Elon Musk is a man in a hurry. Less than a year after he announced the choice of the European site for Tesla's future Gigafactory in Grünheide, near Berlin, in the Land of Brandenburg, the gigantic construction site is progressing at a pace to which we are not very used in the region. The airport at Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport, started in 2006, is currently … ten years behind schedule from the initially planned opening.
Not enough to disturb Mr. Musk's optimism. During his visit to the site in early September, the entrepreneur said: “Deutschland rocks! " (“Germany rocks! "), to the curious crowd. He's been confident that his factory will open in the summer of 2021, which is expected to initially produce half a million "cool cars", as well as batteries. In Brandenburg, we still hardly dare to believe it.
Forest, lizards and snakes
In a rather rural and little industrialized eastern region, this heavenly sign is unexpected. Thirty years after reunification, the most charismatic industrialist on the planet set his sights on the region to set up his state-of-the-art automobile factory. Up to 40,000 people could eventually find employment there.
A month later, the euphoria subsided somewhat. Since September 23, angry citizens and environmental activists have faced Tesla's leadership. Their goal: to stop construction. They worry about the Brandenburg Forest, the water in a drought-prone area, the protection of lizards and snakes. Tesla, to go faster, is currently working with provisional permits from the authorities, and is taking the risk of continuing construction.
To save the climate, should we invent new low-carbon technologies, and sacrifice a few hectares of forest for that?
The method goes wrong. In the face of hundreds of objections filed, the public discussion process has just been extended, and tension is mounting. Will we come to an agreement? The president of the region, Dietmar Woidke, is trying to reassure the business press about the positive outcome of the talks. The terms of the debate go far beyond Brandenburg: to save the climate, should we invent new low-carbon technologies, and for that, sacrifice a few hectares of forest, or on the contrary counter the ambitions of industry, never as virtuous as? she claims, and protect natural spaces?
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