Bangalore International Centre had arranged a Talk by Mr. Reinhard Hans Butikofer, President of Alliance 90/Greens Party, Germany on Tuesday, the 5th February, 2008 at 6.30 PM. Mr. Butikofer delivered his talk on the subject “To Get Green and grow – Arguments for a green market economy”.
In a brief welcome address, the Director of the Centre outlined the emergence of the German Green Party in the late 1970s and the role played by the environmentalists and peace activists in its consolidation as a political party with pronounced left-of-the-centre approaches to various emerging social and political issues. He delineated the role played by Mr. Butikofer in shaping the policy of the young party and his upward movement within the party structure from the level of a grass-root worker to that of the Co-Chairman of the party.
In a free-wheeling talk, Mr. Butikofer outlined as to how the various segments of the German society who felt strongly opposed to pollution, expanded use of nuclear power, NATO strategy and certain aspects of life in a highly industrialized society, got together to form the core of the Greens Party of Germany and slowly built up their political clout, which ultimately led to the Greens Party joining the federal government in collaboration and coalition with the Social Democrats. The ultra radical image of the Greens Party, Mr. Butikofer stressed, had become somewhat moderate in recent years in order to accommodate the diverse interests and needs of several other segments of population, who have their inherent faith on the core contents of the Greens’ philosophy, but not in every manifestation of some of its radical approaches. In a lucid exposition, Mr. Butikofer emphasized the urgency and need for control of Greenhouse Gases and harmful emissions and the fact that this was essential for ensuring cost-effectiveness. Talking about alternate sources of energy, he was bullish about the prospects of wind and solar energy and the need to foster such alternate sources with innovative incentives. He was very clear that energy efficiency would have to be the guiding spirit behind the utilization of existing sources of energy. He was somewhat skeptical about bio-fuels and pointed out that the experience of Germany in this respect was not happy. He was fairly pessimistic about the possibilities of nuclear energy adding substantially to the general availability of energy and sounded a note of caution about the safety hazards involved. The question-and-answer session was lively and Mr. Butikofer’s candid expression of his views was much appreciated It was indeed an informative and thought-provoking evening for the discerning audience which was present.