The three German ruling parties, with major ideological differences, continued to talk about “growing together” after their coalition came to power. But now the first split fungus has sprouted from the ground. Will the government, which sees itself as revolutionary in the field of sustainability, accept natural gas as a sustainable energy source?
The European Commission’s proposal to add gas and nuclear energy to the green energy list is subject to debate, subject to certain conditions. That list is designed for investors who want to invest their money in a sustainable way and make more investments in power plants.
First, it’s about money: Germany makes little difference between what you call green and what you do not, for the steps you need to take to release less CO2. At the same time, political interests abound in the play.
The country will need new natural gas plants in the future, no doubt about it. This is because while the demand for electricity is increasing, the production of energy from other sources is being phased out. In that sense, Germany has put itself in a difficult position.
For example, in an effort to become climate-neutral, the current government has decided to close all coal-fired power plants by 2030 instead of ‘if possible’ by 2038. In addition, energy is generated from nuclear power plants. Phased out for twenty years.
Nuclear reactors can be very dangerous, and the thousands of years of storage required for radioactive waste will not be sustainable. With three nuclear reactors shut down later this year, the government is holding off on nuclear power for the time being.
So the Germans had to get their energy elsewhere. The government recently agreed to build more power plants to generate electricity by burning gas. These are supposed to be modern power plants that work temporarily on natural gas and then switch to environmentally friendly hydrogen gas. That may take some time.
The previous German government wanted the European Commission to add natural gas to its list of green energy sources. But the current coalition also includes the Green Party. Just because they have signed up to add temporary natural gas plants does not mean that they agree that the European Commission wants to name a fossil fuel ‘green energy’.
The Greens rule with the Liberal FDP and the Social-Democratic SDP, which are sometimes far removed from them in terms of content, arguing that this is an opportunity for the party to protect its supporters and implement more stability. If they do not respond now, it will be worse for some of those supporters. Environmental groups have already criticized the European Commission’s proposal, calling it ‘greenwashing’.
Environment Minister Steffi Lemke, of the Green Party, called the plan “suspicious.” “It’s not necessary in my opinion,” he said in a televised interview with Phoenix. “Because in the long run we also know that we will have to use little or no natural gas.”
But not everyone in government thinks so. The SPD is largely silent, and FDP leader and finance minister Lindner Süddeutsche told Zeitung that he sees the benefits of the plan.
Assuming that modern gas-fired power plants are sustainable under certain conditions, Germany can easily find investors who want to invest billions in the construction of factories in the near future. Lindner: “I’m grateful that the Commission’s arguments seem to have been accepted.”
Critics fear that this will create less awareness among investors about other sustainable technologies that will require money in the future, and will reduce the European ‘green label’ attraction to investors.
Germany, like other member states, has until January 12 to respond to the European Commission’s proposal. It is clear that the government is not only speaking out against ‘sustainable’ nuclear power, but has strongly advocated Germany’s demand to remove natural gas from the Greens’ list.