GGreen power play on Sunday evening with “Anne Will”: In a program dedicated to the protests surrounding the clearing of the village of Lützerath, the ARD presenter welcomed three more or less declared climate activists: Ricarda Lang, party leader of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen , Luisa Neubauer, also a member of the Greens and active in “Fridays for Future” and, as a secret star guest, Sweden’s climate activist Greta Thunberg.
The 20-year-old, who has repeatedly appeared on the fringes of the protests in the Rhenish lignite region since last Friday, received special treatment from the hostess: Will, 56, had previously interviewed the Swede in a specially produced video outdoors . While chickens cackled and pigs grunted in the background (apparently they met on a farm), the ARD presenter appeared in a green parka suitable for off-road use, so that she harmonized perfectly with Thunberg’s demo look (brown wool hat, dark anorak).
The conversation (conducted in English) could also be seen in the evening ARD talk show, in which, in addition to the climate activists mentioned, North Rhine-Westphalia’s Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU), climate researcher Mojib Latif and economics expert Michael Hüther were also invited.
Thunberg dismisses the reference to the compromise character
The ARD talker first wanted to know from her interlocutor whether it was not good that some other NRW villages had been spared the excavation due to the coal compromise. “From my outside perspective, it seems strange that we sacrifice one village to save the others. That doesn’t make any sense to me,” Thunberg said. “No sense?” asked the journalist and explained to Thunberg that it was “a compromise”.
Thunberg, however, avoided the argument. Instead, she referred to the CO₂ emissions that would result from the excavation and later burning of the lignite. “This isn’t about this village,” she continued, but about what’s happening “around the world.” “Germany is historically one of the biggest polluters in the world,” Thunberg then claimed. What happens in Germany does not stay in Germany, she continued.
Will then tried again. She again referred to the compromise character of the decision to excavate Lützerath, leaving five other villages standing and thus also leaving the lignite lying under these villages in the ground. In addition, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia was eight years early in phasing out electricity from lignite, a demand that Thunberg’s organization “Fridays for Future” said Will had “always wanted”. However, praise from the strict climate activist was still a long time coming.
“It’s not my role as an activist to watch compromises between governments and very destructive corporations,” Thunberg said coolly. Rather, their role is to “see what happens,” see what is “wrong,” and push for change. We simply cannot accept that RWE, a fossil energy company, is allowed to make “deals” with the government and thereby “endangers the lives of countless people,” the 20-year-old continued, revealing a thoroughly questionable understanding of politics and business . “Did the Greens let themselves be tricked by RWE?” Anne Will then asked.
Clear criticism of the Green Party
Thunberg replied that she did not know how the discussions had gone, but that what was happening was “very hypocritical”. Then she said nothing meaningfully. “Why?” the hostess inquired, raising an eyebrow. Thunberg then became clearer and specifically criticized green party politicians.
First taking part in demonstrations for Lützerath and then “sacrificing” the village is not okay. The Swede apparently played directly on some party members who first voted for the compromise and then demonstrated against it again on site. WELT had also reported on it.
Will then turned to Minister Robert Habeck, who had defended himself by saying that Lützerath was the “last village” that would have to give way for lignite and was therefore a “wrong symbol” for the (heated) climate debate. The decision of the Greens does not mark “continue like this”, but an end point of the development. Thunberg did not accept that either. “How can it (Lützerath) be a symbol of the end if they plan to move on, to move on with this?” she argued.
Anne Will then pointed out whether she, Thunberg, Robert Habeck didn’t think she wanted the best for climate protection. Thunberg answered cautiously, not wanting to comment directly. Instead, she then referred to “the science,” the power of politics versus the influence of individuals, and the, quote, “real climate action” that was needed. Whether the whole federal government was on the wrong track, Will pressed on. “For me yes,” Thunberg replied with a smile.
There have been warnings for years, including from people on the “front lines of the climate catastrophe”, and “science” has repeatedly pointed out that we must “change direction quickly”. “We” need to step back and think about what is “best” for the planet, she concluded.
When it comes to the atom, Thunberg distances himself from himself
In the course of the conversation, Will also repeatedly spoke about the current energy supply crisis in Germany, which, according to the moderator, was caused by the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and the cessation of Russian natural gas supplies – and also the cancellation, particularly by the Greens of atomic energy. A legitimate question, since Thunberg himself had previously criticized the shutdown of German nuclear power plants in interviews because they would have kept German CO₂ emissions lower.
But with “Anne Will” the Swede did not want to repeat this assessment, yes, she even reacted slightly irritated to the allusion. Whatever she, Thunberg says, will be “interpreted differently”. What’s more, statements by activists are often “taken out of context” in order to “distract” from the big overall problem, according to the 20-year-old. But now it’s about Lützerath, and also, according to Thunberg’s passionate closing speech, about the “countless people” on earth who would “die or be expelled” because of the climate catastrophe.
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