German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Grünen) also receives 'nature package'

The new German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) Lemke does not have the same duties and powers as her predecessor Svenja Schulze (SPD). This time, the duties of the Ministry of the Environment will have more of a 'nature package', aimed at biodiversity. 

The 'traffic light coalition' in Berlin will link German Climate Policy more closely with economic activity: international climate policy will go to Foreign Affairs, national and European climate policy will go to Economic Affairs. There are also Greens in those two ministries: Robert Habeck and Annelene Baerbeck, in addition to party colleague Cem Ozdemir on Agriculture (see photo). In return, the Environment Ministry now also has Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, as well as for product safety. 

In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), Lemke describes the new focus of her ministry as "strategically correct". The environment minister calls nature conservation a new core task, just like climate protection. Lemke literally said to the SZ: “The species crisis is the next big battle. It is at least as dramatic as the climate crisis.” 

In the interview with SZ, the natural engineer Steffi Lemke describes the storage of carbon in agricultural land and ecosystems as an important goal. This carbon sequestration would require renatured heathlands, creating near-natural forests and storing more water. 

According to the Greens politician, biodiversity, agricultural production methods, lifestyle and consumer behavior are closely related. If fertilizer residues from fields and fields flow into the Baltic Sea in the northern German coastal provinces, this leads to algal blooms there. Anyone who wants to can see it, said the minister. 

She said: “We know that industrial agriculture poses the greatest threat to biodiversity. But nobody would say, then we no longer do agriculture.” Restructured floodplains or wet heathlands could also continue to be built on, only differently than at present. The minister is open to expanding onshore wind energy, including in forest areas.

At her first meeting of European environment ministers on Monday, Steffi Lemke emphasized the importance of deforestation-free food production and imports: “Forest protection is absolutely crucial for achieving both climate protection and biodiversity.

Producers must be able to demonstrate that their agricultural products, for example, do not come from deforestation. The European Commission wants to make progress in this area in the coming months, temporary EU president France has already said.