It’s late, and so hopefully there won’t be too many misspellings. It seems the global warming regime is imploding in Germany.
A short time ago a report at the online Spiegel, authored by Axel Bojanowski, appeared concerning the blocked Schellnhuber-appointment as director of the WBGU. More details are surfacing. The once influential WBGU council appears to be in for a major overhaul. A major shake-up would spell the end.
The WBGU is the advisory council for the German government on environmental issues, and it is one of the oldest councils in Germany, existing since 1992.
Spiegel writes that “an ominous dispute has obstructed the start of the advisory council” and that “it has been reshuffled. The situation is curious“. The legislative period for the WBGU actually ended in late October last year, and it is now awaiting approval by the government in order to resume its work. However, the German Ministry of Economics, headed by FDP chief Philipp Rösler, refuses to give its stamp of approval.
According to information from SPIEGEL ONLINE, four of the council members are to be replaced; the nine WBGU-members are all considered to be environmentally oriented professors.”
It appears Merkel’s junior coalition partner the FDP is pushing to replace some members with others who have economic expertise – in order to create a council that is more balanced and to give it a completely new orientation. The four professors that are aimed to be replaced are: Ellen Matthies, environmental psychologist; Frauke Kraas, geographer; Uwe Schneidewind, economist; Peter Lemke, polar/ocean scientist.
Especially in the Ministry of Economics there are reservations against Schellnhuber, the WBGU Chairman. He would be ‘retired professor in the middle of his term and by then will have been a member of the WBGU for a quarter of a century’ – this is the stated reason given to SPIEGEL ONLINE from circles within the Ministry. In order ‘to revitalise the debate’, they have proposed two economists as alternatives.”
The FDP part of the government is obviously fed up with the climate dogmatism that has blinded the WBGU and the general arrogance that has taken over.
Clearly Merkel, and especially the opposition Greens and environmental activists, want to keep a lid on the turmoil that has erupted. The last thing the environmentalists want is a public debate to erupt and to rage on for weeks. Now with Spiegel focusing on the issue, keeping the lid on will be increasingly difficult to do.
Spiegel writes that over the years the WBGU has become a circle of Schellnhuber’s friends.
‘The voice of economic reason’ is missing says a council member from the 1990s. The WBGU has become a sort of a circle of friends of the years-long Chairman, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber.”
Spiegel writes that the WBGU’s latest report drew harsh criticism. “The council renewed its demand for a ‘Great Transformation’ of civilization.” Critics even labelled the council an “eco-dictatorship”.
The ‘ideological pamphlet’ damaged the WBGU, former colleagues of Schellnhuber griped. It confirmed the fear that Schellnhuber lacked counterparts in the council. In the 1990s the WBGU was occupied completely by ‘neo-liberal economic scientists”, the old colleagues disparagingly call them today.
As Spiegel online describes it, the WBGU is due for a major overhaul. The target is to produce a council of debate, and not one filled with people who nod yes every time Pope Schellnhuber says something.
According to political scientist Susanne Cassel of the “Econwatch”, Spiegel writes, “councils like the WBGU always kept their discussions confidential in order to be able to present only their consensus.” Openness was only on the surface.
Near the end of its article Spiegel tells us that the WBGU’s influence was not that great after all.
Also former Saxony President Kurt Biedenkopf regards the impact of the assessment reports as very limited: ‘Ongoing councils are for the most part ineffective,’ he said. Sometimes the assessments gave the politicians a bad conscience. However, only very few proposals were ever implemented.”
It looks more and more like Germany’s FDP Party is about to knock down a major domino. This may be the tipping point we’ve been waiting for.