SD in German politics

Reading the chapter of the studyguide dealing with politics made me think of the commitment of the German government to SD. So I had a look on the website of the ministry of environment . Don’t be too scared, that the site behind the link is in german, all other links on this site are in English (and French).
SD issues in general are not discussed in public. The politicians only deal with several aspects. So I try to list a few of the things that the government had done recently.
1) In the beginning of 2002, the cabinet has approved a draft bill amending the Environmental Audit Act with a view to ensuring high standards for EU environmental audits.
2) The government changed the tax system to a more ecologic way. So the tax rate on gasoline and electricity rose. The reform takes place in several steps each with a time lag of several years.
3) The government (which is a coalition of “greens” and socialists) decided to abandon the production of electricity from nuclear power and made up a plan for the shutting down of the concerned power plants. This step was largely and controversely discussed in public!
4) Prior to the World Summit on SD in Johannesburg, the government approved the national sustainability strategy as Germany’s contribution to the summit. Again unfortunately I did not hear of this before I did read it today….
The four mentioned points above all come from the website of the ministry for environment, but you are invited to have a look at the websites of the ministry of Economics and Labour, the ministry of consumer protection, the ministry of health and social security, and particularly the ministry of economic cooporation and development.
As mentioned earlier, from my point of view, the issues dealt with by the government are not discussed enough in the public. If you’d ask people on the street about efforts their government is taking concerning SD, I bet they won’t have big things to answer. They’d probably complain about the tax reform mentioned, because they are concerned by that (increasing gasoline prices). So according to this article in the studyguide which says, that “Europeans appear to be leading the way at this point in time”, I’d say that might be right in comparison to the United States or Australia (the two single “industrialized” nations, that did not sign the Kyoto protocol). To be critically, as mentioned in the textbook, too, politicians tend to do greenwash, even more than companies. I have to admit, that I can’t tell you something about the progress and effects of the actions taken by the government. But maybe if you find out something, you can tell me.

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Posted in government policy
2 comments on “SD in German politics
  1. Hap Phinney says:

    I agree with your sentiments concerning Europe’s lead in SD development. With regard to your comments about Kyoto, I would say that many in the U.S. were angered by the Bush administration’s refusal to adopt the Kyoto agreement (myself included). Obviously this protocol was a very progressive step in the nascent importance placed on SD. However, it is also important to understand (at least partially) why the administration took the actions that it did. An article of interest to you may be found at the enclosed URL. Although I also think that politics and special interest had an equally heavy hand in Bush’s decision, it is interesting to see scientifically why it was voted against.

  2. Hap Phinney says:

    Sorry, the URL did not post, here it is again!

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