The outrage over a defamatory pamphlet published by Germany’s version of the EPA, the Umweltbundesamt (UBA), has been spreading. The UBA is headed by Jochen Flasbarth, a former environmental activist with strong ties to Germany’s radical green party. It is a department within the German Ministry of Environment.
The brochure singles out and defames US and German climate science skeptic scientists and journalists, claiming they are spreading false information and half truths.
Moreover, the pamphlet claims that the skeptic scientists are not real climate scientists and are thus disqualified to make assessments on climate science. Thus they are best ignored.
End of career.
But now the scandal and outrage have reached the attention of Flasbarth’s boss, Angela Merkel’s Environment Minister Peter Altmaier, so reports the online Die Welt here. Altmaier has commented on the scandal for the first time. Tomorrow Die Welt Sunday print edition will feature of full interview with Minister Altmaier on the topic.
Today the online Die Welt here offers a preview. If the preview is anything to go by, then we can assume that the German government so far thinks it’s okay for them to issue a pamphlet that defame anyone they do not like. That would be a very nasty development. Die Welt writes:
Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) has defended a controversial brochure on climate change from the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). ‘What’s decisive for me is whether legal errors have been made and whether the political position of the Federal Government is correctly reflected,’ Altmaier said. “
At that point we need to recall that Altmaier is a very polished lawyer. I’m not sure what he means to say here. Does he mean to say that it is the position of the German government to defame and ruin the reputation of people, so long it’s done legally? I really do hope that defaming individuals has not become the official position of the German government.
Altmaier also tells Die Welt that he did not personally approve the pamphlet and that he relies on the competence of Flasbarth and his staff. But that is precisely the problem. The UBA has gotten so activist and ideological that you cannot rely on them doing the right and fair thing. It’s renegade and it is now time for Altmaier to get that house back in order. The pamphlet confirms that.
In the Die Welt online article it becomes clear that Minister Altmaier has not even read the pamphlet up to now, and thus is not aware of its dubious and highly confrontational content. Welt writes:
The editor in chief of the ‘Welt’ Group, Jan-Eric Peters, then asked Altmaier via Twitter: ‘Is this the new style of your press work?’ Altmaier answers, so far I’m only aware of ‘snips of text’ and requested: ‘Please send me a copy and I’ll check it over.'”
We can only speculate what is going to happen next. What should happen is: “Altmaier will read the pamphlet published by his underling Flasbarth at the UBA, be shocked, and then move to clean up the renegade UBA house. But we live in a political world, and so things will likely processed as follows instead: Altmaier will read the pamphlet published by his underling Flasbarth at the UBA, be shocked, but insist nothing wrong was done – and then promote the responsible persons to higher positions, but out of the UBA.