Blame The Germans

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Blame The Germans

German farmer, Heiner Luetke Schwienhorst, is suing the German government for neglecting climate change. Schwienhort suffered from soaring temperatures and droughts, causing him to lose the majority of his crops for three years straight. And because nothing is ever a farmer’s fault, he decided to sue. 

 

Strangely, this court case goes against the trend that has seen farmers protest more stringent climate regulations. 

 

This month alone, The Netherlands saw three major protests where farmers used their tractors to break into government buildings and close 375km of roads throughout the country. 

 

The reason for the ‘peaceful protests’ was the government’s initiative to kerb nitrogen emissions in response to a lost court-case in May.

 

Germany too has received opposition from the agrarians after it wanted to introduce stringent laws to ban the use of glyphosate (an aggressive weedkiller) and to protect biodiversity. It turns out, growing one-hundred and fifty square kilometres of potatoes does not equal biodiversity.

 

Of course, Schwienhorst’s finger-pointing isn’t entirely logical, as the government alone can’t be held accountable for a change in weather and climate. Government is put in place based on votes by the sensible and the nonsensical. 

 

This either results in a government that does its best to save baby owls or gives you a President who thinks windmills cause cancer. Call it the beauty of democracy. 

 

Sadly, the flip side of democracy has been that governments and political parties from both the Netherlands and Germany have exempted farmers from many climate policies. 

 

Germany has even put aside €500 million to prop up failing farmers, and the Dutch government up until recently turned a blind eye to farmer’s nitrogen emissions. 

 

Even about 1/3 of the entire EU budget is set aside to subsidise farmers, causing them to outcompete farmers from outside the EU. The other third is going to Nigel Farage and Jean-Claude’s supply of Marlboro reds. 

 

But, this whole climate change thing and the 2020 climate goals are only a recent phenomenon, right? Besides, when ski resorts go out of business and the pacific islands turn into submarines, how do you decide who’s emissions did what? 

 

Unfortunately, that line of thinking doesn’t fly.

 

Most governments committed to the 2020 climate goals way back in 2012. Said climate goals were an amendment of the Kyoto protocol agreed in 1997, which was an extension of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC’s findings were based on the IPCC’s report first published in 1990 after it was founded in 1988. And Breathe. 

 

So, thirty years of flirting with aggressive farming lobbies and saying “but the others are doing it too”, shows that Schwienhorst might be on to something. The chances of him winning the court case are very slim, but it will hopefully cause some attention. Go out there and buy his potatoes! Oh, right. He has none. 

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