Mary Poppins and the “Wasserstoffbeschleunigungsgesetz”

### Reader’s Letter to The Guardian, 31st May 2024 ###

Dear Editor,

Approaching the EU elections on 9th June a whole lot of politicians here in Germany are busy posturing and tuning up their messages. 

As it was, Robert Habeck, vice Chancellor and “Minister for Industry and Climate-protection”, was on WDR/ARD (mainstream German radio, link, from Minute 18) talking about his plans …

His mantra seems to be “Super for business, super for the climate” with him confident that “economic growth and climate-protection” can be reconciled by implementing such things as the “Wasserstoffbeschleunigungsgesetz”. This has got nothing to do with Mary Poppins’ “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” but is a law to promote “Hydrogen Technology”, alongside another law to allow Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) under the North Sea.

Such statements make me DESPAIR because everyone knows full-well that both hydrogen- and CCS- technologies are highly dubious with them being technology- and infrastructure-intensive, extremely energy-hungry and, in the case of hydrogen, highly dangerous. On top of this we have the fact that CO2 from carbon-capture is often pumped into old oil fields (e.g. in the North Sea) to squeeze every last drop out of the reserves (link below). That does not help the climate. At all!

And with the apparent universal emphasis on “Growth”, there is a glaring absence of the most obvious method of reducing emissions which would be to crank down our rapaciously consumerist economies and life-styles. But no one (neither politicians nor the public) is willing to go there because such measures would compromise our “convenience” and our “creature comforts” (in the West) … and impact the profits of big-business!

On top of this, rather than talk about “real issues”, politicians seem to repeatedly flaunt their indignation at the proliferation of “fake news”. I cannot judge this but it does seem a tad too fantastical, just as Robert Habeck’s musings are firmly in the realm of Mary Poppins. Unfortunately, Mr Habeck does not, like her, have a “magic handbag” which can produce the solutions which we so urgently need.

Yes, I despair.

Alan Mitcham

Link to interview with Robert Habeck:  (from minute 18)

Link to article on Carbon Capture being used to produce more oil:






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