Der Spiegel

‘I Feel Duped on Climate Change’
Der Spiegel

[Fritz Vahrenholt] is typical of someone who came of age during the student protest movement of the late 1960s, and who fought against the chemical industry’s toxic manufacturing plants in the 1970s. His party, Germany’s center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), chose him as environment senator in the city-state of Hamburg, where he incurred the wrath of the environmental lobby by building a waste incineration plant, earning him the nickname « Feuerfritze » (Fire Fritz). He worked in industry after that, first for oil multinational Shell and then for wind turbine maker RePower, which he helped develop. Now, as the outgoing CEO of the renewable energy group RWE Innogy, he is about to embark on his next major battle.

Vahrenholt: The fear mongers are still shaping the political debate. According to the German Advisory Council on Global Change, environmentally minded countries should forcibly bring about reduced consumption for the sake of protecting the climate. This takes us in the direction of an environmental dictatorship. And the fearmongering is also beginning to take effect. When I was in a restaurant recently, I overheard a woman at the next table telling her children that it’s wrong to eat an Argentine steak — because of the climate. That’s when I ask myself: How could we have come to this point?

How could we have come to this point? Voilà la question qu’on devrait tous se poser…