The Guardian Celebrates the Rapid Greening of Climate Activist Europe

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Griff; Greens claim they don’t want to take all the credit for the rise of European climate activist politicians; they believe the unfolding global climate catastrophe has provided its own momentum.

Greens grow in Europe, but politicians can’t take all the credit

Jennifer Rankin in Brussels
Thu 10 Sep 2020 14.00 AEST

The Greens swept to their best-ever results in the 2019 European elections. Winning nearly 10% of seats, the group were billed as kingmakers in a more fragmented European parliament, as the two largest groups, the centre-right and centre-left, saw their decades-old dominance collapse.

But even the staunchest Green politician does not try to grab the credit. The green cause has been lifted by growing awareness of the unfolding climate emergency, as well as the school strike movement led by Greta Thunberg.

“We have a [European] commission that at least has green ambitions like no other commission before,” said Philippe Lamberts, co-president of the Greens in the European parliament. 

“We are strong in the European parliament but don’t overdo it,” he added. “With 10% you get influence, but they can still decide to govern without you and that is what they basically did.” Despite being wooed with the European Green Deal, the Greens declined to support the commission led by centre-right Ursula von der Leyen.

Despite these green shoots, the party is “still very much a north-western phenomenon”, said Pascal LeTendre-Hanns, who monitors European politics at Hanbury Strategy. “In southern Europe the focus has been so much on the economy and jobs, it has been hard for green parties to get much of a foothold,” he said, adding these countries lack “the historical legacy of anti-nuclear movements that helped push the Greens” elsewhere.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/10/greens-grow-in-europe-but-politicians-cant-take-all-the-credit

The fundamental problem with green victories is none of their ideas actually work. Sooner or later their fixation on ideology over pragmatism leads to green politicians breaking something important, like the stability and affordability of the local electricity grid.

Having said that, the inevitable failure of green political movements does nothing to mitigate the harm they cause while they are in the driving seat.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully support the right of voters to make a mistake. Sometimes people have to learn the hard way, that focussing on the “economy and jobs” is actually kindof important.

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September 10, 2020 at 12:43PM

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