BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s diplomatic priorities will tilt toward addressing the threat of climate change as one of the key global challenges of the 21st century, Germany’s foreign minister announced Wednesday.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, a member of the environmentalist Green Party, said Germany’s 226 diplomatic missions worldwide will become “climate embassies.”
This will require some “reorganization and reallocation of resources,” she said, including with the appointment of a new German climate envoy, the former Greenpeace chief Jennifer Morgan.
The announcement Tuesday that Morgan would take on a senior government position prompted some grumbling in Berlin, including from opposition politicians who questioned why the American activist had been chosen for the post.
“I see a big danger in Germany’s climate foreign policy losing persuasiveness, particularly toward difficult partners, if it now comes with a ‘Greennpeace label’,” Juergen Hardt of the conservative Christian Democrats said.
Baerbock dismissed the criticism, saying Morgan was the perfect person for the job.
Morgan said she planned to use her lengthy experience within the environmental movement and think tanks “to support and further the goals of Germany and the EU worldwide.”
“The energy transition is a clear soft power of Germany’s, and I will actively use it,” she said, referring to efforts by Europe’s biggest economy to phase out nuclear power this year, end coal use by the end of the decade and use only renewable energy by 2045.
Morgan said switching into a senior government post — her American counterpart will be U.S. climate envoy John Kerry — after long criticizing countries for failing to do enough to curb climate change was “a unique chance” to pursue an issue she’s focused on for 30 years.
Highlighting the importance of the issue in Germany’s foreign policy, Baerbock said she herself would lead Germany’s delegation to this year’s U.N. climate conference, being held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November.
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