Monday, April 6, 2015

Frack You, Germany

On April 1, the German government passed a draft bill concerning fracking. This was not an April fool hoax so Red Baron is stunned. With my country promoting renewable energies I had always assumed that fracking is a no-go in Germany. Fracking means fossil energy and energy from fossil sources, something we must reduce rather than increase.

I know that the majority of my compatriots is against this new way of exploiting Mother Earth too. However, there is only a small hope of parliamentary rejection as the proposed bill must only pass our Bundestag (House of Representatives) where the ruling grand coalition has a comfortable majority. Although the Länder (States) are directly concerned - strangely enough according to our constitution - the approval of our Bundesrat (Senate) where the Greens in coalition with the Reds have a majority is not required. This is why the Green ministers of environment of North-Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg immediately protested: They demand further restrictions on fracking or the bill must not come into force.

However, our federal government is not that quick on the trigger for the draft bill is nothing other than a legal framework. Being strictly against fracking our Federal Minister for the Environment Barbara Hendricks of the Social Democrats was visibly embarrassed when she presented the draft bill to the press. She said that the main reason for the government proposal is to provide legal certainty. In addition all exploratory drillings will require a license and are only allowed beyond a depth of 3000 meters. This should assure that no chemicals will seep into the groundwater table. With regard to the many other restrictions Hendricks went so far as to call the bill a fracking hindrance law.

The reactions of industry were commensurate. They called the constraints utterly excessive: In Germany the profitably exploitable reserves are at depths between one and two thousand meters.

©Die Grünen and their fracking monster
Red Baron is strictly against fracking not so much out of fear of a contamination of the groundwater but of the exploitation of our last fossil energy reserves. The world should finally accept that our future or rather the future of our grandchildren depends on renewable energies.

And the markets behave as they always have behaved: Since the US is exploiting fracking on a large scale with the aim of becoming independent of foreign fossil fuels the oil price has dropped to such a low level that extraction in the States has become uneconomical. This is showing that cheap energy no longer assures steady growth but instead will stop investment in renewable energies.

Stop fracking!

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