At that time still climate chancellor: Angela Merkel 2007 in Greenland
Photo: POOL / REUTERS
In an informal conversation with a Merkel confidante a few years ago, I asked why the Chancellor doesn't want to become the real Climate Chancellor again in her old days.
You have nothing more to lose.
The answer: The Chancellor is already for climate protection - but a consensus queen.
If there is friction, look for the lowest common denominator, patiently mediate between all the brawlers - a brilliant diplomat.
But this minimum consensus policy has only led to a minimum consensus on climate protection in the past 15 years.
In times of galloping global warming, when the news from science outbids each other in drama every week, that is no longer enough.
And now it is noticeable when behind the scenes of the federal government's climate show there are actually hesitants, hesitants and brakes.
Unfortunately, this has been observed repeatedly this week: Of course, on Thursday the Federal Chancellor once again appealed to the international community to act "quickly and in solidarity" against climate change.
The federal government was also doing very well because on Wednesday it raised its 2030 climate targets to 65 percent - this makes Germany, together with Great Britain, a pioneer in the EU.
But on closer inspection, the balance sheet is less brilliant: The federal government should have set the new goals anyway - under pressure from Brussels.
In two months the EU Commission - which already raised its targets in December - will redistribute the burden in the Union.
Germany will then have to shoulder more.
And has picked out the 65 percent: Not an inch more than necessary.
The Federal Constitutional Court had previously ordered the government to reform the Climate Protection Act.
Ergo: Judges cannot be impressed with a minimum consensus policy and a maximum climate rhetoric.
The peak of shamelessness, however, is when you praise yourself for having to sit in detention as a bad climate student.
In addition, what Angela Merkel did not say at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue: On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the Chancellery to persuade Merkel to make higher climate finance commitments for poorer countries. The host of the next world climate conference wanted to win the German government over to get the international negotiations going again. For years, states have been struggling to provide adequate aid to poor countries that are unable to financially deal with either the consequences of the climate crisis or its prevention.
In her speech at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, Merkel only said: Germany had "overachieved" its goal. In defense of the German side, it means that Great Britain has so far not given as much as Germany. In addition, shortly before the election, the Chancellor can hardly determine the budgets of the next legislature. But an appeal to other countries to finally participate would at least have been a stumbling block. But that was the message: "We're already doing enough, now it's good too."
At the same time, the rejection of higher aid payments was followed by Merkel's resistance to the release of vaccination patents for poorer countries.
Here the Chancellor demonstratively stood behind corporate interests.
The minimum consensus: they want to help poorer countries with vaccine donations.
Doctors and even the American President Joe Biden are urgently calling for a patent release so that the pandemic can be contained quickly.
No new climate aid, no patent release and enforced climate targets: all of this is a resounding slap in the face for poor countries and certainly no help for the climate negotiations in November.
But then Ms. Merkel may already be retired.