UK Green MEPs Molly Scott Cato and Jean Lambert took part in an exchange meeting in Bristol in April involving the Green Party of England and Wales, the German Green Party (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) and the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament. The meeting involved sharing knowledge and experiences on issues such as energy, divestment, refugees, right wing populism, youth and civil rights. It also involved a lot of hugs, as German and European Greens demonstrated they don’t want the UK to leave the EU!
Participants included Simone Peter, the co-spokesperson of the German Green Party; Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales; and MEPs from the UK and Germany.
The two-day meeting included an action to highlight Bristol’s terrible air quality, which contributes to the deaths of around 400 people a year.
It also included a very well attended panel discussion on ‘Building a Western Powerhouse’, exploring what we can learn from Germany’s renewable energy transition. This is giving power to the people and in the past decade the share of renewable electricity has risen from 6% to nearly 25%.
More than half of the investment in renewables has been made by small investors, meaning that this transition has empowered local communities and brought great wealth to rural communities.
It is widely acknowledged that the South West has better renewable resources than Germany and a similar transformation in the region has been calculated to have the potential to create 122,000 jobs and add over £4bn a year to the regional economy. Molly said:
“We already know about exciting developments with renewables in Germany, where Greens in power nationally and locally have created the right incentives for this industry of the future not only to flourish economically but also to be owned and controlled by local people. I am looking forward to discussing our achievements in the South West with our German colleagues and considering how they might support us to turn our extraordinary resources into a real Western Powerhouse.”