Right-wing climate change deniers shun taking responsibility – opinion
As the political debate over immigration in Germany is becoming less heated in line with the decreasing number of migrants seeking access to the country, the party that has benefitted most from opposition to migrants, the right-wing nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD), is likely to choose climate and environment policies as its next primary battle ground, Anna Sauerbrey writes in an op-ed in the Tagesspiegel. “Sooner or later, they will need a new topic,” Sauerbrey says, adding that the debate over air pollution and diesel bans gives but a first impression of things to come. However, the AfD is not alone with its opposition to an ambitious environment policy. Certain members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance have also started to oppose their party’s “green” course more vocally. Climate policy and the debate over air pollution limits “fit well with the standard repertoire of populist policies,” Sauerbrey writes, arguing that this enables them to vent the widespread scepticism of “elites” and resist a state that they perceive as paternal. “Resistance against climate policy, just like resistance against Angela Merkel’s migration policy, is backed by resistance against the idea of global responsibility.”
A recent study on right-wing parties’ climate action stance found that Germany’s AfD is among the most hardline climate-sceptics in Europe. During the 2015 influx of refugees to Germany, the party adopted a vehemently anti-immigrant stance and positioned itself as an alternative to the other parties’ consensus-based stance on the energy transition.