The Nord Stream 2 project does not fit well with our times. It goes against the EU plans to protect the climate and the bloc’s geostrategic interests. The pipeline is a threat to the stability of Ukraine, which is why it should be stopped, but that’s impossible – says Julia Verlinden, PhD, spokesperson of the German Greens at the Bundestag, in an interview with BiznesAlert.pl.
BiznesAlert.pl: What should be the goal of the German and European climate policy?
Julia Verlinden, PhD: Together with the international community, Europe has made an obligation to stop the climate crisis and put the brakes on heating the planet at 1.5 degree Celsius, if that’s doable. Now the EU member states have to meet these obligations and take specific actions: save energy, increase energy efficiency and quickly develop renewable energy. The transition also needs to happen in agriculture to make it more climate-friendly, and get it far away from industrial agriculture and excessive use of fertilizers. The EU needs to provide direct support for the necessary transition in all of the areas.
Your party is against Nord Stream 2, but it looks like it will be completed. What do the Greens think about this controversial gas pipeline? On what basis should it operate in the future?
The Nord Stream 2 project does not fit well with our times. It goes against the EU plans to protect the climate and the bloc’s geostrategic interests. The pipeline is a threat to the stability of Ukraine, which is why it should be stopped, but that’s impossible. The EU needs to start a constructive climate dialogue with Russia to avoid negative consequences.
For decades you have been saying that Germany should abandon nuclear power, which will soon happen. Do the German Greens want to convince their European partners to make a similar decision?
Yes, it is necessary, because the risk of accidents and unaccounted for radioactive waste disposal clearly speak against this technology. This is why we want to work to reform the Euratom agreement and stop new subsidies for nuclear power. We also want binding security standards for all nuclear facilities in Europe. This is how we could get rid of the old and especially dangerous reactors on Germany’s borders.
With whom in Germany would you like to cooperate on implementing your energy plan?
For us, the Greens, the crucial question is with whom we can make the fastest progress when it comes to climate and species protection. We also value social justice. The programs of the other parties offer many promises, especially when it comes to climate. Yet, words need to be followed by deeds. In the past four years, mostly CDU and CSU have been preventing this from happening in Germany.
Should the German energy mix be completely based on renewable energy sources? How should the grid be stabilized to prevent power outages?
In order to ensure a secure supply we combine local power generation, smart grids, various storage systems and flexible consumers. Hydrogen will also be used to ensure energy supply, because it is easy to store and climate friendly, as long as it comes from power produced from renewable energy sources. Hydrogen can be used to generate electricity in adapted gas-fired power plants to cover any power gaps.
Interview by Michał Perzyński