From ideologue to pragmatist: The change in the office of State Secretary for Energy in the Federal Ministry of Economics could not be much greater. Patrick Graichen, a puppet master with an often brute agenda, is succeeded by Philipp Nimmermann, a cool economist and integrative head of administration from Hesse, who has so far had nothing to do with climate and energy issues.
Hardly anyone in Berlin's "environmental bubble" knows him, and that is exactly what is intended: Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) does not want to expose himself again to the accusation of relying on the old eco-networks, in which everyone helps each other, is sometimes close friends or even relatives.
Make no mistake: Nimmermann is also a deep-rooted green plant, and he is one of Habeck's loyalists from Schleswig-Holstein. But he is not suspected of pursuing politics from the point of view of the climate protection avant-garde, which in its fight against global warming forgets the people it claims to want to protect.
For Habeck, Nimmermann's appointment is a liberation and also an offer to the coalition partners. The Hessian could "create broadly supported solutions in a politically charged environment," the minister said on Monday. He will "rethink the processes with a fresh eye". This is exactly what is urgently needed if the Building Energy Act is to become something about the heat transition.
There would be a viable way to get the SPD and FDP back on board: the carbon dioxide price from the Fuel Emissions Trading Act would have to rise sharply in order to provide technology-neutral incentives for replacing heating systems and insulation.
At the same time, the revenues should benefit low-income households. The government has long since decided on the CO2 price and energy money, but has never implemented them consistently. If Nimmermann were to amend the Heating Act accordingly, that would be exactly the new beginning that is expected of him.