More on the Green climate cabal that is currently at war with German industry and society
Corporate lobbyists aren't the only organised force in politics, and profits are not the only or even the most important motivation
One reader reacted with indignation to comments on Friday’s piece about the vast foreign-funded climate cabal fighting to crash the Federal Republic of Germany with no survivors:
Fascinating to read the comments and see how the fossil fuel industry - the worlds largest and most powerful - has completely co-opted you all. You rightly distrust and condemn big Pharma and then get in bed with big oil and coal without skipping a beat.
In response to my suggestion that “Big Green is also a thing, and a much bigger problem than Big Oil,” he answered:
Big green wasn’t even around until a decade or so ago, and the fossil fuel industry is the largest and most influential and most corrupt in world history. And ‘big green’ as you call it developed as a response to the environmental and Climate catastrophes caused directly by fossil fuel burning.
I’m not defending specific decisions about phasing out nuclear as I don’t know much of anything about Germany. But to take the side of fossil fuels when the world is burning up, and Eco systems are collapsing every day in plain sight of all of us as a direct result of fossil fuel combustion is beyond astonishing.
There are two points to make here.
The first and least important is that Germany is responsible for 2% of global carbon emissions. Destroying the wealth of the German middle class by forcing the adoption of heat pumps is not going to cool any part of the earth or save any ecosystem. Because nothing we do will make any difference, the empirical claims made by the climate brigade aren’t something I care to thematise very much. The future of carbon emissions will be determined by the growing populations of the east and the south.
The second and for me much more important point, is about the alleged influence of the “fossil fuel industry” on western politics. Leftists, but also many of their critics, view politics almost entirely through an economic lens. In this conception, captains of industry are held to corrupt the political process via lobbying efforts to increase their own profits. They certainly do so, but this isn’t the only or even the most important mechanism corrupting the political process.
An important aspect of managerial bureaucracy, is its ability to divorce power and wealth from each other. In our system, specific politicians and civil servants wield enormous power without having very much personal wealth, while many enormously wealthy people have very little access to the political process and face all manner of threats from the regulatory state. Ostentatious philanthropy is one way they seek to protect themselves.
Big Green is a massive, closed, well-disciplined political influence operation that is structurally no different from traditional industrial lobbyists that leftists instinctively oppose. The key figure promoting the German energy transition, the American environmentalist Hal Harvey, has modelled his approach in part on the lobbyist bêtes noires of the left, and his organisations operate exactly the same way, even though it’s far from obvious that anybody is profiting from any of this. In 2021, Zeit reported that the Climate Neutrality Foundation (Stiftung Klimaneutralität), co-founded by Harvey and German climatier Bernhard Lorentz, had a lobbying budget of 2.5 million Euros, well in excess of the money spent on political influence by German automobile manufacturers like BMW.
Lobbying is only part of it, though. Their think tanks, especially Agora Energiewende and Agora Verkehrswende, which develop the Science and preformulate the policies behind the energy transition, make them even more powerful. That same Zeit piece quotes “A head of department in the Ministry for the Environment” confessing that the entire ministry “would be lost without the expertise of Agora experts.” In return for their services, these think tanks receive millions of Euros from German taxpayers, constituting with Harvey’s other initiatives a “political perpetual motion machine” which acts to influence German policy and is in turn sustained by money from the German government. Neither Big Oil nor Big Car ever co-opted government this completely, and ordinary voters have as good as no role to play in these processes.
I don’t want to say that corporate or industrial interests play no role here, though. It’s surely significant, for example, that Harvey’s primary funding source is the Hewlett Foundation, established by the founders of Hewlett-Packard; and that his German partner, Bernhard Lorentz, channels money from the Stiftung Mercator, a similar grant-making operation set up by Wilhelm Schmidt-Ruthenbeck who founded the food wholesaler Metro AG. The exact interests that information technology and food companies might be pursuing in their promotion of an industry-destroying energy transition isn’t totally clear, but it’s definitely work thinking about, and many theories are possible.
Some clues might be buried in the specifics of the climate agenda that these men and their organisations promote. Their single-minded promotion of non-zero emission electric solutions (electric vehicles, heat pumps) over even carbon-neutral alternatives is certainly strange. Zeit interviews Jens Gieseke, a member of the European Parliament, who recalls strong opposition from the NGO complex to his suggestion that the (partially thwarted) EU ban on internal combustion engines should make an exception for carbon-neutral synthetic fuels; and also Thomas Koch, at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, who co-signed a letter with 300 other scientists deploring the climate advocates’ avoidance of “technical debate” and their glorification of electromobility, seemingly oblivious to the fact that “it would be impossible to totally electrify the vehicle fleet without having to charge all the batteries from emitting coal-fired electricity.”
Maybe this is simply an effort to preempt the whole problem of consumer choice. Once the electrical grid becomes the only source of energy, the state achieves near-total control of emissions. Or maybe it is the phenomenon we saw also with Corona, whereby the goal (zero emissions, zero Covid) is gradually replaced by the means (maximum heat pumps, maximum vaccination). This much, though, is beyond dispute: None of this is about saving the environment or stopping climate change; and green policies do not – as often maintained – emerge from the climate activists of the populist left, but rather from a network of highly coordinated lobbyists and pressure groups powered by the money of major corporate-founded grantmaking foundations.