Germany’s powerful trade unions have long been major constituents of the country’s SPD social democrat party. But new CO2 reduction plans being drawn up by Germany’s Economics Ministry, headed by SPD chief Sigmar Gabriel, has the country’s mining, chemical and energy workers up in arms.
The IG BCE trade union representing a variety German energy employees is calling on its members to demonstrate in Berlin, on 25 April 2015.
“We oppose!” Photo: Stefan Hoch, IGBCE
The planned protests further puts a German government in an increasingly awkward position as it attempts to appease both the powerful environmental groups, and the country’s influential industrial trade unions.
100,000 jobs at risk, “social blackouts”
Coal power plants supply approximately 45% of the country’s electricity demands. German online daily Die Welt here reports that the Economics Ministry has produced a concept paper calling for capping emissions of older coal plants, and subjecting excessive emissions to hefty fees.
The 125-year old IG BCE union claims the plan threatens 100,000 jobs – in regions where economies are already strained. “Ultimately the social blackout of entire regions threaten,” the IG BCE warn. It also says that scaling back coal power “puts an affordable and reliable power supply at risk“.
The IG BCE announces large demonstrations outside Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office in Berlin on April 25: The motto: “Enough, we oppose!”
Die Welt writes that the IG BCE had investment bank Lazard check over the draft plan. Lazard found that it is based on “unrealistically high power prices” for the year 2020.The prices projected for 2020 by the government will in fact be much lower, and thus means the plan would result in 85 to 95 percent of the power plants being unprofitable. The cap would literally mean the end of Germany’s lignite-fired power plants.
IG BCE commenterwrites he will surely be attending the demo, and comments:
For too long we have believed politicians that an affordable energy supply and good jobs were worth it. The gods of climate protection have blindly run and sacrificed the guarantors of prosperity and value creation at the altar of CO2 reductions, much to the joy of other EU and industrial countries.”
Hat tip: Michael Limburg, EIKE.