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Germany: Economists and activists call for climate fund

September 13, 2022

Economists, scientists and environmental campaigners have said that Berlin should take its inflation-driven tax revenues and invest it in the country's environmentally-friendly future.

From right to left: Volker Quaschning, Marcel Fratzscher, Annika Rittmann, and Luisa Neubauer
Leading German economists and activists are urging more public financial expenditures to fight climate change Image: Annette Riedl/dpa/picture alliance

Economists, scientists and environmental campaigners came together in Berlin on Tuesday to demand Germany earmark €100 billion ($100 billion) for a climate change fund. 

Marcel Fratzscher, the president of the German Institute for Economic Research, said the money is needed partly because of Germany's failure to invest enough in solar and wind power. Adequate funding would have made the country less dependent on fossil fuel imports that are now contributing to energy poverty, Fratzscher said.

"These mistakes need to be corrected now,'' he told journalists. 

The Fridays for Future youth movement, which is helping to coordinate a global climate protest planned for next week, also supported the idea. Prominent member Luisa Neubauer said that Berlin could take a cue from Washington, where President Joe Biden recently signed a bill setting aside $375 billion in federal investments to fight climate change over the coming decade.

Facing climate change in a small German village

Inflation-boosted tax revenue could finance fund

Fratzscher suggested that additional tax revenue that the German government is receiving because of rampant inflation could go toward the fund, which would echo a similar financial vehicle the government recently created to boost the military. Treasury coffers already were up €29 billion in the first half of the year, he said.

Volker Quaschning, a prominent climate scientist at Berlin's University of Applied Sciences for Engineering and Economics, said the idea was a good start. However, he pointed out, €100 billion was only a fraction of the total sum required to transform Germany into a low-carbon economy and make the country resilient to the impacts of global warming.

Quaschning added that part of the money would have to go to developing countries, whose resources had been exploited by the West and now needed help in making their economies and infrastructures resistant to the problems climate change will bring. He pointed to the recent floods in Pakistan as an example.

es/wd (AP, AFP)

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