Patrick Graichen, energy transition mastermind, former head of the vile Agora Energiewende think-tank, and powerful Staatssekretär to the German Minister of Economic Affairs Robert Habeck, resigned his office Wednesday in disgrace. It is the first serious defeat to be dealt to the catastrophic climate cabal steering Germany energy policy. For Graichen personally, this means very little; he’s merely been forced into a comfortable early retirement. Habeck and the crazed energy transitioners, on the other hand, have been hurt – not defeated, but undeniably and clearly hurt.
The official details are relatively boring, but they mask much more significant truths – about what the energy transition actually is, who it is for, and how it works. I will try to explain some of these here.
First of all, you have to understand that the transition to renewable energy is no joke. If it’s ever fully accomplished, it will mean the immiseration and deindustrialisation of Germany. Until 2022, it has been managed very carefully, as the slow boiling of a frog. Ever more windmills, ever more solar installations, ever more expensive electricity, but nothing so sudden or drastic as to cause alarm.
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The pandemic, however, has destabilised politics and society, even as it has driven the ambitions of politicians and bureaucrats to ever new heights. These are men who watched the state impose mass house arrests and coerce the vaccination of millions, and that experience has filled them with new, much more radical ideas about what is possible and where the limits of their power might be. The energy crisis arising from the sanctions against Russia added additional desperation. No sooner had lunatics like Graichen finally gotten their hands on some modicum of real power, than they were forced to extend the operating permits of nuclear plants and buy untold quantities of coal. They responded with that same steely authority we saw for the first time from the lockdowners and the vaccinators returned, by proposing the Gebäudeenergiegesetz (GEG), which imposes crushingly expensive energy requirements on private homes, in service of reducing the emissions from residential heating.
Boomers are the most influential political bloc in Germany, and unlike many of the other insane policies we’ve seen, the GEG would hit them especially hard. Many are pensioners on fixed incomes, and they are also disproportionately likely to own their residences and to be liable for the insane expenses which the GEG will impose. Habeck and Graichen did very little to allay their concerns. They downplayed the costs and argued unconvincingly that the law would actually save consumers money in the longer term. Habeck could hardly do otherwise; he and his Greens are merely the face of these policies, which have been dreamed up over years in the thick warrens of think tanks and NGOs, out of sight and beyond public pressure.
While the climate cabal have a firm hold on energy policy, they’re not the only power centre in the German state. Beginning in April, resistance has been building in many quarters, much of it focused on Graichen as a weak point and a growing political liability.
This is how the the so-called Trauzeugen-Affäre is to be understood. In April, particular controversy accumulated around the fact that Graichen had voted to place his close personal friend Michael Schäfer (who had served as best man at his wedding) to head of the German Energy Agency, or DENA. The DENA is a federally owned organisation tasked with coordinating the energy transition. Habeck defended his Staatssekretär against the charges of nepotism, but nobody was satisfied, and so on Wednesday Habeck announced that internal audits had uncovered another compliance violation. In this second case, Graichen had supposedly approved funding for a climate protection initiative proposed by a regional chapter of BUND, where his sister Verena was a former chair and board member. This was “one error too many,” Habeck explained, and so Graichen had to go. It was, of course, a political decision; Habeck had known about this additional violation for weeks. He wanted merely to stop the unrelenting criticism of himself and limit the damage to his party by offering Graichen as a scapegoat.
The truth is that Graichen’s relatives and personal friends are strewn throughout the think-tanks and the NGOs of the climate cabal. This didn’t just come to light in April, although the press has felt a new freedom to report on these matters since the outcry against the GEG. Graichen’s nepotism is not merely a reflection of an arrogance deriving from the power he has accumulated, as many journalists suggest. Personal relationships are how you maintain internal loyalty and messaging discipline, which is crucial for implementing the highly specific, controversial and catastrophic policies that fall under the heading of ‘energy transition.’ The problem for Graichen and his associates, is to create the illusion of a single unified Science that requires nothing but their specific desired solutions. They use all of the organisations under their control to outline and propagate this Science, and flood bureaucrats and politicians with white papers dictating what exactly they have to do. Everybody has to be on the same page for this. Personal connection within the climate cabal are therefore highly important; mafias are run the same way.
Whenever anybody talks about the Science, you should of course be on guard. What you’re being fed is likely to be anything but scientific, and the energy transition path outlined by Graichen and the network of organisations around abounds in odd idiosyncrasies. Together, these suggest that limiting emissions is at best a secondary goal. There is of course the puzzling mania to phase out nuclear power, but there are many other things too. This Twitter thread, for example, draws attention to the general hostility of Agora Energiewende to energy storage, which is crucial for any grid that is to be powered by intermittent energy sources like wind and solar. Agora has churned out statement after statement declaring that “the energy transition need not wait for power storage facilities,” until the grid runs on 60% or more renewable power. The little-noticed effect of this neglect, is to make the market for reserve power much more lucrative. The more intermittent energy sources there are in the grid, the more participants in this limited market can earn, either by taking payments to reduce energy consumption, or by supplying expensive short-term reserve power to counteract intermittent production. Investments in storage technology would destroy the possibility of profiting from intermittency, and it’s very likely for this reason that nobody is interested. This calls to mind things like Enron’s role in the California energy crisis around the year 2000, and one wonders ultimately how deeply the energy industry is implicated in the German transition to renewable power sources.
Graichen is out, but that isn’t nearly enough. The cabal will now find a new leader and attempt to forge on as before. They will presumably dial in their brinkmanship, turn the temperature down a little bit and try to calm the frogs. But they’re not going anywhere.