If a cultural scientist with a modified quote from the punk-rock band Slime in an article on ZEIT ONLINE wishes for the death of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, then it is not enough to label this history-forgotten and anti-democratic. If he immediately demands the extermination of a whole political idea, that of Social Democracy, in favor of those he favors, then I would like to take a stand as a social-democratic environmental politician. For unlike what it sounds like, I am convinced that the climate crisis can also be tackled within a pluralistic democracy.
Social justice in the social democratic environmental program is neither historically nor in the present a "discursive counterpart" to climate protection. Already in the election campaign of 1961, at the height of the economic miracle, Willy Brandt put environmental protection on the federal agenda for the first time: "Frightening findings show that an increase in leukemia, cancer, rickets and blood cell changes has even been observed in connection with the pollution of air and water It is disturbing to see that this joint task, which is about the health of millions of people, has so far been almost completely neglected. " And with a special look at the so-called "Herzkammer der Sozialdemokratie" he continued: "The sky over the Ruhrgebiet must turn blue again!"
Brandt thus set the guard rails that give direction to social democratic environmental and climate policy until today. First, environmental policy must not only serve the protection of the environment and the climate itself, but also the promotion of social justice. Thus, the climate crisis also requires that the ecological question should not be considered separately from the social question.
Secondly, environmental protection is a "common task", ie a task of the state and politics. The social and welfare state is probably the greatest invention of social democracy. It has evolved since its inception and has been adapted to new circumstances. He is also urgently needed in times of climate emergency.
This state of emergency is undoubted - and even in the SPD it is clear: If the climate changes, our livelihood changes. Sea levels are rising and weather extremes are destroying livelihoods. Climate change is becoming an escape cause. The climate crisis intensifies social inequalities.
But it is also true that strong welfare states with robust social systems are indispensable in the fight against the climate crisis. They provide equal opportunities, access to the labor market, fair working conditions, social security and inclusion in times of rapid change in the (working) world. The climate crisis forces us to change our industrial production, our agriculture, our consumption, completely new economic sectors are created. And what must not be forgotten: Not only the climate crisis, but also digitization and globalization lead to far-reaching changes. Developing the social and welfare state accordingly is the central task of the SPD as welfare state party.