Climate change focuses the electoral campaign for the September general elections
Recent floods that swept through large regions in western Germany and the latest worrying United Nations report on global warming have made climate change a central issue in Germany’s legislative elections at the end of next month. So much so that the federal government and the executives of the 16 federal states agreed today a gigantic aid fund of 30,000 million euros for the victims of the floods and to prevent similar catastrophes in the future. Conservatives and Social Democrats, who form the grand coalition, want that financial package to be resolved before the elections, for which their parliamentary groups have called an extraordinary session of the Bundestag, the federal parliament, on August 25. The bill will be approved in the second and third reading at the latest in early September by the lower house and immediately afterwards receive the approval of the Bundesrat, the upper house or the ‘Länder’. All before the general elections on September 26.
The ‘2021 reconstruction aid’ agreed by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and the prime ministers of the German federal states, will be half funded by the central government and regional executives. The contribution of the federated states will be harvested through an adaptation in the distribution of income from the value added tax over the next 30 years. The floods and flash floods in mid-July mainly affected the western federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, causing more than 200 deaths and extensive material damage. The prime minister of the second state and candidate of the conservatives to the head of the federal government, Armin Laschet, pointed out that the damage caused in his region by the natural catastrophe amounts to at least 13,000 million euros. Those suffered by Rhineland-Palatinate, where 75% of the total deaths were recorded in the Ahr valley, a tributary of the Rhine, were at least as large.
“We must start with the aid right now,” Laschet had said shortly before the meeting, that in his visits to the catastrophic areas he had been booed by the victims due to the lack of support and whose popularity has since been at a minimum when the campaign electoral has only just begun. With the fund, up to 50% of personal losses will be financed for those individuals or families without insurance, it will help to rebuild homes and industries, measures will be taken to avoid business bankruptcies and road and rail infrastructures will be repaired, but also Preventive measures will be taken such as the redirection of rivers or the creation of floodplains to discharge regions at risk from future floods, which the UN report assures will inevitably take place in the face of climate change. New alarm systems will also be put in place to alert the population of possible natural disasters.
The greens, second force
Meanwhile, the floods and the United Nations report give wings to the Greens in Germany, where they are confirmed as the second force behind the conservatives before the next elections, according to all the polls. And the other parties, with the exception of the extreme rightists of the Alternative for Germany, who consider climate change a bluff, now defend environmentalist positions that were unthinkable until recently. Just before the UN document was made public, the German Minister of Research and Science, the Christian Democrat Anja Karliczek, defended the end of inter-German flights and the promotion of the railroad as a contribution for this country to achieve its climate goals.