23 May 2023, 13:44
Carolina Kyllmann

Chancellor Scholz labels Last Generation climate activists’ protests as “completely nutty”

Tagesspiegel / Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz labelled the protest actions from climate activist group Last Generation, who glue themselves to artwork or roads, as “completely nutty” during a visit to a primary school, newspaper Tagesspiegel reports. “I have the impression that this does not help anyone to change their mind. Instead, everyone gets annoyed,” the Social Democrat added, answering questions from students. While he supports demonstrations and protest, Scholz said he didn’t think the gluing would help. In a statement, Last Generation activists said they were stunned at the chancellor’s words. “How dare you stand in front of the children whose future you are destroying right now and talk about how you find protest against your destructive policy ‘completely nutty’?” the group wrote, calling for the government to abide by the laws and the constitution. “The cause of our protest lies in the irresponsible fuelling of societal collapse by the Scholz government.”

Climate activists from the group Last Generation disrupted traffic across Germany by gluing themselves to roads throughout 2022, and have stepped up their efforts recently. They protest against the government coalition’s climate policies and claim the current coalition “protects business profits, breaks its own promises and our democratic constitution.” Germany aims to become climate neutral by 2045, and has set legally binding emission reduction targets for all its sectors. However, environment agency UBA has warned that the 2022 emissions reduction was too little to put Germany on track for its climate ambitions. Especially the transport and buildings sectors continue to miss their emission reduction targets, and plans to address this, particularly on transport, have been criticised as ‘blatantly insufficient’ and not in line with climate law requirements.

The Last Generation has caused a stir in the country with its uncommon and often disruptive forms of climate protest. Many conservative politicians have criticised the protests and called for harsh punishments, while even more sympathetic lawmakers - for example from the Green Party - warned the escalation of protest methods is counterproductive and could alienate citizens who generally support stronger climate action. Surveys suggests that a majority of people in the country believe the radical protests are obstructing acceptance of effective climate action rather than supporting it.

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