Climate talk at Hart but fair: Last generation wants people’s parliament drawn by lot

Climate talk at Hart but fair
Last generation wants people’s parliament drawn by lot

By Marko Schlichting

The climate activists of the “Last Generation” have announced further actions starting next week. In “Hart aber fair” an activist calls for a citizens’ council. The other guests of the show are horrified.

Just over a year ago, on January 24, 2022, climate activists of the last generation blocked a street in Berlin for the first time. Starting next week, they want to draw attention to the climate crisis with further campaigns – throughout Germany. In the ARD talk show “Hart aber fair”, the spokeswoman for the group, Aimée van Baalen, calls for “other democratic means” – and thus triggers mixed reactions from the other guests on the show. They range from incomprehension to horror. “We see that politicians are failing to make decisions to bring us below the two-degree limit,” she says – and calls for a social council “where drivers, vegans and the mother with three children sit opposite one another.”

FDP is too expensive Tempo 130 on highways

The fact is: Germany is missing its climate targets. Too much CO2 is blown into the air on the streets. According to a report by the Expert Council for Climate Protection, which the federal government used, the transport sector emitted around 148 million tons of CO2 in 2021 – three million tons too much. In order to achieve the climate targets set for 2030, Germany would have to more than double the speed of CO2 reduction, and emissions in the transport sector would have to fall 14 times.

According to FDP deputy faction leader Konstantin Kuhle, Transport Minister Wissing is doing his utmost to achieve the goal. These include the introduction of the 49-euro ticket, the railway infrastructure will be modernized, and the number of charging stations for electric vehicles will be increased. In addition, new roads would have to be built, and the government wants to speed up the planning process for this. A speed limit would make no sense. Kuhle: “We have emissions trading that extends to the transport sector. It says: If I drive slower and use less fuel, I have to pay more.”

Climate activist van Baalen does not want to accept that: A speed limit on motorways could reduce CO2 emissions by 6.7 million tons per year. And this measure does not cost money. “In this climate crisis, you have to implement everything that is possible, especially if it is still free. How are we, as a young population, to have confidence in the government when we see that even these simple measures are not implemented?”

The chairwoman of the German Automobile Association, Hildegard Müller, does not believe the numbers. They lack the scientific basis, she says. Above all, she has noticed a change in the behavior of many drivers. You drive more slowly to save gas. She also says: “We have 4,000 dilapidated motorway bridges in Germany that have to be bypassed. The resulting CO2 emissions are much higher than those that we save with the symbolic speed limit.” And the CDU member of the Bundestag, Gitta Connemann, has a few more savings suggestions: approval of the synthetic diesel HVO, better house renovation, continued operation of the three nuclear power plants that are still on the grid.

“They trample on the law”

Connemann thinks nothing of the actions of the last generation. “I see that as a threat to people. They trample on the law. Anyone who really wants to get involved in climate protection doesn’t get stuck. They get involved, like scientists and researchers – or heating installers who really do something for the climate do.” At the same time, the actions of the activists cost acceptance, also for climate protection.

In fact, surveys say that a good 80 percent of Germans believe that the federal government is doing too little to protect the climate. But even more people in Germany reject the actions of the last generation.

But the young people are on the side of the climate activists, says van Baalen. “And we will continue to exercise our right to resist as long as the federal government breaks the constitution.”

“That’s not true,” counters Kuhle. In 2021, the Federal Constitutional Court complained that the climate protection law at the time did not contain a concrete reduction path from 2030. “But we have it now. He says that climate neutrality must prevail by 2045, and there must be negative emissions by 2050.”

Van Baalen’s Board of Directors

The goals of the last generation can be achieved immediately: introduction of the nine-euro ticket and speed limit, explains van Baalen a little later. There should also be a board of directors. “It’s a kind of emergency meeting where citizens come together, they are drawn. It’s like a small Germany. They are advised by experts and spend weeks discussing which measures the government needs to implement.”

“The Bundestag does that,” counters Konstantin Kuhle. Connemann adds: “And the deputies there are also elected.”

Of course, parliamentary democracy will continue to exist, explains van Baalen, but citizens “like you and me” should come together and consult in the council. The deputies are also citizens, says Connemann. But there are too many lobbyists in the Bundestag, explains van Baalen. “You’re also a lobbyist,” counters Connemann. And Kuhle adds: “That opens the floodgates to the arbitrary state. It’s undemocratic. It has nothing to do with our Basic Law.” “This is anarchy,” whispers Connemann. For van Baalen it is clear that this is democracy, but in a new form.

In the end, Kuhle tried to talk the climate activist into conscience – without any visible success: “Be careful not to radicalize yourself further, because that’s not how you will achieve your goals. I’m in favor of concentrating on democratic means. “

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