Yesterday I wrote how ZDF German television had produced a blistering parody of the country’s renewable energy project – dubbed the Energiewende. Well it seems that message may be even getting through to the country’s top politicians after all. It may be sinking in, really!
At Facebook Germany’s Sigmar Gabriel, Chairman of the socialist SPD Party and Vice Chancellor of Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU-SPD grand coalition government, issued a statement at Facebook announcing that Europe’s industrial competitiveness is indeed in jeopardy because of Germany’s and Europe’s sky high energy prices.
At Facebook he writes (original text above, right):
Germany and all of Europe are facing a huge challenge. The price of electricity in Germany is twice as high as it is in the USA. If we fail to at least provide some relief to our industry, then we are threatened with deindustrialization. This isn’t just crude propaganda from business, but rather it is bitter reality. Indeed here in Europe we have to think about how to reduce the state-induced burdens. I know how difficult this is.
However what a few years ago were high wage and social costs are today the rising energy and raw materials costs. They threaten the competitiveness of the German and European industry. And if we don’t maintain this basis for our economy, then we will neither be able to keep renewable energies nor our social and cultural standard in our country.”
This is a stunningly direct and sober statement for a politician of Gabriel’s caliber. Vice Chancellor Gabriel also serves as the economics minster in Angela Merkel’s government. His latest statement signals that the emergency brakes are about to be pulled on renewable energies. They are simply no longer affordable and are putting the country’s economic backbone at risk.
As economics minister, we suspect he has been getting an earful from industry bosses and from Hannelore Kraft, the SPD minister president of Germany’s heavily populated industrial heartland, North Rhine Westphalia.
This is an impressive turnaround for a person who in 2007, as the country’s environment minister, was so impressed by Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth that his Ministry snapped up 6000 copies and had them distributed to the nation’s upper secondary schools so that Gore’s shockumentary would be viewed by the nation’s future academics.
My how things can change.