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The Chancellor at the World Economic Forum in Davos

Climate action - a question of survival

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Chancellor Angela Merkel has underlined the need for more climate action. "We are called on to take action on climate policy." Time, she said, is of the essence, and the older generation must respond positively to the impatience of youth.

Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos. In Davos, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the older generation must respond positive to the "impatience of youth" Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler

The world must come together and act, but every country must do its bit, stressed Chancellor Angela Merkel in her speech on Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Germany has decided to end the use of nuclear power by 2022 and to end the use of coal to generate electric power no later than 2038, and if possible by 2035.

For this, however, new ways of creating value will be needed, and the increasingly important role of digitalisation must not be ignored, continued the Chancellor. That means no more greenhouse gas emissions, and where emissions are unavoidable they must be offset. We are talking here about "transformation on a gigantic historic scale," said Angela Merkel. Essentially, within the next 30 years, we are going to have to take leave of the whole way we have become used to living and working during the industrial era.

A call for dialogue

In this context the Chancellor warned of the risk of social conflicts that could be spawned by the fight against global warming. The people who deny climate change and those who see climate action as our top priority are not talking to one another. And she sees this with concern. We need dialogue to bridge the gap.

The older generations must respond positively and constructively to the "impatience of youth". Young people can expect to live for significantly longer – and time is of the essence.

Climate neutrality by 2050

The aim of making Europe climate neutral by 2050 will require a massive effort, said the Chancellor. Production processes, in the steel industry for instance, will have to be completely rethought. Green hydrogen will play a major part in this. It can better be produced outside Europe.

The Chancellor expressed her belief that cooperation with China on climate action offers vast opportunities. This is one of the major points on the agenda for the top-level EU-China summit planned for September in Germany. China is introducing an emissions trading scheme, which could link up to the European system. In addition to climate action, an agreement is also to be entered into with China to protect investments.

China is also extremely active in Africa, pointed out Angela Merkel. The EU and China could identify common yardsticks so that the African states can develop themselves. Alongside cooperation with China, closer cooperation with Africa is to be one of the priorities of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2020.

600 million euros for a global vaccination alliance

With a pledge of another 600 million euros for Gavi, the global vaccination alliance, the Chancellor underlined her message that we must bring stability and security to regions in the throes of crises. She pointed to countries like Syria and Iraq, and Africa’s Sahel zone. "Without security there can be no development. And, without development there can be no security."


Jan 23, 2020