German Chancellor Merkel focuses on climate change
In Germany, when the going gets tough, the tough go green:
Chancellor Angela Merkel seems to have realized that, contrary to the song lyrics, sometimes it’s quite easy being green.
Mrs. Merkel has shied away from the biggest fight at home: the deep economic restructuring she advocated during her campaign two years ago. And on the matter of the suspected terrorist plot in the heart of Germany, she has remained in the background, apparently happy to cede the limelight to her interior minister, Wolfgang Schäuble.
But in the past month Mrs. Merkel could be found inspecting glaciers in Greenland and calling for new measures to combat global warming at a conference in Kyoto, Japan. It was as if Ronald Reagan had turned into Al Gore after being elected. But the voters loved it, awarding her the highest approval ratings any chancellor has enjoyed since World War II. [my emphasis]
The fact that a center-right politician can ride eco-campaigning to popularity could be a lesson for U.S. Republicans. Though Fred Thompson recently ridiculed global warming, polls show doing so might not be the smartest political move. The environment is the one issue on which Republican politicians are most out-of-step with the Republican base. According to a recent Pew study, 65 percent of Republicans want stricter environmental laws (though it’s questionable how much of a voting priority it is). Ultimately, however, Merkel’s ability to pull off a green hat trick shows the importance of creating bipartisan support for environmental protection.