New German environment minister wants to reconcile wind power demand and nature conservation
New German environment minister Steffi Lemke plans to focus on reconciling climate protection and nature conservation during the impending massive rollout of windpower. Speaking to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Green Party member said she could imagine allowing wind turbines in woodland areas that have burned down or in monoculture forests. “It is clear that both crises need to be resolved. Nobody benefits from playing one against the other." She added: "We also know that industrial agriculture is the greatest threat to biodiversity. But nobody would say: Then we will stop doing agriculture. That’s how it has to work with the expansion of renewables. We are doomed to find solutions. It’s possible, although not always without conflicts.” On the challenge of reconciling environmental policy with economic interests, Lemke said Germany had “long since reached the point where the very foundations of economic activity are threatened by ecological crises. The task of a federal government is to protect the natural foundations of life and people. Balancing that is the essence of politics. That doesn't scare me.”
Lemke said storing CO2 in ecosystems is another example of combining climate and nature protection. “We will renaturalize moors, create more natural forests, store more water as a precaution against droughts, and thus protect and strengthen biodiversity.” With climate protection efforts in Germany now largely centered at the new Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, the responsibilities of the the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) have been diminished.
Germany's new government has committed to a massive roll-out of renewable energies. The plans have triggered fears among conservationists that nature protection will be sidelined in the push to erect ever more windturbines.