into the climate plan.

(AFP)

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