Last Updated on November 1, 2022
A minister within the German government’s left-wing coalition is calling for an end to a nationwide ban on fracking in order to cope with recent energy woes. Germany has been affected by continent-wide energy shortages as a result of sanctions on Russian oil. In 2021, Germany received 34% of its crude oil imports from Russia.
The energy situation was further complimented after the destruction of both Nord Stream pipelines, which were constructed to transport natural gas between Germany and Russia. Nord Stream 2 was never completed, but Nord Stream 1 was operating at 30% capacity until earlier this year.
While neither pipeline was in operation at the time of the blast, their destruction has taken an option off the table, prompting the nation to look elsewhere.
Some German ministers have raised fears that the country’s gas supply could run out over the winter. “If everything goes well, savings in Germany are high and if we have a bit of luck with the weather, we will have a chance at getting through the winter comfortably,” German Federal Economy Minister Robert Habeck said last month. “That means, however, that the storage facilities will be empty again at the end of the winter — in this case really empty, because we are going to use the gas,” he added.
As the crisis continues, officials have scrambled to meet the nation’s energy needs through a variety of ways. To that end, Christian Lindner, Germany’s Federal Finance Minister, is pushing for fracking to be legalized in Germany.
According to a report from German newspaper Der Spiegel, Linder has criticized the government’s reluctance to abandon or amend its climate change goals despite the fact that gas stockpiles could run out by the end of February. The minister has pushed for his colleagues to put ideological issues they have with the technology used for domestic drilling and evaluate the crisis at hand.
“We have to approach the funding quickly,” Linder said. He went on to list a number of potential fracking sites within Germany, adding that domestic demand is there.
“I am confident that in a few years we will be able to cover a relatively large demand from domestic gas sources,” he continued. “It’s advisable to do that when you look at the developments in the world.”
“It would be rather irresponsible to avoid fracking for ideological reasons,” Lindner argued. The last line appeared to be a jab at his own ruling coalition, which includes the climate alarmist Green Party.
Despite growing demand and the approaching winter, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has largely resisted calls to explore significant energy alternatives at the expense of his party’s climate goals. In one example, Scholz’s government attempted to prevent a handful of nuclear power plants to remain operational until the end of 2023, despite the fact that the power generated by those units is badly needed.
The German government is expected to push back in a similar way on fracking, Der Spiegel reported. Robert Habeck — who also serves as the nation’s climate minister — has vocally criticized fracking technology in the past. “We have a clear task: reduce the amount of energy we consume, at all levels,” he said earlier in the year.
While a lift on Germany’s fracking ban may be unlikely, the nation has taken small steps to lessen the burden at the expense of the government’s climate goals. As National File previously reported, Scholz’s government approved the return of three coal power units to the market. In order to return the units, which were previously slated for decommissioning, the government was forced to dismantle an adjacent wind farm.
Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg has even softened her stance against nuclear energy in face of the crisis. Recognizing that the country has dire energy needs, Thunberg recently said that between nuclear power and coal, she would prefer the former.