Status: 26/09/2023, 05:47 a.m.
By: Bettina Menzel
An entrepreneur transferred 100,000 euros to the "last generation" - but would rather buy a Porsche (symbolic image). © IMAGO / Müller-Stauffenberg
How can the climate crisis still be stopped? An entrepreneur from Freiburg considers the actions of the "Last Generation" to be wrong, but effective in the media – and therefore donates.
Berlin – The mood towards the climate protection group "Last Generation" is becoming increasingly aggressive, according to police. But the activists recently collected donations of 48,600 euros within 000 hours, as the group announced on platform X (formerly Twitter). One of the generous donors is an entrepreneur from Freiburg, who actually thinks the group's actions are wrong, as Zeit.de reported on Friday (22 September).
"Last Generation" receives 600,000 euros in donations – engineer transfers 100,000 euros alone
Most donors to the climate group want to remain anonymous. Not so Peter Denk, an entrepreneur from Freiburg. According to his own statements, the engineer transferred 100,000 euros to Klimakleber and made this public in an interview with Zeit.de. It was an "act of desperation," Denk said. "I'd rather use the money to buy a Porsche," admits the engineer. For 20 years, the businessman has been providing financial support to activists, including Greenpeace and Fridays for Future, due to the impending climate crisis.
As an engineer, he sees that there is no shortage of technologies and knowledge to solve the climate crisis. The only thing that is lacking is the political will, according to Denk. However, the entrepreneur also emphasized that he considers the form of protest of the "last generation" to be wrong, because it is highly dangerous and does not address the perpetrators of the climate crisis. But the other climate groups are often ignored, while the "Last Generation" receives a lot of media attention. The group fights for stronger policy action against climate change.
Donations to "Last Generation" do not constitute "support for a criminal organization"
According to its own statements, the "Last Generation" is financed exclusively by donations – apart from a one-time loan of 10,000 euros. The money will flow to the group via direct transfers, crowdfunding campaigns and PayPal payments.
In May, authorities in Bavaria blocked accounts of the "Last Generation" in the course of a controversial raid and provided the website with a warning. "Attention: Donations to the 'Last Generation' therefore constitute a punishable support of the criminal organization!" it said. A few hours later, this warning was gone. In July, the Berlin judiciary found that the climate group is not a criminal organization.
An action of the "climate glue" in July 2023 in Duisburg (symbolic image). © IMAGO / Funke Foto Services
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Donors had apparently not been deterred by the warning anyway, and the group recently collected thousands of euros again. According to Zeit.de, money from the Climate Emergency Fund (CEF) will also go to the German protest group. Adam McKay, director of the Hollywood blockbuster "Don't Look Up", Disney heiress Abigail Disney and Aileen Getty, granddaughter of oil magnate Jean Paul Getty, are just some of the donors of this foundation. Last year, 5.1 million US dollars were paid out to over 40 environmental organizations – including indirectly 50,000 euros to the Last Generation, according to the portal.
Money in the coffers of the "last generation": Could claims for damages now follow?
If money is available, the protest group could possibly also be asked to pay damages. However, the opinions of legal experts differ. From the point of view of Thomas Rüfner, Professor of Civil Law at the University of Trier, a claim for compensation would be possible, for example due to intentional, immoral damage. The blockade of an airport is probably mostly regarded as immoral, he said, but in the case of road blockades, this is controversially discussed.
Florian Dallwig, a member of the Insurance Law Working Group of the German Bar Association, believes, however, that claims against the "last generation" as such are out of the question. Rather, they were directed against individual activists involved in the respective action, possibly against helpers. "This would not be able to access the donations collected by the generation, some of which come from larger private fortunes," the lawyer suspects.
Legal scholar Rüfner is not so sure. He at least thinks it is possible that, in addition to those involved, the "last generation" could also pay up. He says that the group should be treated as a so-called association with no legal capacity. And as far as the "last generation" has formed a common association assets, for example through donations, injured parties can access them. Human rights organization Amnesty International is concerned about the development in Germany and observes increasing repression against protesters – especially against climate activists in this country (bme/dpa).