The SPD (Social Democratic Party) represents the interests of the German working class, especially unions. It is the largest left party in Germany but has lost voters to “die Linke” (the Left) and the Green Party.
The SPD and the Energiewende
The SPD joined with the German Green Party in calling for a phaseout of nuclear power in the 1980s. Talks between the SPD, the conservative and representatives of utilities with nuclear assets began in the 1990s and laid the groundwork for the German nuclear phaseout.
SPD member Gerhard Schroeder was chancellor of Germany from 1998 until 2005. During his time as chancellor, a number of steps were taken to increase renewable energy, including the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) which resulted in huge investment in solar and wind. The same year, the coalition between the Greens and the SPD reached an agreement with nuclear plant owners to phase out Germany’s nuclear power plants by around 2022.
Today the SPD calls for 65 percent of German energy to come from renewable energy by 2030, and a better energy network that can quickly bring clean energy where it needs to be. They also call for increased electromobility.
SPD politicians are walking a thin line between balance the concern for the climate and the concerns of their constituents. For example, the current prime minister of Brandenburg Dietmar Woidke (SPD) represents areas of the country which depend heavily on the brown coal industry. Not only will ambitious climate protection cost money, he says, it “must be used in such a way that structures are created that are sustainable, which then help to re-develop the region and contribute to its tax revenue.”