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Germany Joins America in Energy Suicide Pact
Are the Germans irrational? Dr. Steven Pinker seems to think so. Professor Pinker, a prominent Harvard psychologist, told the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel recently that if mankind wanted to stop climate change without stopping economic growth too, the world needed more nuclear energy, not less. He agreed that Germany’s decision to step out of nuclear was “paranoid.”
The former German government of Angela Merkel decided to phase out both nuclear power and coal plants. The last German reactor is scheduled to shut down by the end of 2022, and the last coal-fired plant by 2038. At the same time, the government has encouraged the purchase of supposedly climate-friendly electric cars—increasing the demand for electrical power.
Renewable energy sources will not compensate for the loss of fossil and nuclear power. Unreliable wind accounts for more than 25 percent of Germany’s electric supply. However, it still needs fossil fuel backup from other countries to support its grid when there is insufficient wind and solar power.
Numerous Germans are displeased by the many fields of wind turbines, and some are protesting. There is also growing resistance to the power lines needed to transport electricity from coasts to industrial centers. Over 3,000 miles of new power lines are required to support Germany’s energy revolution, and only a small fraction have been built thus far.
Sixty percent of Germans oppose nuclear power. After the nuclear accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan in 2011, Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered the end of nuclear energy once and for all.
A return to nuclear appears to be completely unthinkable for the German Green Party. Confronted with these competing convictions as to climate, the Greens seem to have no good answer. When Annalena Baerbock, the party’s co-leader, was asked on national television if the country should stick with nuclear power longer to allow a quicker shutdown of coal plants, she rejected the idea emphatically. “No one in this country wants nuclear waste buried in his neighbor’s garden,” she exclaimed.
The tragedy about Germany’s energy experiment is that the country’s almost religious antinuclear attitude doesn’t leave room for advances in technology. Scientists in America, Russia, and China believe that it is possible to run nuclear power plants on radioactive waste — which might solve the problem of how to store used fuel elements, one of the core arguments against nuclear.
By shutting down its entire nuclear sector in a rush, Germany loses far more opportunities than dangers. It forfeits the capacity to connect to a technology that might prove the safest and most “climate-friendly” we have yet seen. At the very least, using Germany’s existing nuclear plants would make an expeditious move away from fossil fuels possible.
The Suicide Pact
Recently President Biden and then-Chancellor Merkel launched the U.S.-Germany Climate and Energy Partnership as part of their ongoing work together on addressing what they believe to be the threat of climate change. Both countries are committed to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and taking decisive action this decade to keep a 1.5-degree Celsius temperature limit within reach, an entirely impractical objective, of course.
Nevertheless, Biden and Merkel share the goals of leading the world to develop the innovative tools that they say are urgently needed to accelerate global climate action and achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in their economies by 2050 at the latest.
The agreement says that the United States and Germany will invest in a sustainable economy that drives inclusive growth, supports communities, and creates good jobs and a healthy environment on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. In reality, it will reduce growth, damage communities, and destroy jobs in an increasingly more polluted environment.
Regardless, the US and Germany intend the Partnership to include three key areas of cooperation:
1 – Climate Action: The United States and Germany will push to raise global climate ambition and work bilaterally and multilaterally to accelerate reaching a net-zero future.
They will develop actionable roadmaps and policies for near-term and long-term reduction of emissions to keep a 1.5-degree Celsius limit insight; coordinate on climate and trade agendas; mobilize finance for sustainable development; advance sectoral decarbonization and address short-lived climate pollutants, and coordinate on common interests in multilateral fora including the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the climate tracks in the G20, and G7.
2 – The United States and Germany will collaborate on developing and deploying critical energy technologies.
They will advance renewable energy technologies and grid integration of variable renewable energy, including through energy storage; collaborate on sustainable hydrogen technologies; cooperate on efficiency measures across the building and industrial sectors; increase the adoption of electric vehicles; promote technology commercialization from research institutions to industry; advance reliable and resilient energy systems and supply chains; cooperate on advanced sustainable energy systems while promoting inclusivity, supporting communities, and strengthening the workforce; and coordinate in multilateral energy fora including the energy tracks in the G20 and G7, Mission Innovation, Clean Energy Ministerial, International Energy Agency, and IRENA.
3 – The United States and Germany will collaborate to accelerate sustainable energy in emerging economies critical to tackling the climate crisis and preventing the use of energy as a coercive tool.
They will mobilize investment in Central and Eastern Europe, including by supporting Ukraine’s energy transformation, energy efficiency, and energy security; mobilize investment in sustainable energy in major and growing emitters around the world, such as those in South and Southeast Asia; develop energy policy and regulations for increased adoption of renewables and sustainable fuel alternatives like sustainable hydrogen, and pursue technology and technical assistance collaboration with major emerging economies to speed decisive action to curb emissions this decade and enable swift net-zero transitions.
All of this political hot air comes as Germany’s price of electricity has skyrocketed, now three times greater than that in the US.
This weekend, on Saturday, April 16, and Sunday, April 17, at 11 am and 8 pm both days, on America Out Loud Talk radio’s show THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY, we will have as our guest Wolfgang Muller, a German energy expert, to discuss the wrong-headed policies of his government and how its citizens are responding to them.
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