The Strange Yin and Yang of German Environmental Politics

by Laura DeMaria on February 10, 2012

in Blog

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Last week I attended a roundtable discussion hosted by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a German-based political foundation and think tank. The topic at hand was, “Sustainability in Energy Policy and Beyond: A Modern Conservative Approach in German Politics,” featuring Dr. Gunter Krings, a member of the German Christian Democratic Party.

I was warned beforehand by my colleague Myron Ebell that the event would most likely be “a lot of (E.U.) rubbish,” and it was, indeed, rubbish. Among the Dr. Krings’s most pressing concerns were the “social justice” aspect of sustainability and the imperative to plant as many trees as you take out and leave the world a better place for the children, etc. His presentation thus had the feel of a Sally Struthers television spot. He endorsed heartily the Precautionary Principle, which argues that even if the affects of global warming (or cooling, or whatever eco-disaster is being prophesied) are not entirely clear, it is better to err on the side of extreme caution and to return us all back to a simpler, more sustainable, caveman-esque lifestyle.

In a strange parallel, the same week that Dr. Krings explained his modern, conservative approach to environmental policy in Germany, Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt, considered one of the fathers of Germany’s green movement,  published a book denouncing the climate change science “consensus” and the IPCC. The book, titled Cold Sun: Why the Climate Disaster Won’t Happen, points out the abundance of errors in IPCC reports which led Vahrenholt to his skepticism.

How does it happen that when looking for the voice of reason in German climate politics, one must turn away from the self-described conservative, and to a formerly radical, green, self-proclaimed Socialist?

Matthew W February 11, 2012 at 9:37 am

You know it’s going to go bad as soon as you hear “social justice” being bandied about.

Laura DeMaria February 13, 2012 at 10:28 am

Yes, that was how I felt! I was seriously very shocked to hear Mr. Krings discussing the Precautionary Principle like it was no big deal and not totally a frightening concept (which it is). I am grateful that over here at least the “debate” is still alive and well, and hopefully Vahrenholt’s book will make it easier for climate realists to voice their opinions in Germany. Thanks for reading!

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