News Digest Item
09 Mar 2018

Svenja Schulze to become Germany’s next environment minister

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s new minister for the environment and nuclear safety will be Svenja Schulze from the Social Democratic Party (SPD). The 49-year old, from the country’s most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), will be “an excellent minister” who supports climate action and environmental protection “with her whole heart”, SPD party head Olaf Scholz said at a press conference. Schulze was previously general secretary of the regional SPD group in NRW and served as the state’s science minister from 2010 to 2017. She follows fellow SPD politician Barbara Hendricks, who had served as environment minister since 2013.

Born 29 September, 1968 in Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)

Political & Vocational Career

  • 1988: Joins the Social Democratic Party (SPD); studies German philology and political science
  • 1993 to 1997: leads the SPD youth organisation Jusos in NRW
  • 1996: Joins SPD party executive committee in NRW
  • 1997: Becomes youngest member of NRW state parliament
  • 2000: Leaves parliament to work as a business consultant (BBDO, booz&co.)
  • 2004-2010: Re-enters NRW parliament, serves as SPD environment policy spokeswoman
  • 2010-2017: NRW state minister for innovation, science and research
  • 2017: SPD secretary general in NRW, joins national SPD party executive committee
  • 2018: Joins Cabinet Merkel IV as federal environment minister for the SPD

Memberships & Trivia

  • Member of IG BCE, Germany’s Trade Union for mining, chemicals and energy industries – which is staunchly opposed to a quick end of coal-fired power production in Germany
  • Member of NABU, the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union – to “exert pressure” and push environmental protection, she says
  • In 2011, Schulze warned the public as science minister in NRW that fuel elements from the nuclear research facility in Jülich went missing, causing a major media response. It later turned out that the fuel elements’ storage was not documented properly by the facility.

Find background information in CLEW’s coalition watch.

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