Slower coal exit as antidote for right-wing populism
The joint effort of Germany’s coal mining states against enshrining a definitive date for ending coal-fired power production may help curb support for the right-wing populist party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), writes Jens Tartler in Tagesspiegel. Politicians in the affected states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg and Saxony professed to be concerned with securing Germany’s power supply – but in reality are concerned “primarily with the workers in coal-mining areas, who also are voters”, Tartler argues. If people in these areas were given a date for coal exit without a plan for restructuring their regions economically, “you might as well send them to the AfD right away”, according to Hubertus Heil, vice chairman of the Social Democrats’ parliamentary group. The coal states ensured that the ministry for the economy and not for the environment will now handle the regions’ transition – “and that it will start its work only after the 2017 general elections”,Tartler writes.
Read more on regional peculiarities of energy transition in the CLEW factsheet German federalism: In 16 states of mind over the Energiewende.