60 billion euros annually as compensation for what the Federal Republic of Germany has done to the climate, and a Chancellor who accuses herself. The television film “Ökozid” reached deep into the moral wish-box as part of the ARD theme week. Aside from wishful thinking and exaggerations, Sandra Maischberger then dealt with actual possibilities for improving the climate.
Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) even got support from the activist Luisa Neubauer. His visit to a Fridays for Future demo in March 2019 and his complaint at the time about this “shitty idea” would have given the wrong impression. The actor Edgar Selge – as presiding judge in “Ökozid” – was upset about a “duplicity” of many people in matters of climate protection.
Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives, was reproachful. He is afraid that the island state will go under. The people there are being “poisoned”. Political economist Maja Göpel also sees responsibility for such conditions. One can already know the consequences of climate change today. Stefan Wolf, on the other hand, does not want to hold individual states responsible. The future head of the employers’ association Gesamtmetall sees climate change as a “global problem”.
The broadcast’s accusation of desperation
“We are being poisoned by others,” says Nasheed to Altmaier, “there has to be a way to go to court with it somewhere.” The former Maldivian president reports of eroding coasts and dying coral reefs. A quarter of the national budget is already being used to protect against climate change. “We are all responsible, every single person,” says Altmaier. He rejects the charge that only industrialized nations contribute to climate change.
The energy minister in Indonesia made it clear to him that there was no majority in favor of renewable energies. Instead, they want to achieve prosperity with coal power. The minister sees no possibility for the federal government to change anything: “Should we have sent the Bundeswehr now to prevent the coal-fired power plants from being built?”
The question of responsibility
In the television film “Ökozid”, the International Court of Justice found a violation by the Federal Republic of Germany of “universally applicable human rights”. This happened through “breaches of duty in the fight against climate change”. From the right to life a right to unspoiled nature derives – at least in the opinion of the filmmakers. In criminal law, whether such lawsuits are actually likely depends primarily on the level of knowledge of those involved, says political economist Göpel.
So there must be enough knowledge to be able to foresee consequences, despite which no action will be taken. For Göpel, this is already the case with regard to climate change. As ecologically opportune as that may sound, the demonstration would be exciting in the end. In order to be convicted, it must be proven that the damage was almost certainly due to an act of the accused. In the event of a hurricane as an alleged consequence of non-enacted climate protection laws, that would be adventurous.
The workplace argument
There are six large steel groups in Germany. These caused six percent of the German CO2-Emissions, Altmaier calculates. You could switch to green steel. In the process, coal is replaced by hydrogen in production. However, the Federal Minister of Economics fears that this would drive companies into bankruptcy without government aid. The end product is 40 percent more expensive than conventionally produced steel. This would continue to be produced in Russia or Brazil. “Then in the end we won’t have less steel, but more CO2“Warns Altmaier.
After the coal phase-out, he let himself be booed by lignite workers: “They asked: ‘Where are our jobs?’” Neubauer does not see the jobs as an argument for maintaining an industry. Employment in the field of lignite construction could “not be a sustainable, reliable job”. After all, you know that the division is coming to an end. It is rather the task of politics to convert these jobs safely as a precaution.
Green protection for the Federal Minister of Economics
In March of last year, Altmaier attended a Fridays for Future demo. A video shows the protesters not even trying to speak to the minister. You just yell at him. Altmaier grumbled to a companion that this – apparently the visit – was “a shitty idea”. Neubauer is not happy about the video and takes Altmaier under protection. It is “a polemization”. She spoke to Altmaier beforehand.
“We have declared that we don’t think it makes sense to come to a demo where we criticize his work so much,” says Neubauer. It sounds more like justification for the lack of willingness to talk among the masses. Perhaps because the Green member knew that hardly anyone at the demo wanted to deal with arguments from the other side. Curious, because Neubauer repeatedly praises democracy on the show.
But this also includes at least listening to your counterpart. The line is clear in Neubauer’s rhetoric throughout the evening: “We” on the one hand – “the government” on the other. And it should do what “we” ask.
But more would be needed for Neubauer’s democracy: run for elections, find a majority and then implement his ideas with it. Instead, Neubauer calls for “a 1.5 degree plan” for each party for the upcoming federal election. So the line will continue: We want you to do.