Europe floods: 'German Greta' criticises politicians' 'almost hypocritical' short-term support and lack of long-term action on climate change

·3-min read

The climate activist known as the "German Greta" has accused her country's government of offering short-term support for flooding victims while failing on long-term climate change prevention.

Luisa Neubauer said what frustrates many people is that "the government is willing to support [those in need due to flooding] in the short term, while long-term measures, meaning effective climate action, meaning effective prevention, is not something that is being discussed".

"And that is, in a sense, almost hypocritical," she added.

The 25-year-old rose to prominence in 2019 as one of the main organisers of global climate change school strikes.

Germany has ratified the Paris Agreement which commits to slashing greenhouse gas emissions and has agreed to try to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. But the "Greta of Germany" says action has not met rhetoric.

Ms Neubauer suggested German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other other members of the government were "really happy and enthusiastic when it comes to talking about what they want to do in order to protect us from the climate breakdown".

"Yet when it comes to action, we see that effectively the government is working towards a three, four, five degrees warmer world instead of sticking to 1.5C pledges," she said.

This is the second major accusation of hypocrisy levelled at the German government today. Earlier, some called it out for considering gas extraction in the Arctic while complaining of climate change impacts in the form of this week's catastrophic flooding, which has killed more than 120 people and devastated homes.

The activist called for measures including a commitment to phase out coal power plants by 2030 rather than 2038, an end to all new fossil fuel infrastructure including the new gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, reconsidering whether new large roads are needed and incentivising the shift from combustion engines towards electrification.

"So there are a million things that need to be done, there are great plans provided by think tanks and economists and institutions. And it's time for the government really to listen to the science there," said Ms Neubauer.

"We will pressure them for drastic measures, for political consequences coming from this catastrophe."

Meanwhile, Ms Merkel expressed her sorrow over the loss of life during a news conference with US President Joe Biden in Washington on Thursday and vowed to support families.

"I grieve for those who have lost their lives in this disaster," said Ms Merkel, who has promised help for communities.

"We still don't know the number, but it will be many. The full extent of this tragedy will only be seen in the coming days."

Sky News has launched the first daily prime time news show dedicated to climate change.

The Daily Climate Show is broadcast at 6.30pm and 9.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.

Hosted by Anna Jones, it follows Sky News correspondents as they investigate how global warming is changing our landscape and how we all live our lives.

The show also highlights solutions to the crisis and how small changes can make a big difference.

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