The Green party in Germany has said it intends to ban industrial farming as part of a wide-ranging and costly package to combat climate change should they come to power.
Katrin Goering-Eckardt, the party’s leader in the Germany parliament, said her party would establish a fund worth at least €100 billion to finance climate projects including dam construction, reforestation and environmentally friendly transportation projects.
Ms Goering-Eckardt did not go into further details on a timeline for the prohibition of intensively reared meat.
But the proposal is likely to stoke up debate over whether the Greens are still Germany’s Verbotspartei (prohibition party), a nickname they gained in 2013 due to a misjudged plan to introduce a weekly “veggie day”.
Last week Christian Lindner, the leader of the pro-business Free Democrats, warned that the Greens “dream of a meat-less country.”
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“Whoever wants to be vegan is free to do so, but the rest of us shouldn’t be banned from eating our schnitzel,” Mr Lindner said.
In a country where pork is still a central part of the diet, such fears have traditionally restricted support for the environmentalists to liberal urban districts.
But Ms Goering-Eckardt told the German tabloid Bild am Sonntag that public attitudes have transformed, with Germans realizing that drastic action on global warming is required.
“Many people have now understood that things are going to change fundamentally,” the 53-year-old said. “The question is whether we make the changes ourselves or allow ourselves to be swept over by the climate crisis.”
The Green party politician said they would publish detailed financing for the fund in the coming weeks. She said that no decision had been made on whether it would be financed through tax hikes or via an increase in public debt.
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“What we face is a monumental task which even surpasses the reunification [of Germany] as it demands massive investment over a shorter timeframe,” she said.
Ms Goering-Eckardt also argued that it was a question of Germany doing it itself or facing fines of up to €60 billion (£53.4bn) from Brussels.
The Green party are currently riding a wave of popularity that makes it ever more probable that they will help form the next coalition government in Europe’s largest economy.
The latest polling shows that their co-leader Robert Habeck is the public’s preferred choice to be the next Chancellor ahead of the Christian Democrats’ Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
Meanwhile several polls suggest that the party as a whole is now the most popular political force in the country.