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Anyone who only insists on climate protection and sustainability is making a dangerous mistake

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Anyone who only insists on climate protection and sustainability is making a dangerous mistake

In an effort to appear as sustainable as possible, some institutions lose sight of their goal – and then things become dangerous.

Two current, very different examples demonstrate this development. It’s about food and money, and in both cases something goes terribly wrong because sustainability is suddenly made the deciding factor.

First example: The German Society for Nutrition has just presented its advice on what people should eat to stay healthy. The advice can have far-reaching consequences for the population, as it is generally used as a guideline for meals in daycare centers, schools, canteens and retirement homes as well as health insurance programs.

Doctors: “Climate protection is prioritized over health”

However, doctors are horrified by the recommendations of nutritionists. “Climate protection is placed above health,” complains the German Academy for Preventive Medicine (DPAM).

The medical association sees serious errors. There cannot be uniform recommendations for the diet of all people in Germany because their initial health conditions differ. The new recommendations could not only be of no use to larger parts of the population in Germany, but could even harm them.

The characterization of foods into those of “vegetable origin” and those of “animal origin” is scientific nonsense. The general avoidance of animal foods could be worrying: the recommendations do not guarantee that children and seniors, for example, receive an adequate supply of “high-quality protein, essential amino acids and fatty acids as well as a number of trace elements and vitamins”.

However, the recommendation “for everyone” to consume 300 grams of grain products daily is not only unhelpful for many millions of people in Germany, but is even dangerous to their health. “People need to know that 300 grams of grain products per day have the same effect as around 45 to 50 teaspoons of sugar. This is because the starch in the grain is nothing more than a chain of glucose,” explains Johannes Scholl, DAPM Vice President.

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“These recommendations are dangerous to the health of over 30 million people because they already have pre-existing conditions.” The doctors’ conclusion is: A number of statements in content are “outdated and not evidence-based”. In addition, the aspect of climate protection is apparently being placed above the health concerns of the population.

Efforts in the ECB: Make the economy “greener”.

The second example of an institution that has lost sight of its core goal with regard to sustainable behavior is the European Central Bank (ECB).

There is currently an internal dispute over the question of whether the ECB should focus its policy on making the economy “greener” or whether it should limit itself to its main goal, namely keeping prices stable in the euro zone.

The following happened at the ECB: Frank Elderson, one of six members of the ECB Executive Board and the central bank’s climate representative, unsettled employees at a meeting in February by announcing that people who did not support his green goals were not welcome.

“I don’t want these people anymore,” he is said to have said, according to listeners. And: “Why would we want to hire people who we have to reprogram? Because they come from the best universities but still don’t know how to use the word ‘Climate’ spelled?”

The ECB’s staff representatives are “shocked” by this statement. In an email that ended up with the Financial Times, among others, she explained that the idea of ​​“reprogramming” people was in “blatant contradiction to diversity and inclusion, especially diversity of thought.”

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Elderson’s stance was “authoritarian,” employees were quoted as saying anonymously. A free and open discussion about climate change – and the role the bank should play in combating it – is no longer possible in the Frankfurt-based organization.

In fact, the ECB has made the commitment to sustainable business a goal in its statutes:

“We are working to better assess, monitor and manage climate risks for monetary policy and investment operations as well as for the financial system. (…) We support an orderly transition to a CO2-neutral economy with measures that fall within our remit,” it says.

Expert: Critical debate has “become difficult”

The ECB argues that it has a legal obligation to help fight climate change, citing a formal secondary task that requires it to support the EU’s general economic policy.

Professionals from outside view this critically. “The discussion about the greening of central banking has become so polarized that a critical debate has become difficult,” said Daniel Gros, director of the Institute for European Policymaking at Bocconi University in Milan, to the news portal Politico.

And Volker Wieland, economist at the official Frankfurt committee of ECB observers, also believes that Elderson and the ECB overestimated themselves: “I think their influence on emissions in the euro area is very small. Here the instruments of the CO2 tax and emissions trading are much more effective than, for example, the policy of the ECB’s bond purchases.”

What all critics have in common is that the developments of the past few years prove them right: the ECB sat idly by and watched sharply rising inflation for months and then had to rapidly raise interest rates in quick succession in order to stop the devaluation of money.

Did she, critics ask, become so distracted by her sustainability ambitions that she became indifferent to monetary stability?

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