by Katja Hoyer
Sunday, 27
November 2022
Explainer
10:30

Germany loses patience with climate extremists

Protestors' radical tactics are failing to win over the masses
by Katja Hoyer
A climate protestor is escorted away by German police.

“A red line has been crossed,” one member of the German parliament said, when it emerged that climate activists managed to break into Berlin Airport on Thursday and disrupt flight traffic for around 90 minutes. 

While previous coverage of such incidents included supportive voices, this time the radicals have lost just about all sympathy, even in a country as keen to be green as Germany. Politicians from across the spectrum, climate experts and even the Green Party itself have now distanced themselves from the protests.


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Against this backdrop, the activists seem to revel in the disruption and dismay they cause. A live video shared on Thursday shows three of them crawling through a hole they cut in the fence at the airport. The post attempts to justify the disruption that followed by arguing that “Airoplanes are no mean of transport for common people. 80% of people never ever went anywhere by plane. Only one very wealthy percent is responsible for about of emissions caused by air traffic [sic].”

In Germany, the number of people who have never been on a plane is only 11%. Before the pandemic, well over 20 million Germans undertook plane travel every year, the vast majority for private purposes such as holidays. The activists’ disruption on Thursday alone affected nearly 4000 passengers. 

Recognising that flying has long been a normal means of transport for millions of hardworking people and not just a privilege reserved for the elite, even the co-leader of the German Green Party, Omid Nouripour, sharply criticised the activists. “The limit is reached when lives are at risk and in times like these,” he said, “when […] people don’t have much money and for example spend what money they have to go on holiday.”

Some politicians, like Transport Minister Volker Wissing, have argued for more “decisive action” from security forces as “society cannot tolerate such behaviour”. The General Secretary of the liberal Free Democratic Party, Bijan Djir-Sarai, has also called for the “full force of the state” to be applied. 

But more police action may well backfire. The activists largely believe that getting arrested is something of a badge of honour, and that it will help garner public sympathy. In a recent video shared, complete with a trigger warning for “violence against protesters”, viewers can watch police carrying activists off a road they were blocking. From the caption we learn that they feel such hardship must be endured in order to force people to leave the “fossil path of annihilation.”

In reality, Germany’s climate extremists are reaching very few with their antics. According to a recent poll, 86% of Germans think that such disruptive action is harmful to the environmentalist cause. Parliamentarians also aren’t in a rush to cave to the activists’ attempts at political blackmail. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser called the blocking of Berlin Airport “a renewed escalation and unacceptable,” adding that “these actions destroy vital societal acceptance for the fight against climate change.”

If Germany’s green radicals were really interested in furthering the cause of climate change, they would try working with an open-minded public and their elected representatives. But with every road they block and every journey they disrupt, they make it increasingly clear that their primary motivation is to draw attention to themselves, not to the planet.

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Martin Layfield
Martin Layfield
2 months ago

While I share no ideological commonality with these green radicals, I can’t help but think the German political class, and much of the electorate that empowered it, thoroughly deserve the consequences of their actions. They legitimised lunatics like Greta Thunberg, they shut down Germany’s nuclear plants, they made Germany dependent on Russian gas etc. The radical greens are just the children of this BS

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
2 months ago

Yes, you are absolutely right. But sadly all the German parties are “green” and there is no alternative except the AfD , the same goes for the U.K. as the Conservatives and Labour adopted the goal of Net-Zero. The only candidate in the Conservative debates to make a stand against this nonsense was K.Badenoch and she had to apologise later.

Martin Layfield
Martin Layfield
2 months ago

The AfD supporters are the only Germans who don’t deserve this nonsense. The rest decided they’d prefer to be woke and respectable, so they deserve to be woke, respectable, and living in the cold for many years to come.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
2 months ago

Wind and solar are useless without energy storage for windless nights. In any new engineering endeavor, there’s a pilot project first to prove the concept works. There’s no proof of concept system based on wind and solar. It doesn’t work. See:
https://www.manhattancontrarian.com/blog/2022-11-29-dont-be-so-sure-that-the-climate-extremists-have-won
https://www.manhattancontrarian.com/blog/2022-12-1-the-manhattan-contrarian-energy-storage-paper-has-arrived

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago

Should we be surprised by the rise of this narcissistic, pampered, delusional death cult? For their entire lives, these protestors have been fed a steady diet of climate porn – bold predictions that rising tides and hellacious storms will wipe out mankind.

I totally get the frustration people have with these punks, but the real culprit is the self-loathing political and institutional elite in Germany, and across the west, that have nurtured this myth that climate change will somehow destroy mankind.

Germany is staring over the edge of economic chaos after 35 years of climate policy that has crippled domestic energy production. What’s left of the manufacturing and industrial base will almost certainly disappear in the next few years.

These clowns blocking roads and disrupting airports should be dealt with and actually punished. But if voters continue to elect leaders who cite verse and chapter from the climate porn handbook, the economy will continue to stagnate.

And soon the protests will no longer be needed as air travel and cars become a luxury that ordinary people can’t afford.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I have a suspicion the class of people climate activists and green party supporters belong to, will somehow still manage to afford cars and air travel. It’s the plebs who will have to make do with less.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

They all still have smartphones and they are destined to become, if not already, a greater generator of so called greenhouse gases than air travel

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“And soon the protests will no longer be needed as air travel and cars become a luxury that ordinary people can’t afford.”

There will be insurrection at the prospect of it. I realise that the plan is indeed exactly that on the part of many climate activists, but there is no prospect of society suffering mass-impoverishment in the name of climate threats, and the activists are as delusional about this aspect of their agenda as they are about everything else.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I’ve always shared this belief – things will sort themselves out once the hard economic realities hit home. But the energy crisis gripping Europe has shaken my belief in that common-sense outlook.

European nations still have their heads buried in the sand, despite clear evidence net-zero policies have made them dependent on hostile foreign interests for energy supply.

With plenty of domestic reserves of coal and natural gas, European nations won’t even consider tapping into them. Britain refuses to start fracking, despite large reserves. Same thing in Germany. While the Germans are building LNG ports, they don’t take domestic production seriously.

And we actually have politicians arguing the energy crisis illustrates the need for even more wind and solar, so the west is not dependent on foreign suppliers – all the while ignoring the stranglehold China has on all things wind and solar.

I think you’re right – I certainly hope so – but I’m less convinced now.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

China has no ‘stranglehold on wind’.
Fracking is unexplored, rather than simply unexploited in Britain. It isn’t known whether we do have viable reserves. Britain is, at least, reopening offshore storage facilities and granting new offshore oil and gas exploration licences.
Germany may have rejected fracking, but it is still guzzling both oil and coal – and producing a lot of coal.
It’s not about dogma ‘either’ renewables or fossil fuels. We need both at present.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

I thought this was common knowledge. My apologies. China is the world’s dominant supplier of solar modules, with nearly 70% of global manufacturing. It’s dominance of wind turbines is less so, but still over 50%.

The biggest threat from China is almost complete dominance of the rare earth minerals needed in virtually every step of the renewable energy industry. It controls over 80% of rare earth minerals needed for everything from solar panels to batteries. It effectively controls prices and supply.

You’re right about off shore oil and gas exploration in Britain, but when Truss was given the boot, the first thing Sunak did was basically reverse her deregulation of fracking.

I don’t have an issue with any form of energy – wind, solar, nuclear, fossil fuels – but we are much more at risk to hostile foreign interests when it comes to renewables than fossil fuels.

We need more energy. Period. Any contention I have with renewables is the notion they can replace fossil fuels. This is a fantasy.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

There is absolutely nothing common sense about believing that earth will be destroyed by human action or saved by human action. It’s utter insanity on the same scale of men seeking to get pregnant.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 months ago

It’s just the usual middle and upper class kids, along with a few idealistic crusties, seeking attention by appearing rebellious and standing up to ‘the man’. They don’t have the courage to protest in countries where they might risk their entitled freedoms. If they weren’t protesting about their climate delusion they’d be harassing the rest of us about being transphobes.

Kevin Hansen
Kevin Hansen
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Idealistic crusties. Excellent. Where would the sandal makers of the world be without them?

John Pade
John Pade
2 months ago

If they wore their badges of honor in prison cells for five years the problem would go away.

Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
2 months ago

Damaging art is unacceptable as well as infantile! These children never went hungry – that can be arranged.
I think protests are vial to ‘voice’ ones grievances, that said, damaging other peoples property should be discouraged in the strongest manner.

Barbara Stevens
Barbara Stevens
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy O'Gorman

Exactly

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy O'Gorman

Property damage is not free speech.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 months ago
Reply to  Betsy Arehart

It most certainly is when the protesters are woke. Think George Floyd riots vs. Jan 6ers. Violating Covid protocols and burning down cities were excused, but a gangly group of unarmed lite beer drinkers have been rotting in jail for a year now.

Last edited 2 months ago by Warren T
Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Almost 2 years. And mostly without trial, let alone conviction.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rob Nock
Lindsay H
Lindsay H
2 months ago

Sadly, it’s mostly the ‘next generation’ who’ve been fed this WEF pablum. They’ve been groomed by a generation of elitist progressives accustom to a deep public purse.

When austerity does come, these ‘acting out’ children will blame everyone and anything else except for their free-loading socialist parents who were largely responsible for incurring the unsustainable debt loads now seriously threatening liberal democracies.

Angry impassioned youth make bitter delusional adults. The cycle will continue until they get the jack-boot ‘power’ they all so desperately crave. Unwilling to actually ‘work’ for a living, they and their children will pillage and ‘nationalize’ what they are so thoroughly incapable of building for themselves ~ or anyone else.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
2 months ago

Is there a drug for narcissism? If not, why not? There are drugs for everything else.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
2 months ago

In the UK, the British Social Attitudes Survey shows that a very large proportion of people in each age group in the UK do not attribute global warming mainly to human activity. So groups such as Just Stop Oil have work to do convincing the sceptics, as only then will politicians take action. The problem is that the protesters all look like identikit rentamob who could be protesting about anything from Ban the Bomb, Stop the War to Animal Rights. They are as likely to entrench opinions as to win over converts.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

These people are not trying to persuade the rest of us to change our lifestyles. They are directly sabotaging them because they know that nobody in their right mind would willingly give up the comfort, dignity and safety of modern life.

Last edited 2 months ago by John Riordan
Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
2 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

In fairness, it is years since that Caroline Lucas, the one and only Green Party MP, announced that in her view, ‘someone taking the family for a holiday in Spain, was no better than someone stabbing a stranger in the street’.
So far, so lunatic.
But the voters of Brighton carry on voting for her. Even thought the (also Green) Brighton Council has made a shambles, even by the dismal standard of British Local Government.
But don’t image that only Lucas, only Brighton are so heavily into magical solutions to real problems. Witness the recent Tory rebellion to encourage more onshore windfarms, enthusiastically backed by our last two Prime Ministers (and, no doubt, ‘Dave Boy’ Cameron, whose father in law Sir Reginald Sheffield surely still trousers £1,000 PER DAY for having eight quite modest wind turbines on his land.)
And all the other MPs claiming that on-shore wind is the cheapest energy (presumably not having looked at the Wind Energy Firms’ accounts.) And not wondering about the massive subsidies they still receive, nor considering why it is that energy prices are so high. Nor, of course, why it is that ALL Wind is currently meeting just 2.65% of current demand, with even the three Coal Power Stations not already blown up by our “Conservative” Government producing over 4%.
I think they are trying to kill Putin, by making him laugh his head off.

0 0
0 0
2 months ago

I do not understand why the protestors are not sued for damages. Either for the artworks etc that they damage or the costs that others have to endure for their antics. Rather like getting Al Capone for tax evasion, having these people bogged down in the costs associated with civil actions (no legal aid!), with the potential real bore of living under a bankruptcy order if the claim succeeded, would be more effective than the threat of spending a few hours in the cells. Seeing the court orders applied against many of their trust funds would also give the rest of us some real pleasure in these hard times.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  0 0

Never thought of this. Interesting for sure.

chris Barton
chris Barton
2 months ago

Yet the German government like many others has signed up to Net Zero? I think its more a case of they want the loud ones to be quiet – they are both on the side of reality denying.

Sarahjane SJ
Sarahjane SJ
2 months ago

There’s something here about ‘who benefits’ from this constant discussion about climate change, which some believe to be heavily politicised and not at all the risk it is prophesied to be. Meanwhile, there’s lots of money to be made (by some) from ‘carbon zero’. I also wonder about the clamour for more heavy policing and clamp downs on peaceful protests – again, who benefits from this in the ultimate conclusion? Because it won’t be us plebs, on both counts.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
2 months ago

Just arresting them only serves their purpose. Arrest, trial and prison terms are necessary.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

I agree but until the present Government brings in Parliamentary bill to stop this nonsense they will continue as the Supreme (left thinking) Court has ruled the protesters have the right to interfere with ordinary people going about their business.This is why the Police will not act.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

That’s the thing. They want to be arrested. I firmly believe there is a small but rabid group of supporters involved in all these protests. They’ll get arrested a hundred times because they don’t care and nothing happens.

I strongly support their right to protest, but if it’s the same people all the time, they obviously don’t have any grassroots support. It’s just a handful of kids imposing their views on the majority of others.