Eric Worrall / 1 week ago December 31, 2016
Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Mother Jones thinks spillover from the US election is helping the rise of the German AFD, and undermining support for Green Energy. But perhaps the working class has simply grown tired of elitist left wing politicians and institutions ignoring working class priorities.
How the “Trump Effect” Could Undermine Germany’s Clean Energy Revolution
In Germany’s elections, the far right has a familiar anti-immigrant, pro-coal agenda.
AARON WIENERDEC. 29, 2016 6:00 AM
The world’s most advanced energy revolution has hit an obstacle: the Trump effect.
Germany has long been a clean energy pioneer. Despite the fact that the sun hardly shines there, the country was the world leader in installed solar capacity until it was finally overtaken last year by China, a vastly larger and sunnier country. By 2050, Germany aims to get 80 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 95 percent. It currently derives about one-fifth of its power from wind and solar (and one-third from total renewables), compared to just 5 percent in the United States. Even though this dramatic energy transition—known as the Energiewende—has contributed to higher household electricity costs, 90 percent of Germans say they support it.
For years, Germany’s mainstream political parties have supported clean energy, too. But that broad consensus could soon face a significant test, another possible casualty of the resurgence of right-wing, nativist politics across the Western world. Unlike many of its neighbors, Germany hasn’t had a far-right party represented in its parliament since the Second World War. But that’s almost certain to change next year, when national elections could make the Alternative for Germany party (known by its German acronym, AfD) the second- or third-strongest faction in the government, if polling trends continue. The party, which began as a euro-skeptic movement, has built its success on stringent opposition to immigration and admission of refugees—and on inflammatory rhetoric that echoes the campaign of Donald Trump.
The AfD also opposes Germany’s clean energy policies. It’s calling for an end to the law behind the Energiewende and even questions the existence of human-induced climate change, stating on its website, “Scientific research on the long-term development of the climate because of man-made CO2 emissions is fraught with uncertainty.” Now, in an effort to slow the AfD’s rapid rise, the country’s mainstream parties could be poised for a step back in the fight against global warming.
I’ve got a working class background, plenty of my friends are working class. Over the years I’ve watched as various left wing Labor and Democrat parties became the plaything of the urban elites, champaign socialists. I’ve watched the growing dismay and anger, as left wing elitist politicians supported fashionable green efforts to drive up the price of energy, and flood western countries with cheap immigrant labor, regardless of the pain these efforts inflicted on their increasingly disillusioned working class supporters.
Trump didn’t ignite the anger of the working class, he simply offered a solution to their problems, a new direction. The AFD didn’t ignite the anger of the German working class, they just pointed out the problems, and promised to fix them. The “Trump Effect” is simply the end of working class patience with privileged left wing politicians who have no idea of the pain their ignorant internationalist green posturing has caused to the people they claim to champion.
For Germany, the writing was on the wall long before Trump.