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Klaus Esterluß | Specials

Students vs. Environment Minister Altmaier – twitterview on Global Ideas

Germany’s energy turnaround, the so called “Energiewende,” is a hotly-debated issue in the country. It’s way too expensive for Germany to wean itself off nuclear energy and fossil fuels and boost renewables, say some. Others argue it’s a Herculean task, impossible to translate into reality.

But who else if not Germany would be able to pull it off? Given its track record in green issues, Germany could become a role model and not only for other industrialized nations. So does the planned “Energiewende” stand a real chance at being successful? The debate was further fueled after German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said the project will cost 1 trillion Euros until the end of the 2030s. What he did not say was how exactly he arrived at this impressive number. His statement prompted huge criticism and heated debate among energy experts.

Amid this backdrop, Global Ideas held a twitterview ahead of a discussion forum at the Berlin-based Hertie School of Governance. Students from all over the world had the chance to direct their questions online at Minister Altmaier.

On Wednesday, Altmaier will be on the panel together with Winfried Kretschmann, the Green Party’s first state premier in Baden-Württemberg. The two are set to discuss pressing issues surrounding the “Energiewende” with the Hertie students. The twitterview offered a taste of what’s to come.

@timbales asked about the opportunities to reduce the costs of the “Energiewende.”

Another question by @markre referred to the role of the opposition ecologically-minded German Green Party in the energy transition process. Altmaier said the Green Party had played an important role in the process in the beginning:

Another question by @markre was if the “Energiewende” could be an insurance against rising prices. It certainly is, Altmeier said, but in the long run.

There was also a discussion in German about the upcoming federal elections in September this year. @alexzirkel wanted to know if there is a need for an “Energy minister.” A position focused exclusively on energy issues is currently not foreseen in the German parliament. The Twitter user also wanted to know who would be the best man for the job. Interestingly, neither of the two politicans in the Twitter discussion rubbished the idea of an exclusive ministry for energy issues. We’ll have to wait and see what happens after the election.

If you want to get more details on the “Energiewende,” you’ll find an overview as well as insights and background information on the Deutsche Welle website.


March 12, 2013



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