“Merkel was never a climate chancellor”: the 24-year-old makes demands on Scholz

“Merkel was never a climate chancellor”: the 24-year-old makes demands on Scholz

Build exhaust manifolds and demonstrate for climate protection? For Maximilian Herzog (24) from Hamburg, this is not a contradiction in terms. He is a member of the SPD, is involved in Fridays for Future and has now co-founded the SPD.Klima.Gerecht network. In an interview with MOPO, Herzog speaks about his demands on Olaf Scholz and why he is not with the Greens.

Can we still save the world?

I am convinced of that, otherwise I would not be able to do this work. But we need social climate protection. People have to have perspective. They should continue to do a job of which they are proud in the future.

What needs to be done?

The dire consequences of climate change must be mitigated and global warming limited to 1.5 degrees. That is a question of global justice: Only in this way will it still be possible to live and do business in many regions of the world. That is why it is a global responsibility – including the SPD here in Germany – to do everything possible to make this country climate-neutral as quickly as possible.

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SPD network makes demands on Olaf Scholz

What do you ask of Olaf Scholz?

The coal phase-out in 2030. It has to come – and will come. The price for the European certificate trading of CO₂ is already over 60 euros. We know that some of the coal is no longer profitable today. Therefore, the coal phase-out will come in a market economy by 2030, but it must also be shaped politically.

How should that look in concrete terms?

The sooner you recognize that the coal phase-out will come in 2030, the sooner you can shape this change. Another point is a fully renewable energy supply by 2035. In contrast to Olaf Scholz, we are calling for an even more ambitious policy: a tripling of the expansion of renewable energies.

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We really have to ignite the turbo: for the expansion of solar systems, the expansion of wind systems. Two percent of the country’s area must be immediately available for renewable energies. Globally, nobody really can take us seriously if we need six years for a wind turbine to be approved.

Hasn’t Scholz been tackling the issue of climate protection enough in the election campaign?

Olaf Scholz can become Germany’s first climate chancellor. Ms. Merkel was never a climate chancellor. She wanted to be it at the beginning, but then didn’t advocate it with the necessary conviction. Scholz can do that. It is right that he is focusing on climate protection, but of course the goals have to be right. The network SPD.Klima.Gerecht was founded because the goals are not yet ambitious enough for us.

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The SPD belonged to the government, the courageous action for climate protection was manageable.He brakes them. That was the Union for us. That does not mean that the SPD has always campaigned sufficiently for climate protection. But she tried.

Where did the Union slow down the SPD?

For example, when it came to reducing heating costs for tenants. Of course, these increase with rising oil and gas prices. The Union has always resisted to burden the landlords more, but only they can have a new heating installed. That’s a problem. It is important to meet the climate goals, but we must prevent society from falling apart. We have to take everyone with us. At this point, the Union has always blocked.

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Fair climate protection takes everyone with it

And what makes your program different from that of the Greens?

I worked at Mercedes myself and am a member of IG Metall. I know how hard people work in this country and how hard it is to build something. I spoke to them and learned how great some of the fears of this change are. It is important that we recognize the lifetime achievement of everyone in this country. This is what the SPD stands for. People must be able to trust that they will not fall over. This aspect is particularly important to me.

What did you do at Mercedes?

As a student, I built exhaust manifolds there – 300 pieces a day. And met people who have been working night shifts at Mercedes for 30 years. They keep the industry going in this country.

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Exhaust manifold and climate protection must have irritated some.

For me, that was exactly the perspective I needed. To lay a foundation for my political understanding. I have seen and understood what these people have built and what it means to them. That shaped me.

How does fair climate protection succeed?

It works when we are honest. To do this, we have to look at people’s individual realities. Of course, people will continue to be dependent on cars in the future, for example in the country. Still, it’s about finding more environmentally friendly solutions. We have to make it clear to people that we want to shape change together with them.

What does this change look like in concrete terms?

Abolish climate-damaging subsidies, introduce mobility allowances, expand local public transport, and adopt a fair housing and social policy. In the future too, people should be able to afford an apartment in the city. The mobility allowance is intended to support people with less income – unlike the commuter allowance. The wealthy are more likely to benefit from this, as it is a tax-free allowance. The mobility allowance is a fixed sum that is deducted from the tax liability. That is the DNA of the SPD: We don’t want to leave anyone behind and meet at eye level.