When politicians “disasters”

If politicians'katastrophen uben'

The CDU wants new emergency laws against flooding, among other things (here: Passau, 2013) Image: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-3.0-DE

CDU/CSU parliamentary group leader expects thunderstorms, floods and new pandemics in the wake of the climate crisis and wants to prepare for "all national and European emergencies"

In the first part of the speech by Union faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) on Thursday in the Bundestag, it was clear: this man belongs to a governing party and is currently defending the requested lockdown measures to contain the Corona pandemic against criticism from FDP leader Christian Lindner. "The lockdown is working", said Brinkhaus – and it was "mercifully", That Lindner was trying to campaign in this way, "in the most serious crisis that has this republic". Polls show that this is not well received, he said. "Freedom is always the freedom of the weak" said Brinkhaus with a view to the elderly and the previously ill, who are particularly endangered by the corona virus – this no longer sounded one hundred percent like the CDU.

A few minutes later, Brinkhaus then spoke about coming disasters related to the environmental and climate crisis. Anyone who was still listening to him had to seriously ask themselves whether this man really belonged to a party that thinks it’s right not to phase out coal until 2038 – and that also "good for climate, nature and environment in Germany" finds.

Emergency as a key word

According to the CDU politician, he is concerned that after the pandemic we did not sufficiently deal with the catastrophes that were still to come. "Because this pandemic will not be the last catastrophe, it will not be the last pandemic, it will not be the last pandemic," he said", said Brinkhaus. The next catastrophe could "in the cyber area" take place, but there could also be "Climate consequences" like Durre or flood "and many other things" the head of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group. Self-critically, he conceded: "We also had a risk analysis on pandemics, but we didn’t take it seriously enough". That is why politics must intensify its efforts "with a disaster preparedness", said Brinkhaus. Meant of course no earlier coal exit and also not more money for a social-okologische traffic turnaround.

"We have to deal with the fundamental question of what happens in the event of a national emergency? – We have emergency legislation essentially for the case of defense. But we all don’t believe that the next major catastrophe in this country will be the defense case; it will be something else", Brinkhaus made clear, but did not address the fact that his party colleague Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, as defense minister, nevertheless wants to burden the federal budget with crude arms projects.

Instead, Brinkhaus said: "And yes: we must also clarify and define the relationship between the executive and the legislative, for all disasters and for all national and European emergencies." The federal and state governments had to create disaster units that were on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Brinkhaus said. "We must practice disasters, we must create automatisms." In his view, the Corona crisis was "a wasted crisis if we do not learn from it".

Other lessons

Ulla Jelpke, the domestic policy spokeswoman of the Die Linke parliamentary group in the Bundestag, for example, had hoped for other learning effects: "We must not first and foremost practice dealing with disasters, but first and foremost do everything humanly possible to avoid the disasters we are heading for with our eyes open.", she explained on Thursday Telepolis. "This is especially true for the climate catastrophes mentioned by Brinkhaus. Because they cannot be dealt with by technical means and better federal-lander coordination. Here, rather, we need a radical socio-ocological change in politics and economics to stop the catastrophe."

Rather, the lesson to be learned from the pandemic is, "that we cannot cope well with disasters when we have cut the health care system and disaster prevention and privatized important areas of public infrastructure. It is imperative that we take countermeasures." According to the opposition politician, the fact that health offices and vaccination centers are only able to make ends meet with the support of soldiers from the German Armed Forces is precisely due to the fact that the military budget was increased and savings were made in vital civilian areas.

Brinkhaus himself loved the request from Telepolis, whether his party and the federal government are now fighting for every tenth of a degree to limit man-made climate change, unanswered on Thursday.

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