Will the climate change revitalize the Middle East?

80 percent agreement

A key point of discussion at the closed meeting of the LINKE parliamentary group in Rheinsberg on Thursday and Friday was climate policy. On the agenda was the detailed »Climate Justice Action Plan«, which the parliamentary group's social-ecological conversion work group had already drawn up in June.

However, the entire paper was not adopted at the conference. Nonetheless, MEPs said they were satisfied with the way the debate went. Sabine Leidig, coordinator of the working group that wrote the paper - and had already incorporated many amendments - said in an interview with "nd" on Friday that "80 percent" of the action plan had been approved. The MP Thomas Nord was optimistic that the complete action plan could already be decided in the parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday.

Actually, that should have happened in late autumn. The initiators had hoped that the 80-page paper could be published on the occasion of the global climate strike on November 29th. But at that time the group only reached agreement on the first chapter - which, however, already contains very far-reaching goals.

The chapters on CO2 pricing, on international solidarity, i.e. fair trade instead of exploitation and overexploitation, and on peace policy and conflict prevention as an important element of climate protection have now been adopted, reports Leidig. The chapter on "Instruments of a structural and labor market policy to secure employment" has not yet been resolved, but there is no substantive disagreement here. This section had been drawn up in cooperation with trade unions and social associations.

There are obviously conflicts over the question of whether the Federal Republic of Germany can supply itself with energy in the medium term or whether it will continue to rely on electricity imports for a longer period of time. This is what Leidig and Nord reported unanimously. A "small but vocal group" around the deputy parliamentary group leader Klaus Ernst is also opposed to restricting individual traffic. They rely on energy-intensive drives using hydrogen and synthetic fuels.

During the retreat, Ernst tabled a number of amendments to the chapters on transport and energy in the action plan, which have not yet been approved. He had previously spoken out in public against the ban on short-haul flights "to places that can be reached in five hours by train" and against free local public transport. The money for the expansion of local transport must also come from the ticket prices, he had justified the latter.

On Friday, Ernst, who is also the political group's spokesman for economic policy, warned that private transport should not be demonized before there were alternatives. He also criticized a contribution by the parliamentary group's climate policy spokesman, Lorenz Gösta Beutin, for this newspaper (online). In it, he had demanded, among other things, that leftists should "never again defend the free lawn on German autobahns, advocate state subsidies for climate-damaging industries, defend jobs in the coal and auto industries." Such demands have nothing to do with left politics, says Ernst. There was agreement that climate protection measures must be »designed fairly«, as parliamentary group leader Amira Mohamed Ali emphasized to the Phoenix broadcaster.

The climate within the factions seems to have improved significantly with the meeting. Thomas Nord, who had sharply criticized the leadership style of the former parliamentary group leader Sahra Wagenknecht at the end of 2018, said that he had come from an exam for the first time "not in a bad mood". The content of the debate was controversial, but it was conducted in a factual, "pleasant political atmosphere." This is thanks in particular to the "refreshingly impartial and open leadership of the meeting by Amira," praised Nord. At the end of the meeting, the parliamentary group chairman said that she was "going out of this retreat with great enthusiasm."

Other topics on the exam were the challenges for the job market in times of digital change, education and the situation in the Middle East. A paper by parliamentary deputy Susanne Ferschl, in which it is about more participation of employees in important company decisions, met with great approval.

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