Heated debate at Maischberger: Kretschmann on climate activists: "The end does not justify the means"

The discussion about the actions of the group "Last Generation" does not break off.

Heated debate at Maischberger: Kretschmann on climate activists: "The end does not justify the means"

The discussion about the actions of the group "Last Generation" does not break off. An environmental activist is a guest on the ARD talk show Maischberger and tries to justify it. Baden-Württemberg's Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann clearly disagrees.

The two couldn't be more different. Here the militant climate activist Aimée van Baalen, there the relaxed but slightly angry Bavarian Minister for Science and Art, Markus Blume. You are a guest on the “Maischberger” talk show on Tuesday evening to argue about the protests by environmental activists.

Blume reports on an action by the "last generation" in the Munich Pinakothek, in which the culturally and historically significant frame of a picture was said to have been damaged. Aimée van Baalen confirms the incident and emphasizes that the damage caused will be paid for by the person who caused it.

There are currently 33 environmental activists in "preventive custody" in Bavaria. This step was heavily criticized, including from politicians. Maischberger does not speak to him and frees the minister to comment on it. He had already avoided a statement on the comparison of the "Last Generation" with the "Red Army Faction", for which the CSU regional group leader in the Bundestag, Alexander Dobrindt, had recently been heavily criticized.

In the same program, the Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, from the Greens, had previously criticized the actions of the activists. He can understand the concerns of the young people, he says. "But you always have to make sure that the means chosen are effective. If 85 percent of the population reject the actions, they have traded in lemons. Then they damage forced environmental protection instead of advancing it. The end does not always justify the means ."

Markus Blume has a similar view: "Anyone who damages or destroys works of art, who puts people in danger, cannot call themselves climate protectors. They are more of a climate radical and must be asked whether they accept the level of responsibility that they expect from also for his own actions."

Van Baalen is convinced: Yes, she can. "Sticking to the road feels appropriate to the drastic," she says. In the case of works of art, the activists made sure that no damage was caused, and emergency lanes were kept free in the event of road blockades. "We are terrified that things will be destroyed, that things will lie fallow. We should express this fear every day when it comes to the climate. Ultimately, in a shattered world and in a shattered society, no one will take these pictures look at."

Blume considers such "apocalyptic horror scenarios" to be inappropriate. The Fridays for Future demonstrations have brought about a rethink. You can talk to each other about the fight against the climate crisis, about photovoltaics and other renewable energies, but also about nuclear power. And anyway: "If you chain yourself to coal-fired power plants, I could understand that, but not to works of art."

Above all, Blume goes against the grain that the "last generation" is ignoring the law. "That's how it started with other movements, which then became radicalized," he says - and adds: "The next thing is property damage." However, he can understand the concerns of climate protectionists. He even believes that more money needs to be spent on climate protection. But he rejects the actions of the "last generation". "The clingy climate activist has just as little to do with the issue of climate protection as the hooligan has with football," said Blume.

For van Baalen, their protests are definitely democratically legitimate. For example, the "last generation" is demanding a speed limit on motorways, which is what the majority of Germans want. But because politicians are not reacting, the only thing left to her and her fellow campaigners is civil resistance. This has often led to changes, for example the introduction of women's suffrage. "We have exhausted all legal means. This is the effective means that we have left."

It is important for van Baalen that no violence may be used against people in their actions. But: "Protest only works if it causes a certain amount of friction and if it takes place in the middle of society."