Angela Merkel has conceded Germany’s record on reducing carbon emissions was “not sufficient” to meet the global warming targets of the Paris climate agreement, as the chancellor reflected on the achievements and missed opportunities of her 16-year leadership.
Speaking at the last of her annual summer press conferences on Thursday before stepping down as leader of Europe’s largest economy after federal elections on 26 September, Merkel said Germany “has done a lot” to recalibrate its economy in the face of the climate crisis, increasing the share of renewables in its energy mix from 10% to 40%, and lowering carbon emission by 20% in the period from 1990 to 2010, and by another 20% in the 10 years since.
The 67-year-old nonetheless conceded that “what has been achieved is not sufficient” when measured against the Paris agreement’s target to limit global warming to well below 2C, preferably to 1.5C, compared with pre-industrial levels. Not just Germany, but the whole world had failed to meet its targets, she said.
“I am equipped with sufficient sense for science to see that objective circumstances demand that we can’t continue at the current pace but have to up the tempo,” Merkel said.