Germany’s Greens want climate ministry with veto powers

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Berlin (dpa) – Germany’s Greens made setting up a climate ministry with veto powers a key plank of their election platform as they presented the party’s programme on climate change in a nature conservation area to the north of Berlin on Tuesday.

As the country gears up for elections in September, Annalena Baerbock, the party’s candidate for chancellor, and party co-leader Robert Habeck, outlined a programme that places the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement at the focus.

The party, currently second in the polls on around 20 per cent support, aims to accelerate energy generation from renewables and bring forward the exit from coal-fired power stations to 2030 from the 2038 currently proposed.

Investment in rail, commuter public transport and cycling will be increased as early as the 2022 budget under the plans, entitled the “Immediate Programme” and contained in a seven-page document.

“So as not to lose any time, we aim to introduce immediately a comprehensive programme with concrete legislative initiatives that will unleash a new dynamism, achieve rapid savings and set major objectives,” the programme says.

A climate task force would be set up in the first 100 days and would meet once a week to coordinate and accelerate government decision-making.

With the conservative alliance of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) on close to 30 per cent and the Social Democrats (SPD) trailing on around 16 per cent, the Greens are likely partners in the next coalition.