Steffi Lemke was in Brussels for the first time on Monday (20/12/12), during a meeting at the EUs Environment Council. Patrick Graichen, a high-ranking public official, joined her to discuss the EUs Climate Package.
The division of labor highlights the new structure in Germany’s government, where the Green party holds three ministerial positions.
Alongside the environment ministry headed by left-wing Steffi Lemke, the Greens placed Cem zdemir at the helm of the agriculture ministry, while vice-chancellor Robert Habeck supervises Germany’s position on the economy, energy and climate change.
Lemke stated in Brussels that her portfolio will be focused on forest protection and mitigating social impacts of high energy prices and green transition.
Lemke informed journalists that forest protection is essential for achieving biodiversity targets and climate protection targets. She spoke to journalists before her first ministerial meeting in Brussels on December 20th.
Lemke says that the climate and biodiversity crises must be addressed together. Both crises need to be solved. She said that no one benefits from playing one against another, but she did recognize the need to resolve both crises.Environmental issues can be created by the expansion of renewable energy sources. It is possible, though not always without conflicts.
Lemke is positive that they can be managed. She explained that wind turbines could be permitted in areas of woodland that have been burned or in monoculture forests. Sddeutsche ZeitungAs reported by CLEW.
Meanwhile on agriculture, Lemke took a prudent approach, apparently mindful not to step on Cem zdemir’s toes.
“We also know that industrial agriculture is the greatest threat to biodiversity, she said, adding immediately that nobody would say: then we will stop doing agriculture.
Lemke states that CO2 storage in functioning ecosystems can be another example of combining nature protection and climate change.We will renaturalize peatland, create natural forests, store water as a precaution to droughts, and protect and strengthen biodiversity.
Climate policy is vice-chancellor’s responsibility
But as climate is no longer a competence assigned to her ministry, Lemke was accompanied by Habecks top-level public official, Patrick Graichen, for discussions on the EUs legislative climate proposals, the so-called ‘Fit for 55’ package.
The former chief of Agora Energiewende was able to confirm his role as the point man for climate negotiations in Brussels. He reiterated many of the positions he held.
The seamless transition from think tank chief to top-ranking public official is a testament to his success. Summer readingThe new government, published August 2021 by Agora Energiewende, deserves a second glance.
The new federal government is charged with shaping the future. [Fit for 55]The think-tank said that dossiers should be positioned in an ambitious way to ensure they provide fast and effective climate protection.
Graichens views appear to have remained largely unchanged. He stated that his point of view was that it was important that we quickly plan for climate protection.We should therefore make as much progress as possible in the negotiations on the ‘Fit for 55’ dossiers in the coming six months.
He also enumerated Germany’s four core priorities for the upcoming negotiations over the bloc’s climate laws.
- First, a strong commitment to the EU’s carbon market, the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for which he proposed a minimum price of 60 per tonne. He also stated that Germany supports the creation a separate ETS road transport system and ETS buildings. “We certainly do support the extension and beefing up of the ETS system,” he said.
- Secondly, he emphasised German concerns about the bloc’s proposed carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM). The current proposal does not provide a solution for exports, he explained, while stressing the scheme’s necessary compatibility with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
- Thirdly, ensuring that the transition away from fossil fuels is “fair and social” will be paramount for the success of ‘Fit for 55’.
- Fourth, “we need the personal vehicles regulation to be concluded,” he said, noting that Germany was aiming for one third of its vehicle fleet to be electric by 2030.
Germany “will be negoatiating along these lines,” Graichen said.
[Edited by Frdric Simon]