Today’s Spiegel reports that Germany’s Green Party is undergoing a transition. What happens to it may affect the future of Europe’s policy on the environment and climate change.
With Federal elections less than a week away, the Green Party is becoming less popular than at any time since 2009 and the Greens had a bad result in Bavaria’s state elections last weekend. “The mood for a change in the land was just not there,” Theresa Schopper, a Greens leader in Bavaria, told the NY Times.
More unexpected is the shift in their supporter base: the Greens now attract more high-income Germans than any other party. It’s quite a shift for a party that used to sit on the radical Left. Germany’s Greens have, though, always been more pragmatic than their British or French counterparts.
Germany’s Greens matter because they are the most influential Green party in Europe and they might be part of the government of Europe’s biggest and most influential country. The latest poll results mean this is unlikely because the Social Democrats — who would be their coalition partners — are doing so poorly. As our 2012 report showed, Germany has taken a very distinctive path in its overseas development / aid funding with a focus on renewable energy and climate change (although this is the broader Green sentiment in Germany rather than the exclusive influence of the party). German influence has also transformed the EU aid agenda.
Europe is failing to meet its renewables targets and the cost of renewable energy is proving controversial in Germany itself. What the next German government does will be critical for the future of Europe’s stand on climate change.