Angela Merkel called for swift and decisive action to tackle climate change in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and said living up to the goals of the Paris agreement could be a matter of “survival.”
“I am convinced that the price of inaction would be far higher than the price of action,” the German chancellor said Thursday, adding that she has confidence that the global community will achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
The question of whether the world can live up to the goals of the Paris climate agreement “may well be one of survival,” she said, adding that rich countries have an “obligation to do more.”
Merkel also took a very different line than Donald Trump on young climate activists such as Greta Thunberg. The U.S. president on Tuesday dismissed environmental campaigners as “perennial prophets of doom,” but Merkel said “the impatience of our young people is something we ought to tap.”
The chancellor also addressed her domestic issues when it comes to climate and the environment.
“In Germany, too, we have a huge group of people who don’t think this is urgent,” she said, explaining that decisions to phase out both nuclear energy and coal have led to high electricity prices.
Merkel also pointed out a growing divide between cities and rural areas. “Individual mobility is something city dwellers are in a better position to abandon than people in rural areas,” she said.
The chancellor repeatedly said that international cooperation is required if anything is to be achieved. Pointing at the “tremendous progress” made since the World Economic Forum was set up in the early 1970s, she said nothing could have been done if it had not been for cooperation.
“I agree with the secretary-general of the United Nations,” she said. “We are embarking on the decade of action.”