Environment Ministry unveils 4 billion-euro climate protection investment

Environment Ministry unveils 4 billion-euro climate protection investment

German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke announced on March 29 that the German government would be making a huge 4 billion-euro investment into “natural climate protection”. Environmental groups have welcomed the announcement, but some German farmers are less enthusiastic. 

Plan hopes to improve and protect biodiversity

The plan unveiled by the government is aiming to strengthen biodiversity in Germany and to combat the effects of climate change felt by the country. In the past years, extreme weather has made the need to tackle climate change more urgent, with the government outlining five focus areas to tackle with the plans. 

According to the Environment Minister, intact wetlands are to be given protection and wetlands that have already been drained are to be restored by increasing groundwater levels. Rivers, lakes, ponds and floodplains will also be given protection, as Minister Lemke has stressed the importance of these areas since they "provide a great deal of biodiversity".

Minister Lemke has also expressed intent to expand on protected ecological areas such as forests and wilderness areas and has pushed for government-owned beech forests (thought to be an effective carbon sink) to no longer be cut down. The new plans, which stretch across German cities as well as the countryside, will see as many as 150.000 trees planted in inner-city areas across the country. 

Farmers in Germany are not happy with the new plans

While environmental groups have praised the new plans, German farmers are less content. Farmers currently use as much as 92 percent of the country’s wetlands for agricultural purposes. Joachim Rukwied, president of the German Farmers' Association, said, "Alternative income opportunities have to be created so the land can continue to be used."

Road builders are also said to be unhappy with the plans, especially given that the proposed A20 coastal motorway, running through several federal states, is also planned to run through a large section of wetlands. It is now unclear as to whether the road plans will go ahead. 



Emily Proctor

Former Editor at IamExpat Media.

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