In recent years, the role of the state in sustainability transitions has received increasing attention. Germany is often perceived as a forerunner in climate and environmental politics. Building on critical theories of the state, this paper explores the role of the German state in two key fields of society–nature relationships: energy (electricity) and transportation. Whereas Germany's energy transition (Energiewende) is widely praised internationally, its mobility transition (Verkehrswende) is a more difficult endeavour, as the German car industry is at the core of the national model of capitalism, specialising in the premium market segment. Against this background, Germany's status as an environmental leader is questioned as there is a strong state–capital nexus, which admittedly leaves space for green politics in case of intense social struggles. If, in addition, technological alternatives are developed embracing the potential to renew the country's ‘accumulation strategy’, the window of opportunity for green politics widens. In contrast to the Energiewende, which was at least partially accompanied by a decentralisation of power generation and the questioning of existing power relations, there is little indication that the German state will push for a mobility turnaround that goes beyond a limited greening of the automobile.
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Haas, T. (2021). From Green Energy to the Green Car State? The Political Economy of Ecological Modernisation in Germany. New political economy, 26(4), 660-673. doi:10.1080/13563467.2020.1816949.
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- Social Transformation and Policy Advice in Lusatia