Friday, 18 October 2013

Adam Ostolski: Miners and Greens, unite!

In November 2013, we shall witness another climate conference (COP) – this time in Warsaw. It’s not hard to see the plan of Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk: it’s stopping the possibility of a global agreement that would force Poland to switch to renewable energy sources. Is there a chance that we can stop this? Yes, but only if we create a broad alliance against neoliberalism and for a just energy transition. In this endeavour, a crucial partner for ecologists could be miners.

Climate policy is the one policy area in which Donald Tusk’s right-wing government is impeccably consistent. Poland vetoed plans for a more ambitious climate policy of the European Union, is hesitant to implement the EU legislation on green energy or energy efficiency, and hampers global agreements regarding this issue. Talking climate to the Polish government is a Sisyphean task.

There is a good side to this – ecological circles seem to now understand that there is no use in trying to make the government change its mind. In effect they are starting talks with the miners. One striking example was a conference held in March 2012, called Black-Green Round Table, organised by Zielony Instytut (Green Institute) and the Trade Union of Miners in Poland (ZZG). Experts from both sides talked about Poland’s climate policy – a discussion which achieved some common points.

[read the full article in the Green European Journal]

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Bartłomiej Kozek: Triumph of the German Mother

My friends tend to be surprised with the fascination that I share with one of my friends on social media. He regularly sends me pictures of the German Chancellor in everyday, yet funny, situations. Our enthusiasm explodes when we see photographs of her cutting meat for a traditional Turkish kebab or receiving a statue of a golden hen from her faithful electorate. We also analyse every colour of her two-piece suits and the energy that we feel emanating from her famous rhombus-shaped hands that featured in her CDU party’s election billboards.

Just to be absolutely clear – we feel that this in no way contradicts our progressive, green political views.

So are the political opinions of some of my friends, which in recent days surprised me with their appraisal of Merkel and the sense of stability she supposedly brings to Germany. Many analysts look with envy on the German economic model, its labour market reforms and the presence of a strong industrial base. If there is any criticism in the media for the CDU it is because of the perceived irrationality of the energy transition of our western neighbour. From time to time we therefore hear about people going to the woods to fetch some lumber, because the energy from wind or the sun it told to be extremely high. But – then again – the Germans are rich because of their protestant work ethic, which Merkel’s a symbol of, so they can afford to be extravagant (ecological awareness in a coal-based country is considered as such), can’t they?

[read the full article in the Green European Journal]
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