Angela Merkel Issues Stark Warning on ‘Real, Dangerous’ Climate Change

Iain Rogers

(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel called global warming “real” and “dangerous” in her New Year’s address, saying she will do everything in her power to ensure Germany makes a meaningful contribution to tackling it.

“Our children and grandchildren are the ones who will have to live with the consequences of what we do, or fail to do, today,” Merkel said in the written version of a televised address to be broadcast on Tuesday.

“That is why I am making every effort to ensure that Germany does its part –- environmentally, economically and socially –- to deal with climate change,” added the German leader.

Merkel acknowledged the shortcomings of a much-criticized climate package her coalition government agreed in September, saying she is aware that some are concerned the measures are “more than they can handle,” while others fear they don’t go far enough.

Germany’s upper house of parliament approved the core element of the package this month, including a higher levy on carbon pollution than first planned. Critics ranging from environmental activists to utilities decried the initial tax as too low to help stem global warming.

Merkel said the legislation represents a “vital -- in every sense of the word -- framework” for Germany’s contribution to addressing climate change.

“The warming of our planet is real. It is dangerous,” Merkel said. “Global warming and the crises that arise from it are caused by human activity. This means that we must do everything humanly possible to meet this human challenge. It isn’t too late.”

(Updates with official translation of Merkel quotes)

--With assistance from Brian Parkin.

To contact the reporter on this story: Iain Rogers in Berlin at irogers11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Daniel Schaefer

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