Will climate change controversy bring down Angela Merkel?

Posted: November 4, 2017 by oldbrew in climate, government, ideology, Politics
Tags: ,

German coal operation

Ideology versus reality? Obsessing over climate looks to have created a mission impossible unless somebody backs down in the German coalition talks. Bizarre that running a country of over 80 million people seems to rest on this one sticking point: how to put the ‘coal’ in coalition.

When it comes to climate change, there are worlds apart between Germany’s aspiring Jamaica Coalition partners, as the GWPF reports. It is all about coal and it is not certain the divide can be bridged.

When the wind is not blowing and the sky is overcast by dark clouds, wind turbines and solar panels cannot generate any electricity. Energy bottlenecks are threatening. Business organisations warn that such “dark doldrums” could trigger complete shutdown in Germany’s industrial heartland.

Coal-fired power plants, thus, are indispensable for a long time to come.

The Green Party, however, is calling for a coal exit as quickly as possible to protect the global climate and demands that the 20 dirtiest power plants should be switched off immediately.

No other subject in the exploratory talks about a possible ‘Jamaica’ coalition government in Berlin is as controversial as the subject of climate protection. During the second round of climate talks on Thursday, Christian Democrats, Liberals and Greens clashed yet again. According to participants, Armin Laschet (CDU) and Toni Hofreiter (Greens) brawled particularly hard.

As Prime Minister of coal-rich North Rhine-Westphalia Laschet is a sort of patron saint of the country’s coal miners. The belligerent party leader Hofreiter, on the other hand, has repeatedly emphasized that the Greens would never join a coalition government “without a coal exit.” The Liberal Party (FDP), in turn, is concerned about Germany’s energy security and its economic competitiveness.

In short, these are most difficult conditions for a common government position. At least Angela Merkel, once praised as “climate chancellor”, has made it clear that nothing will shake Germany’s climate targets. So far, the common commitment to the Paris Agreement has been the only, scant minimum consensus.

But when it comes to the question of how much CO2 Germany needs to cut in coming years, opinions differ widely. The Greens seem to start from targets ​​three times higher than those of the CDU and the FDP. Thus, while all agree that climate change is a problem, there is no agreement about how big it is – and certainly not about how it can be solved.

When, on Thursday, Anton Hofreiter (Greens) would not deviate one inch from his demand for a complete coal exit as soon as possible, Armin Laschet went ballistic. The Greens, he argued, probably accept that energy bottlenecks would be offset by electricity from dirty coal-fired power plants in Eastern Europe or French nuclear power plants.

Climate protection, security of supply, electricity prices, the interests of the coal regions – all this contentious issues will be difficult to reconcile. However, Christian Democrats and Liberals also know that the Greens must present successes to their party base on the coal issue in order to gain its members’ approval of joining a coalition government.

Continued here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    ‘The Green Party, however, is calling for a coal exit as quickly as possible to protect the global climate and demands that the 20 dirtiest power plants should be switched off immediately.’

    Confusion here: ‘protecting the climate’ is nothing to do with ‘dirt’. CO2 is colourless and odourless, and not dirty.

    If there’s a problem with coal and dirt, that’s a local air quality issue.
    = = =
    From Green Jihad: ‘In this interview with Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Professor Fritz Vahrenholt, one of the founders of the environmental movement in Germany and the Chairman of the German Wildlife Trust, describes how his country’s new energy policy is not only splitting the environmentalist movement but destroying his country overall.’

  2. gregole says:

    Dump the Greens and form a coalition with AfD. Easy.

  3. oldbrew says:

    More fun and games in store this week…

    German parties vow to drop the insults in push to forge new Merkel government

    FDP delegate Wolfgang Kubicki said that, while they seek common ground despite deep ideological and policy differences, all sides had agreed to tone down public sniping and name-calling that has threatened to poison the atmosphere.

    “If we keep throwing pies at each others’ faces, we don’t need to keep talking,” he said.


    Not like this…

  4. oldbrew says:

    Another spanner in the works – migration.

    ‘Disaster’ for the Establishment: Merkel Government Coalition Talks in Disarray, Snap Election Looms

    A new election, “would be a signal of the incapacity of democratically elected parties and be a breeding ground for extremists”, Günther said, likely a nod to the massive gains of the anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) in September’s election where they became the third largest party in the Bundestag.
    . . .
    …some say it would be unlikely that Angela Merkel would lead the party if a snap election were called.


  5. oldbrew says:

    Looks like the Greens have blinked first.

    Date: 08/11/17 The Guardian

    Decision to drop key issues welcomed by other negotiating parties but criticised by some supporters


  6. oldbrew says:

    Conundrum for crackpot climate campaigners…

    Date: 08/11/17 Jan Dams, Die Welt

    Germany will miss its 2030 climate targets by a mile. This emerges from calculations by the Federal Ministry of Economics. Trying to do so would risk Germany’s economic prosperity.


    Without nuclear power it boils down to this: accept the ‘partial de-industrialisation of Germany’, or not.

    As Germany is the leading economy in the EU, that would affect a lot of people.