Merkel pressured by party on climate change measures

Top Christian Democrats in the Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony state governments are pressuring Chancellor Angela Merkel to help relax European carbon dioxide reduction goals.

Merkel pressured by party on climate change measures

The demand, encapsulated in a joint letter to the chancellor, will be seen as a reminder of the power of her party, and the fact that it is gearing up to fight an election next year against Merkel’s coalition partners, the Social Democrats.

Horst Seehofer, Bavarian minister president, told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, “The CO2 reduction goals on the EU level must be set so that jobs are not endangered.”

He said the steps to reduce emissions after 2012 should be made smaller, because the car industry in particular needed greater wriggle room.

“And the cruel fine regime must be removed,” he added.

Lower Saxony minister president Christian Wulff recently called for the entire EU climate protection packet to be delayed. His North Rhine-Westphalia counterpart, Jürgen Rüttgers, has called for the packet to be diluted.

Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, of the Social Democrats, said Merkel should take tighter control of her party. “It is amazing how backwards the Union is when talking about climate change. Sometimes one has the impression that the chancellor should go to Düsseldorf and Hanover more often rather than Washington, in order to explain how climate protection can create jobs.”

He said he wanted to keep to the European climate change packet, adding that there should be no exceptions or delays.