On wednesday evening, I have finally met our leading German Negotiator: Nicole Wilke.
In a meeting set up for all German NGOs, representatives from German Watch, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and others had the chance to ask a bit more detailed questions than usually.
It was quite interesting to see the general consensus among the German NGOs, regarding both the questions they wanted to ask and the positions they were representing themselves.
But even more surprising for me was the eloquence and intelligence of Nicole Wilke. Having come here to “track her down” and show my blog audience how much we need to do to push our German delegation towards the right direction, I felt a bit useless while listening to her indepth analysis of current politial processes and conflicts.
Referring to the current financial crisis, she stated that one needs to understand the different conflicting “urgencies of our time” and the situation that many politicians are in at the very moment.
After many very detailed questions that I could hardly follow, I finally got the chance to have my coming-out as a naive and non-climate-educated Blogger:
“Sorry to bother you, Ms. Wilke. I am just a blogger, not a Climate expert. Like most of our fellow countrymen in Germany and most of the general public out there, I don’t have any technical or political background knowledge that might be needed to understand all these details here. But what I do have, is a subtle feeling that these negotiations won’t ever achieve what needs to be done and that far too many countries/governments keep feeling far to comfortable in their old positions. You were talking about learning processes that can take some time – how about our own learnings in Germany? And how do we convince and educate our people to consume differently and thereby put pressure on companies to produce differently? How about saving Opel & GM at the same time as striving to be a leader in the Climate Negotiatons? How about the “Abwrackprämie”? Isn’t that hypocrisy at its very best? How can we handle both: Saving jobs on the one hand and the Climate on the other?”
Well, what can I say? I guess, Nicole Wilke answered the best way she could have, stating:
“Well, I could answer this question a bit better if I was a politician. But I am not really. I think it is not really a secret that we have elections this year in Germany and that due to that, all will be done to satisfy the short-term political needs in the first place, which is obviously the jobs of thousands of people of a company like Opel. I cannot change that, but what we try to push forward right here and right now is to build the right framework so that in our future, a company like Opel will be much more incentivised to build the right car that is not polluting our environment.”
Most charming though was her statement that NGOs are and will always be needed to push parties of all sides to make the right decision. Referring the EU commitment to a target of 30% emission-reduction till 2020, she said:
“I cannot open up this discussion again right now, since it is a very fragile political balance that we have there in the EU. But I do need you, we all need you, NGOs, to keep nagging and keep bothering and pushing us so that we do have the pressure to act accordingly at some point.”
To close the joint session, one of my NGO colleagues asked the most interesting question among all of them: “What, Ms. Wilke, is your personal outlook/forecast for the future process of these negotiations?”
Well, listen to her answer right here: