Germany’s Greens presented an “emergency climate protection programme” on Tuesday, aiming to reset their national election campaign after squandering an early surge in opinion polls with a raft of mistakes.
The programme includes plans for a new Ministry for Climate Protection that would ensure no legislative project undermines a goal of limiting global warming under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The ministry would lead a government Climate Task Force that would convene every week for the first 100 days of the next government, and would have a veto right over other ministries should draft legislation not be compliant with the Paris accord.
The Greens candidate for chancellor, Annalena Baerbock, said last month’s floods in Germany – the most devastating in 60 years – showed climate change is a pressing issue that the next government will need to tackle urgently.
“The climate crisis is not something abstract but is happening right here among us, and we must now do everything we can to get to grips with it,” she told journalists, standing alongside Greens co-leader Robert Habeck.
The ecologists briefly surged in the polls to overtake Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc after they named Annalena Baerbock as their chancellor candidate in April, but they have since lost support.
A scandal over a Christmas bonus payment that Baerbock failed to declare to parliament, and a suggestion that Germany should arm Ukraine have hurt the Greens, who now trail the conservatives by 5-10 points.
Baerbock has also said sexist scrutiny is holding her back.
Her best shot of becoming chancellor would be to lead a coalition with the left-leaning Social Democrats and the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP).
Merkel, in power since 2005, plans to stand down after the Sept. 26 election.