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Photo: German Green politician, Katrin Göring-Eckardt.

Climate Without Freedom – German Green Politician Göring-Eckardt Says “We Will Have To Learn To Accept Limitations”, “Restrictions Just The Beginning”

For German Green politician Katrin Göring-Eckardt, saving the climate means accepting there will have to be little freedom. In the future envisaged by the green politician, restrictions will become the new normal, with high taxes on wealth and carbon, and controls on what people eat.

According to Göring-Eckardt, who is also the Bundestag Vice-President, the restrictions imposed during lockdown are “just the beginning.” At the same time, the Green politician categorically rejects lifting the ban on German nuclear power plants – the cheap and green alternative to fossil fuels.

The picture is gloomy but it is what the Green Party in Germany would like to see happen.

In an interview, Göring-Eckardt outlined the green vision of the future human society. She believes that Germans will have to adapt to a new definition of prosperity.

She says “Our life will change whether we want it or not. The planet’s resources are finite. There can therefore be no endless growth. So far, the definition of wealth has only been about gross domestic product and growth. In the future, whether a country has a good climate balance and a functioning education and health system will also be decisive for prosperity. Economic growth is worth little if we have a climate that makes human life on earth impossible.”

Asked if “people are willing to give up traditional wealth”, she explains that the Germans will have to get used to rationing.

“We will have to learn to accept limitations. We live in a society of plenty. There is everything everywhere at any time. Does the bread shelf in the supermarket still have to offer the full selection just before closing time, do you have to eat meat every day and have a huge selection in the restaurant? Is that prosperity?”

“We need a more realistic definition”, she declared.

Due to carbon taxes, Germany has one of the highest energy prices in the Europe. But Göring-Eckardt calls for more taxes still.

“I can imagine that CO2 consumption would be taxed more heavily. If you have a particularly high CO2 balance, for example with a large apartment, two cars and permanent air travel, you have to pay more.”

A tax on wealth is also needed, because climate justice requires redistribution, even though such politics only create a nanny state and crush free enterprise.

“A temporary wealth levy would also be conceivable. We need a new justice treaty. In future we will no longer be able to separate social justice from climate justice”, she said.

Food options too must be controlled, starting with catering in the Bundestag:

“vegetarian and vegan options must become the new standard, and if there is meat at all, then the selection of meat dishes must be significantly reduced.”

Göring-Eckardt insists nuclear power “is still very dangerous” and that “Anyone who wants to discuss nuclear power now is not interested in the question of how we can become energy independent”.

She dismisses as “nonsense” the conclusion of French climate professor, Jean-Marc Jancovici, in his book “Endless World”, that nuclear power is the most reliable form of green energy, and that nuclear accidents are rare.

Specialists have said the energy security of an industrial country like Germany could be easily achieved by re-activating its nuclear power plants. Technology innovations will also make the next generation IV nuclear power plants safer and more efficient.

Meanwhile, many businesses are also closing down as they are unable to meet steep energy prices. Sanctions on Russian oil and gas supported by the Greens have dramatically increased energy prices in Germany. In light of the resulting energy crisis, the sanctions have been described as “self-inflicted” harm by a number of voices.

In an interview with the German Press Agency, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock conceded Germany was in a critical situation regarding her energy supplies, and this could lead to the government soon “being busy with popular uprisings”.

At the same time that the Green Party rejects any return to nuclear power, the federal “Traffic Light/Ampel” government coalition, which includes the Greens, notably Minister of Economy, Robert Habeck and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, has just passed an emergency legislation to reactivate coal-fired power plants in order to cope with the current gas shortages which threaten to worsen, come winter.

Coal is far more carbon intensive than gas and nuclear power.

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