Climate talk at Maischberger: Spahn: “Get the Volkssturm under control”


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Climate talk at Maischberger
Spahn: “Get the Volkssturm under control”

By Marko Schlichting

In the coming week, the Bundestag will deal with the federal government’s heating law for the first time. A violent argument is inevitable. Viewers can experience a foretaste of the debate live on the ARD talk show “Maischberger”.

The Greens were punished in the state elections in Bremen. They lost about five percent of the vote. One of the reasons is probably the heating law, which the Bundestag will be debating for the first time next week. This is also one of the topics that the Hessian Economics Minister Tarek Al-Wazir from the Greens and the Union faction deputy and economic expert of the CDU, Jens Spahn, argue on Tuesday evening on the ARD talk show “Maischberger”.

“The debates in the federal government don’t mean tailwind for us,” says Al-Wazir, in whose state there are state elections in October. However, he believes that state political issues also played their part in the loss of voters among the Greens in Bremen. Spahn is not so sure about that. In his opinion, voters in Germany are angry about the way the federal government is handling the heating law. Spahn criticizes the radicalism with which Economics Minister Habeck is trying to push through the law. “If this law is passed in the Bundestag, as Habeck proposed, then the state elections in Hesse will also be a vote on this law, and I have an idea of ​​how that will turn out. I would be very concerned at the moment if if I were Mr. Al-Wazir,” says Spahn.

Spahns Volksfront-Lapsus

Spahn does not want the law to come into force as early as January 2024. Germany is responsible for two percent of the world’s CO2 emissions. At least for the world climate, it makes little difference whether the law will apply in the coming year, but it does for the acceptance of German citizens. Economics Minister Habeck wants to save 42 tons of CO2 by 2035 with the “Heat Pump Act”. If the three nuclear power plants that were shut down in April were put back into operation, they could do it in two years.

Tarek Al-Wazir discusses with moderator Maischberger and Spahn.

(Photo: ARD)

Experts like the IFO Institute or the think tank Agora-Energiewende see things completely differently. The CO2 savings effect of continuing to operate the nuclear power plants is only small, but very expensive, according to complex calculations by the two institutes. Spahn is probably familiar with these studies, but ignores them – and then, in the heat of the moment, makes a statement with a devastating choice of words, for which he immediately apologizes. But she still stands in the room: “The question is, what makes more sense: tens of billions of euros in funding (from coal-fired power plants), so that the Volkssturm can be calmed down and got a grip on, while the longer running of the nuclear power plants is only a few tens would cost millions.” Al-Wazir is visibly shocked by the term “Volkssturm” at this point, and Spahn also seems embarrassed by his choice of words. Neither of them go into it very professionally in the ongoing discussion.

Spahn will comment very intensively on the continued operation of the three decommissioned nuclear power plants in this dispute. He is in favor of putting them back on the grid for another two or three years, although according to TÜV Bayern the fuel for the Isar 2 nuclear power plant, for example, will only last for a good year. The same applies to the other two nuclear power plants. If new fuel rods were then installed, it would no longer be possible to shut down the power plants by around 2030.

Al-Wazir explains that the only thing that remains is the energy transition, which can no longer be postponed with the heating systems. A newly installed gas heater can run for up to thirty years, i.e. until around 2055. Germany is striving for greenhouse gas neutrality ten years earlier. That doesn’t go together, says the minister, and continues: “I’m very much in favor of us passing this law before the summer break. Everyone needs planning security now – citizens, business, trades. But I’m also in favor of the question discussed whether everything has to come into force on January 1, 2024.”

“Elections have consequences”

Spahn acknowledges the change of opinion among the Greens, at least a little. “So elections have consequences, and that’s good,” he says. But his main criticism of the law remains: the focus is too much on the installation of heat pumps, giving other forms of energy such as geothermal energy, biomethane or bioheating oil too little chance. “In the end, it’s not about how many heat pumps we install, but how much CO2 we save.”

It is clear that such a discussion also includes the Patrick Graichen case and the state secretary’s best man affair. Graichen made a mistake, which he admitted, according to Al-Wazir. He considers the allegations by the opposition in the Bundestag to be exaggerated: “One should leave the church in the village.”

Spahn sees things completely differently. He says that the decision about Graichen’s future lies with Minister Habeck, but: “If Graichen retains responsibility for climate protection policy in Germany, the public’s trust will not return; because there is a feeling that a network of Ideologues that are narrow-minded, one-sided and intrusive have been prepared and are now being deployed.”

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