Lemke: "A strong voice for environmental and consumer protection"
Steffi Lemke took up office today as Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. She stated that climate action will be the guiding principle for the entire federal government and thus also for the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV). This is reflected in the priorities nature based climate action, climate change adaptation and an ambitious resource policy. At the same time, the new BMUV will be a strong voice for consumers. Steffi Lemke took over from her predecessor Svenja Schulze at the Berlin offices of the ministry. The newly appointed Parliamentary State Secretaries Bettina Hoffman and Christian Kühn also took up their positions today.
Steffi Lemke commented: "I have been championing democracy, nature conservation and environmental protection for over 30 years. It is therefore a privilege for me to now carry this commitment forward as federal minister. I would like to sincerely thank my predecessor Svenja Schulze, who is handing over a ministry with so many committed and competent staff members dedicated to protecting our natural foundations of life. While the course of the last few years was often speckled with roadblocks put in place by other ministries, we now have the opportunity to establish a new form of cooperation. The BMUV will shape key issues for the future that will affect people and their daily lives. For me, the BMUV will continue to be a driver of economic, environmental and societal modernisation.
Strong environmental protection, nature conservation and consumer protection policies are needed now more than ever. The world is facing several environmental crises: global warming, species extinction and plastic waste pollution. Overcoming these crises will be at the heart of my work. In the BMUV, climate action will remain a priority and nature based climate action will be strengthened. Healthy oceans, wetlands and forests can sequester carbon and thus help mitigate climate change and simultaneously provide numerous ecosystem services. This ensures that both nature conservation and climate action will benefit and that we strengthen the natural resilience of ecosystems to future crises. The ministry will focus particularly on adaptation to climate change, as its impacts have been felt in Germany for some time now. Protection against flooding and strategies for dealing with drought and other extreme weather events are crucial here. The protection of oceans and rivers is something that is very important to me, personally, and that is why I will push for progress on clearing old munitions in the North and Baltic Seas. In addition, nature conservation financing will be given a fresh start.
I see the ministry as a powerful force at work for consumers. Bringing environmental and consumer protection together under one roof at the BMUV will greatly benefit the daily lives of citizens. For instance, if products can be used longer because of improved product design, easily replaceable components, longer warranties and a new right to repair, this is equally good for the environment and consumers."
Steffi Lemke was born in 1968 in Dessau. Following her zoo technician training (milker), she was employed as a postal worker and attended evening classes to obtain her higher education entrance qualification (Abitur). She then went on to study agricultural sciences. From 1994 to 2002 and since 2013, she has been a member of the German parliament (Bundestag) for the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. In between her terms in parliament, she worked as federal party manager of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (green party).
With the entry into force of the Federal Chancellor's organisational decree, the responsibilities and name of the ministry have changed. The ministry is now called the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. Some of the climate policy divisions are moving to the new Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and the Federal Foreign Office. In exchange, the former Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) is taking over responsibility for consumer protection from the Federal Ministry of Justice. The newly established BMUV will also be responsible for product safety, an area that up to now was under the remit of the Federal Agriculture Ministry, which was also responsible for certain aspects of consumer protection.