Warning of the very “real” threat of climate change in her New Year’s message, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said “everything humanly possible” needs to be done to tackle this crisis for the sake of “our children and grandchildren.”
And she vowed to practice what she preached.
“The warming of our Earth is real. It is threatening,” Merkel said, according to a transcript of the address obtained by The Associated Press. “So we must do everything humanly possible to deal with this challenge for humanity. That is still possible.”
Merkel, who stressed humankind’s role in causing global temperatures to rise, acknowledged that she likely would not live long enough to witness the worst effects of global warming.
“It’s true that, at 65, I am at an age where I personally won’t experience all the consequences of climate change that would arise if politicians didn’t act,” she said. “It is our children and grandchildren who will have to live with the consequences of what we do or don’t do today.”
Merkel said, “I am putting all my energy into Germany making its contribution — ecologically, economically, socially — to getting a grip on climate change.”
The $60 billion climate policy package that her coalition government agreed upon in September was part of that effort, Merkel explained.
The German leader added that the package of measures provided the “necessary framework” to allow Germany to reach its climate goals. But she acknowledged the criticism the package has received ― both from those who say the measures are overreaching and others, including many climate experts, who have slammed the package as not going nearly far enough.
Merkel urged her nation to have the “courage” to think of new and innovative ways to address the challenges posed by climate change.
“We need more than ever the courage to think in a new way, the strength to leave familiar paths, the willingness to try new things, and the determination to act faster, convinced that the unusual can succeed ― and must succeed if the generation of today’s young people and their descendants should still be able to live well on this Earth,” she said.