Interview
18 Dec 2020, 12:15
Charlotte Nijhuis

Preview 2021 – ‘A strong Green Party is the only realistic option to tackle climate issues in Germany’

Fridays for Future protest in 2019. Photo: Fridays for Future Deutschland

In the upcoming election year, the 20-year-old climate activist for Fridays for Future (FfF) Jakob Blasel will run for German parliament on a Green Party ticket. Blasel told Clean Energy Wire his decision was based on the need to close the gap between protest and actual decision-making. The relationship between the youth climate movement and the German Greens has been damaged since the conflict over the planned extension of a motorway in the Dannenröder forest, Blasel said. Nevertheless, he argues that a strong Green Party is the only realistic option to tackle climate issues in Germany – provided that the party keeps their policies in line with 1.5 degrees warming.

Jakob Blasel. Photo: Bruno Balscheit

Clean Energy Wire: What are the most pressing energy and climate issues that have to be tackled in 2021?
Jakob Blasel: There are two important issues: the need to increase renewable energy production on the one hand, and preventing the expansion of fossil fuels on the other. Within a few years we’ll have to build an infrastructure that is based on 100 percent renewable energy, so we need to do everything to make that possible in the next year. It will only be possible if we have huge investments, if governments make the process easier and if people demand action everywhere. We also need to charge the real cost for fossil energy production through a worldwide carbon taxonomy system. Fossil subsidies are a serious threat to that. It really worries me that EU-level institutions are continuing to subsidise the fossil fuels industry.

What impact did the coronavirus pandemic have on the climate movement's approach to demanding more climate action?
Right now we are in the extraordinary situation of having to face multiple crises at once – and that can be overwhelming at times. In this situation we have to stay calm, take the virus seriously and keep our fight for climate justice going. We don't really have the option to just put the climate crisis on hold. Every month that passes by without appropriate climate action puts the world as we know it in danger. Our struggle continues – even without mass mobilisation.

My decision to run for office is based on the disparity between protest and actual decision-making processes. We have to close that gap.

Jakob Blasel

Why did you decide to run for office with the Green Party in the upcoming general elections, instead of continuing to protest with Fridays for Future?
I'm still a climate activist. My decision to run for office is based on the disparity between protest and actual decision-making processes. We have to close that gap. 

Are the Greens still the 'natural partners' of the climate movement or do you think the relationship has cooled down in recent months?
The climate movement never had a natural partner. It would be strange to just focus on one party, as we need to shift the whole political spectrum to see real action. In my opinion, a strong Green Party has always been the only realistic option to tackle climate issues in Germany. Many other climate activists think so. The Greens have to prove their ambition with each decision. On a regional level the Greens in Hesse failed that test. They didn't raise enough concerns around a huge motorway project in the Dannenröder forest. That has damaged the relationship between the Greens and the climate movement. We cannot afford conflicts like that if we want to tackle the climate crisis properly. The Greens have to keep their policy in line with a 1.5° path of global warming.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
« previous news next news »

Ask CLEW

Sören Amelang

Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

info@cleanenergywire.org

+49 30 700 1435 212

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee