Nuclear power continues to divide rough coalition

While the second energy summit failed to get beyond non-binding declarations of intent, environmental groups call for more consumer power

The reaction was predictable. The second energy summit, which met on monday under the leadership of chancellor merkel at the chancellor’s office in berlin, was heavily criticized from all sides. Above all, the non-governmental organizations in the environmental sector, which would have liked to be there but had not even been invited, did not spare the summit scolding.

Actually, the main topic of the summit was not really allowed to be controversial at all. It was supposed to be about energy efficiency, i.H. Ways of using electrical appliances in an energy-saving manner. This starts with the insulation of houses, continues with the abandonment of the standby mode of computers and other devices and does not stop with the use of energy-saving light bulbs.

Since effective energy saving is also associated with financial relief for consumers, a rough acceptance among the population in particular should be achievable, as environmental associations repeatedly make clear. Nevertheless, the summit remained without tangible results. Because in fact, climate-effective energy efficiency cannot be achieved by switching off a few appliances and replacing a few particularly power-hungry light bulbs.

Thus on monday topics such as an energy passport (the energy passport comes) or a consumption-dependent kfz tax stood to the debate. The representatives of the energy industries, who fear any state intervention like the devil fears holy water, immediately made it clear that such measures cannot be implemented with them. They are even less willing to make concessions, since a very rough coalition including union politicians spoke out in favor of lowering electricity prices, if necessary against the will of the monopolies. The demanded by the consumer and environmental protection associations from the policy failed to materialize. So in the end, once again, it just hit, good that we have met.

Controversy over nuclear phase-out continues

As at the first energy summit, a topic became dominant that was not actually up for negotiation: nuclear power and the phase-out initiated by red-green and still valid, which the cdu/csu parties are known to want to clarify. A few days before the summit, the internal coalition dispute entered a new round when joachim wuermeling, the csu secretary of state in the federal ministry of economics, declared the nuclear phase-out to be a summit topic on his own initiative.

New dispute is also pre-programmed in the question of the status of the application for the extension of biblis a. While the pro-nuclear federal minister of economics has already called for his involvement in the decision, he was told by the federal minister of the environment, gabriel, who is sticking to the decision to phase out nuclear power, that his house alone is responsible for a negative stance. Only in the case of a positive decision would his conservative colleague from the ministry of economics also have a say in the decision. However, he was not allowed to bow to this logic. Thus, the rough coalition, especially in energy policy, primarily means a standstill, combined with a mutual lurking and the hope that the voters will decide it again. This was then noticeable even at a summit around energy security and energy efficiency, where there seemed to be a broad consensus.

Learning from the usa

For the environmental protection associations, which in view of the development of the co2 problem regard any further delay as irresponsible for mankind and the environment, the summit was therefore a bitter disappointment.

Some are already looking wistfully to the usa. Should the environmental movement want to learn from the usa? This seemed almost unthinkable until a year ago. At that time, as is well known, the grune jurgen trittin was responsible for the environment in germany. The agreed with rough parts of the environmental movement in the opinion that the usa can only learn from europe in the matter of environment. Finally, the us administration stubbornly refused to sign the kyoto protocol. This was rubbed in the faces of their colleagues from overseas at every possible opportunity, by trittin and others.A. Even after the hurricane disaster in louisiana.

Only gradually did environmental organizations realize that effective environmental alliances had long been developing at the grassroots level in the usa. At the political level, cities and states were adopting environmental policies that environmental groups had missed at the red-grass level. Meanwhile, environmental activists from the u.S. Are invited to germany. For example, apollo alliance spokesman jerome ringo was a much sought-after representative of the new u.S. Grassroots movement at a berlin congress at the end of september. Perhaps impulses for the movement in germany can be found here, it is hoped.

Environmental movement hopes for green consumer power

In fact, the leading environmental associations are now of the opinion that a hope in the nuclear phase-out is just as misguided as it is not enough to block the castor transport to the wendland once a year. By applying for an extension of the operating life of the biblis a reactor, the energy companies had effectively revoked the nuclear consensus, leading environmental groups said at a press conference. It also ended a long-running dispute between environmental groups and associations that saw the red-green nuclear phase-out as a step in the right direction and groups that saw the nuclear companies as the main winners.

There, consumer power against the electricity companies was propagated as a new means of protest. Opponents of nuclear power plants could effectively express their protest by choosing their electricity provider. The change from a company involved in the construction of nuclear power plants to an eco-electricity provider could be made today with a mouse click, consumers were encouraged. So that also the for some loadigen search in the internet does not give itself to the problem, the pollution free consumer can with atom exit make itself! Inform.

So far, however, the anti-nuclear attitude of large sections of the population has not been reflected in green consumer power, the environmental associations admit self-critically. Since the liberalization of the electricity market, only 5% of consumers have changed their electricity supplier. The proportion of those who chose a declared eco-electricity supplier is marginal. The industry estimates that just under 300.000 customers from. The fear of a bureaucratic procedure when changing the supplier is cited as a reason for this. There is also still too much fear among consumers that a change of supplier could, under certain circumstances, be associated with an electricity cut-off.

Younger people simply lack environmental awareness, the environmental associations admit. However, they must also ask themselves whether the much-vaunted "no" attitude toward nuclear power plants in large parts of the population is really so far off the mark. Especially with rising energy prices, the arguments of the energy companies for continued operation of the nuclear power plants may not fall on fertile ground? Especially since the debate about nuclear power plant lifetimes has long been characterized by a new lack of clarity. While the former federal minister of the environment, klaus topfer, pleads for a continuation of the nuclear phase-out, the leading wind power manufacturer, fritz vahrenholt, of all people, sang the praises of the continued use of nuclear energy shortly before the second energy summit.

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