Germany -- that's the place where there really is a 100% consensus on the need for immediate action to solve the supposed "climate crisis." It's the land of the "Energiewende" -- the forced transition to the use of intermittent renewables like wind and solar to generate electricity. It's the place where -- as I noted in this post back in September -- no major political party has dissented on the need to act on the "climate" issue. It's the place that has happily driven its usage of renewables to generate electricity up to about 30% of the supply, and therefore its cost of residential electricity up to more than triple the average U.S. price. It's a place where anyone questioning the so-called "science" underlying the warming scare can expect to be greeted with derision and scorn. And yet, somehow reality still seems to be intruding.
Over the weekend, the talks among political parties in Germany to form a coalition government collapsed. As of now, nobody seems to know what is going to happen next. And -- even though there is little overt dissent on the virtue of reducing carbon emissions -- it seems like the ever-more-evident costs of this "climate" program are starting to drive events.
Just to set the table, let me remind readers about the state of the political playing field on this issue in Germany and the rest of Europe and other major countries. A good background article is this one from Dana Nuccitelli in the Guardian from October 2015, "The Republican Party Stands Alone in Climate Denial." The article summarizes some work from Norwegian political scientist Sondre Båtstrand, analyzing the positions on this issue of all conservative political parties from countries including the USA, UK, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany. The conclusion:
[Båtstrand] found that the US Republican Party stands alone in its rejection of the need to tackle climate change and efforts to become the party of climate supervillains.
That's not the only example of over-the-top rhetoric in the piece. For example, Nuccitelli quotes Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine on the position of then-candidate Jeb Bush on this issue:
In any other democracy in the world, a Jeb Bush would be an isolated loon, operating outside the major parties, perhaps carrying on at conferences with fellow cranks, but having no prospects of seeing his vision carried out in government.
In Germany, a political party needs to get 5% of the vote in an election to get any seats in the Bundestag. As an indication of how correct Båtstrand was, in the previous (2013) election, the only party that could remotely be considered a climate dissenter, AfD, got only 4.7% and no seats. Another party, FDP -- a free market classic liberal party and not really climate dissenters, but legitimately concerned about the costs of "climate" policies -- got 4.8% and also no seats.
In the recent elections in September, those two parties suddenly got, between them, 23.3% of the vote and 24.6% of the seats. And suddenly Angela Merkel needs one or both of them to form a coalition government. Oh, and she also needs the Green Party. How is that playing out? An impasse! Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation reports this morning:
Most remarkable: Germany’s failed and increasingly unpopular climate policies are at the core of the crisis. It also signals the collapse of Germany’s decade-old climate consensus. While the Green Party demanded the immediate shut-down of 10-20 of Germany’s 180 coal power plants, the Liberal Party (FDP) stood by its manifesto promise of a radical reform of the Energiewende, advocating the end to subsidies for renewable energy.
Experts at the Federal Ministry of Economics had warned participants at the exploratory coalition talks that Germany will miss its legally binding 2020 climate targets by a mile and that trying to achieve its 2030 goals would risk the economic prosperity of the country. The Ministry also warned that any attempt to force a radical reduction of CO2 emissions “by 2020 would only be possible by partial de-industrialisation of Germany.”
Climate business as usual is no longer an option for the Liberals [aka FDP]. The party fears that a fast exit from coal-fired power generation, as demanded by the Greens, would result in severe social, economic and political problems. A continuation of radical climate policies would affect Germany’s main coal regions, not least in Eastern Germany where the right-wing protest party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) had gained significant support in the federal elections in September.
So, if you were to go around the streets of the major cities of Germany and take an opinion survey, you will find very close to one hundred percent agreement on the need to "take action" on climate change immediately. But what? Does this mean that we will be putting thousands of coal miners out of a job, and more thousands of utility workers at coal plants out of a job, and driving the cost of electricity from three times the U.S. average to five times or maybe ten, and making our electric grid not work right any more, and by the way also "partially de-industrializing" Germany? Wait, you didn't tell us about those things!
I'm actually hoping that Chancellor Merkel does a deal with the Greens and maybe the SDP, and continues down her road of green folly. The real world needs some concrete examples of actual disaster to teach us a lesson in reality.