November 14th, 2018

Germany’s “Climate Chancellor” Is Bowing Down to Trump’s Pressure, But We Won’t

Updated 7 December 2018

by Andy Gheorghiu

Not long ago, Germany’s Angela Merkel was hailed internationally as the “Climate Chancellor”. Under the former environment minister (1994 – 1998), the German government made headlines worlwide for its achievements related to its energy transition (the “Energiewende”) and the country also introduced a moratorium on shale gas fracking until 2021.

However, it seems as if – along with the rise of far-right nutters all over the world – more and more politicians and political parties are willing to throw away the last bits of committed climate action.

Under pressure from Trump’s administration, Merkel has caved in and now promises to support and even co-finance the construction of at least one liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal with public money.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier called the support a “gesture to our American friends” – in full awareness of the fact that market analysts called the decision “the creation of an investment-ruin” clearly outlining that “Germany doesn’t need Trump’s gas.“

Proposed LNG Terminals for Germany

The most far advanced candidate is Brunsbüttel, in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein. According to Brunsbuettel Ports, the gas could come from the US and could be used on-site, for example, by Yara, one of the so-called “Exxons of agriculture,” to make fertilizers. German energy company RWE has signed a capacity contract with investor German LNG and recently reached a cooperation agreement with world leading LNG buyer Tokyo Gas. A key factor of deal is the reduction of costs through “LNG shipping optimization utilizing the US LNG procured by Tokyo Gas.“

The biggest competitor of Brunsbüttel is Stade, located in the neighbouring federal state of Lower Saxony. This location is favoured by petrochemical giant and fracking proppants provider Dow Chemical, which wants to use the gas for its energy intensive facilities and as a direct feedstock for the production of plastics and petrochemicals. The Dow Chemical site alone consumes one percent of Germany’s eletricity production.

Opposition on The Rise

Despite their otherwise expressed support for the shale gas fracking ban in Germany,  German politicians at both the national and federal state levels are all of a sudden overly excited about importing fracked US LNG for petrochemicals and fertilizers.

But people have definitely enough of this ongoing hypocrisy and opposition is growing throughout the country.

Food & Water Europe found in October the support of over 20 environmental NGOs and grassroots groups for a first official statement against the proposed LNG terminal at Brunsbüttel. A first expert discussion organized by the Greens gave us the opportunity to present our arguments on November 19 in the parliament of Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel and forced the investor to open up a public dialogue with several events to come in February 2019.

A strong sign for the growth of our opposition is the number of signatories for the proposed LNG terminals in the neighbouring state of Lower Saxony. 50 groups (among them grassroots groups, environmental NGOs, health physicians, renewable energies associatoins and the Green Party in Lower Saxony) signed the joint statement against the proposed LNG terminals at Stade and Wilhelmshaven.

Simultaneously, Germans can sign our petition against the intended public financing to build these unneeded fracked gas terminals.

The German government may bow under the pressure of a climate change denier but we won’t! Together we‘ll fight for a frack-free world – not here, not anywhere is the demand of the movement – and its the only way we will stop the expansion of gas infrastructure and avoid runaway climate chaos.

Read our factsheet on LNG (in German).

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