Calls for rigid and draconian CO2 emissions reduction targets in Germany have been dealt a body blow.
Germany’s Federal Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel of Angela Merkel’s coalition partner the SPD socialists has dumped a load of cold water on the extreme demand for a rapid shutdown of the country’s coal power plants.
German Federal Ministry of Economics Minister and SPD party chief Sigmar Gabriel calls a shut down of Germany’s coal power plants “an illusion” and “mass disinformation of the people”. Photo credit: www.sigmar-gabriel.de
The Berlin based center-left online daily Der Tagesspiegel here reports on remarks Gabriel made in response to a question posed by a Greenpeace activist during a discussion with French economist Thomas Piketty at the Federal Ministry of Economics in Berlin.
Earlier in the day activists had dumped 8 tonnes of coal in front of the Ministry in protest. They request Berlin shut down all German coal-fired power plants. Der Tagesspiegel describes Gabriel’s mocking reaction to the demand (my emphasis):
When the Greenpeace and others demand that all German coal power plants be shut down, that is hardly more than ‘mass disinformation of the people‘ which ‘will not lead to a single tonne of CO2 being saved for the global climate,’ Gabriel added. He is in favor, however, of the European Emissions Trading being set up again so that coal becomes more expensive. ‘I also have nothing against Greenpeace bringing its coal here. ‘We can always use coal here.’ Gabriel ended the exchange.”
The soicialist/environmentalist Tagesspiegel termed Gabriel’s remarks as an “éclat”.
Rapid shutdown of coal power “an illusion”
In the meantime, the online Spiegel reports today that Merkel’s influential Economics Minister is now in a hefty conflict with the country’s Ministry of Environment, which is pushing to reduce Germany’s CO2 emissions 40% compared to 1990 levels by 2020. Spiegel writes that would mean shutting down 15 to 20 coal power plants in a country where the energy supply is already strained. Gabriel is searching for ways to avoid this. Spiegel writes:
Der SPIEGEL quoted Gabriel with the words: It is ‘an illusion to believe that Germany could exit both nuclear energy and coal at the same time.’ Gabriel could imagine a postponement of the climate protection action plan, which is to be introduced in the Cabinet on December 3.”
Say what you want about socialist Gabriel, but this time, as Federal Economics Minister, he sees things very clearly and soberly.