Germany Leaders and Opponents

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Government Official
Barbara Hendricks
Minister of the Environment

As a member of the Germany’s Social Democratic Party, Hendricks spearheaded Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050. Additionally, she has pushed strongly for greater standards in the Paris Agreement, firmly stating it was “not the end, but instead the beginning of a long journey.” Green Party delegates, however, have criticized Hendricks for openly speaking of the importance of decarbonisation without pursuing it in any of Germany’s energy plans. Reluctance for more stringent decarbonisation may lie in the party’s “industrial roots.” Interestingly, party chairperson and Vice Chancellor of Germany–Sigmar Gabriel–has expressed concern about a hasty renewable energy transition, putting Germany’s productivity at the forefront of the party’s platform. Nonetheless, Hendricks has made early initiatives to block non-renewable expansion and is a leader in Germany’s energy transition. One given example was her influence in restricting fracking until 2019–a ban she had originally pushed to be indefinite–in order to ensure proper environmental impact assessment.

Contact information: Bonn office Rochusstraße 1, 53123 Bonn, P.O. Box 14 02 70, 53107 Bonn Phone: +49 (0) 22899 529-0

Climate Program Advocate
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber
Researcher and Physicist at University of Postdam

Schellnuber is a German theoretical physicist who has been an early advocate for measures to stabilize climate change and for environmental protection. In 1993 he became the director of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Only two years later did he propose the two degrees limit for global warming, first adopted by the German government and the European Union. For this and other research, Schellnhuber was awarded the German Environment Prize in 2007, contributing to the IPCC’s Nobel Peace Prize award that same year. Among his contributions is that for the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report, which projected “increases in future global mean temperature, rising sea levels, and increased frequency of heat waves.” The two-degree limit would then become a global target across governments worldwide following the Copenhagen accord in 2009.

Contact information:

Climate Program Opponent
Political Party – Alternatives for Germany (AfD)

Although few organizations actively oppose climate and energy measures in Germany, the AfD have come out against the Paris Agreement, calling it a tool the UN has used to transform the “world order into a system under its leadership.” Moreover, the party believes Germany’s Energy Transition action plan is a cost-generator which has hindered the country’s economic development, despite its GDP remaining consistent with average trends. On multiple accounts, AfD–which is running in federal elections for the first time this year–has denied the science behind climate change. While early polls show they hold 10% of the popular vote (versus the leading CDU/CSU coalition at 35%), their likelihood of taking office poses less of a problem than their strong anti-immigration rhetoric, a dialogue that has swept Europe in the past year. Angela Merkel’s run for re-election has been applauded by the AfD’s chairperson, claiming her energy and migration policies will ultimately weaken her party’s platform and mobilize right-wing voters.

Contact information – AfD Chairperson: By request:


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