Germany’s Environment Minister Stoops To The Energy-Saving Campaigns Of Old, Failed Regimes

Communism and all forms of tyranny are incurable cancers. All you can do is hope to put them into remission, and the longer the better. But they always come back.

Altmaier’s latest climate-saving campaign: “Put the lid on your electricity consumption.” Source: www.bmu.dep

Now that cancer is threatening to return to Germany – this time in the mutated form of radical environmentalism. A recent campaign by Environment Minister Peter Altmaier reminds us of the propaganda campaigns used by old German regimes to manipulate public behavior.

At Die Achse des Guten Dirk Maxeiner and Michael Miersch write that German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier has slipped and stooped to resurrecting the old campaigns of failed regimes in order to get people to save energy.

Back in the old East Germany days, the system wasn’t even able to supply the people with the most basic products and services - like electricity. And so they launched campaigns to stigmatize their consumption. Today, as Germany rushes madly into renewable energy from the intermittent sources of wind and sun, demand is beginning to outstrip the ever increasingly precarious supply. Once again the government is now pleading that its citizens save energy (to save the climate).

Maxeiner and Miersch report on Altmaier, who recently provided his latest energy saving cooking tips:

‘When you cook food with the lid on, you can save up to 30% electricity,’ announced Environment Minister Altmaier in an advert. ‘Switch off the cooker and oven before the end of the cooking time and allow to simmer.’ Hooray, this is how we can succeed in achieving the transition to renewable energy.”

This is the latest PR campaign by the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Protection and Reactor Safety: A smiling Peter Altmaier (see above) is shown giving cooking tips, with slogans like: “Put the lid on your electricity consumption.“

In the 1950s, to help overcome the electricity supply bottlenecks resulting from Communist mismanagement, the East German regime also rolled out a campaign to get its citizens to cut back on electricity consumption. The campaign was called the Blitz contra Wattfraß” (blitz against the Watt-Eater).

Communist East Germany’s “Watt-Eater” electricity saving campaign. “Do you know him? It’s the Watt-Eater. Hunt him down! It’ll pay off!”

In 1958, Spiegel described that campaign as follows:

Lab-worker Waltrud Peter was just getting ready to brew herself a cup of coffee at the Buna-Werk in Schkopau near Merseburg when suddenly she got a visit. In her laboratory a so-called special unit of the “Freien Deutschen Jugend” (FDJ – Free German Youths) appeared and switched off Waltraud’s electric cooker.”

This was all part of the SED communist party’s new campaign designed to stop citizens from wasting electricity. It turns out that the Watt-Eater campaign is just the child of the Nazi propaganda campaign: the “Kohlenklau“ (coal-thief), which was designed to get citizens to save energy by severely stigmatizing those who consumed energy “needlessly”.

“Who is the KOHLENKLAU? He’s a miscreant from whom we have to especially protect ourselves against because he threatens us and our wartime economy.”

Other Kohlenklau posters and propoganda wrote:

He brings cold into warm rooms, Lights are on in empty rooms, The radio is playing without any listeners around…everywhere valuable coal, electricity and gas are wasted, the Kohlenklau has a hand in it!”

The old Nazi campaign implied that anyone who wasted energy jeopardised the Fatherland’s war machine – and that was punishable by death. Today it’s getting so that people who waste energy are now jeopardising the climate-rescuing energy transition to renewable energy.

Of course Minister Altmaier cannot to be compared to the old miscreants of the past, and is surely a good guy. But he needs to ask himself what has become of a country that finds itself resorting to the old campaigns from failed regimes.

A government’s duty is to provide its people with a secure and reliable supply of energy, and not to diminish it.

 

12 responses to “Germany’s Environment Minister Stoops To The Energy-Saving Campaigns Of Old, Failed Regimes”

  1. Richard Cain

    We in the UK are also subjected to the same propaganda. Smart meters will actually reduce our enregy bills according to our illustrious Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change.

  2. Adrian O

    PS For disclosure, I lived through the second stage of the story.

    People in Eastern Europe were saying that Kafka was a good writer.
    But he lacked imagination.

  3. DirkH

    Nice examples from the past.

    Let’s see- I consume about 200 kWh a month through electricity… and somewhere between 1500 or 2000 kWh a month getting to and from work (assuming 10 kWh per liter of gasoline)… so… Altmaier tells me I should do something about the 10% of my energy consumption instead of about the 90%… (I ignore energy for heating here; I don’t have good numbers. Probably another 600 kWh a month.).

    One could just as well vote for a leftist lunatic party. Wouldn’t be any better or worse.

  4. DirkH

    Nice examples from the past.

    Let’s see- I consume about 200 kWh a month through electricity… and somewhere between 1500 or 2000 kWh a month getting to and from work (assuming 10 kWh per liter of gasoline)… so… Altmaier tells me I should do something about the 10% of my energy consumption instead of about the 90%… (I ignore energy for heating here; I don’t have good numbers. Probably another 600 kWh a month.).

    Seems a case of misplaced priorities…

  5. DirkH

    Nice examples from the past.

    Let’s see- I consume about 200 kWh a month through electricity… and somewhere between 1500 or 2000 kWh a month getting to and from work (assuming 10 kWh per liter of gasoline)…

  6. DirkH

    We use much more energy for transportation and heating than for electricity, so this helpless appeal to save small amounts of electricity (as if people would not already be thrifty, given the high prices for a kWh) sounds like a confession of failure.

  7. DirkH

    Sorry to readers for the apparent spamming … I just made several trials of getting through the spam filter yesterday. Pierre, remove the redundant messages at will.

  8. John F. Hultquist

    My comments, such as this one, routinely disappear –
    Energy and your brain are useful only if you use them and it is better to use them wisely. There is nothing wrong with good cooking tips. I use those suggested by your Mr. Altmaier. I also turn my car off when I go into the grocery store rather than have it idle for half and hour. There are good reasons for doing such things but one of them isn’t saving the climate.

    Regarding a government’s duty regarding energy, I think the government ought to provide laws and such that encourage private companies, public utilities, and research institutions to produce an abundance of energy at a low and reliable cost. In the USA whenever government begins to “provide” a good, nothing good happens. Examples: Postal Service, Amtrak, HUD, Freddie Mac, SallieMae, Solyndra, beach replenishment, flood insurance, A123 systems, . . ..