Just Like The Duracell Bunny

Germany’s Energiewende (energy turnaround) just keeps on going.

Not only is the cost part still working: The cost of government subsidies for green energy is passed directly through to consumers. As a result, German households pay twice as much for electricity as their US counterparts.

Coal

The unreliability of renewables keeps on working, too: Berlin has little choice but to rely on electricity generation from dirty coal-fired power stations (evil nuclear power has been turned off here).

Which brings us to the next absurd turn of events.:  A striking example of the absurdity of this emerged this week with the publication of a letter from Germany’s vice-chancellor to the new Swedish centre-left government. Ms Merkel’s deputy warned of serious consequences for electricity supplies and jobs if Vattenfall, Sweden’s state-owned utility, ditched plans to expand two coal mines in Germany. While the Germans may need the dirty lignite these facilities produce, the Swedes are under pressure to scale back the mines because of popular concerns in Sweden about CO2 emissions.

“It can’t work without Russian gas”

The German energy turnaround can’t, that is. And that’s why the way things look right now, the turnaround is about to get turned around – yet again.

Power

If Germany makes its goal of having 80 percent of its power come from renewable sources by 2050, there is no question it will add to the country’s energy security. But along the way, as it takes nuclear power plants offline and builds up its renewable network, the country remains reliant on fossil fuels – and that means Russia.

Germany gets some 35 percent of its natural gas and oil from Russia, as well as significant quantities of coal, a dependency that weakens Germany’s energy switchover plan, according to Hans-Werner Sinn, a prominent economist.

“Es wird eine neue Betrachtung der gesamten Energiepolitik geben”

NGOs Go Home

NGOs went home, I mean. Or at least a whole bunch of them just did.

NGO

It’s either our way or the highway said spokesmen at Oxfam, the WWF, Nabu, BUND and Friends of the Earth, among others, shortly before heading for the highway today.

They had been attending something called a “United Nations Climate Change Conference” in Warsaw and suddenly got completely and totally pissed off at the slow speed of progress and the lack of, well, media interest or ambition among those doing the negotiating. And at Poland, the host country. Poland is bad because, unlike Germany, for instance, it burns coal in its power plants.

Although holding their collective breaths until turning blue in the face hadn’t worked earlier in the day, the impulsive Weltverbesserer (starry-eyed idealists) are now convinced that this impressive act of pouty petulance is sure to put back more urgency and agitation into the ever so humdrum and tedious global climate change debate.

So you asked for this, world. Don’t say you didn’t.

“Der Zynismus hier ist nicht mehr auszuhalten.”

CO2 Is Bad, Right?

Germany has produced 2 percent more CO2 than it did the previous year, 20 million tons more. Oh yeah, and there had been an increase in CO2 production the year before that, too.

CO2

Uh, I thought that this Energiewende (energy turnaround) thing was supposed to reduce these emissions. I mean, after turning off all of the German nuclear power plants and all, CO2 emissions just had to have dropped, right? I was never very good at science, though, much less at rocket science. This Scheiße is clearly way too complicated for me.

“Nach ersten überschlägigen Schätzungen dürften sich die energiebedingten CO2-Emissionen in Deutschland um etwa 20 Millionen Tonnen oder um reichlich zwei Prozent erhöhen.”

PS: Speaking of Scheiße, it turns out, to my amazement, that there actually are Germans who don’t like dogs. There seems to be a new anti-dog movement in the making that is being spearheaded by a magazine called Kot und Köter (Crap and Muts). I guess this had to happen sooner or later. And Kot causes CO2 emissions too, right?

Kot

How Alarming

No, not that shocking IPCC global warming report (yawn). Alarming is just how much of a fiasco Germany’s Energiewende (energy turnaround) is turning out to be.

Wetter

Michael Limburg, vice-president of the European Institute for Climate and Energy, told CNN that the government’s energy targets are “completely unfeasible.”

“Of course, it’s possible to erect tens of thousands of windmills but only at an extreme cost and waste of natural space,” he said. “And still it would not be able to deliver electricity when it is needed.”

Limburg told CNN the rapid transition to renewables is economically “insane,” arguing that wind farms will cost at least 13 times more than traditional coal plants.

He added: “Offshore wind is somewhat better in performance, cost and usability but still you have to spend six times as much as what you have to spend for a conventional power plant.”

Germans are already facing some of the highest energy bills in Europe.

According to the Institute for Energy Research, this year German electricity rates will increase by over 10% due to a surcharge for using more renewable energy and a further 30 to 50% price increase is expected in the next ten years.

Blackouts are another problem facing Germany’s energy industry…

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a report that a hiatus in warming this century, when temperatures have risen more slowly despite growing emissions, was a natural variation that would not last.

Green Logic

This is how you save the world (from Climate Change).

Energy

German consumers already pay the highest electricity prices in Europe. So it follows, then, that the prices Germans pay for electricity need to be increased.

That is why a turnaround must be introduced – the infamous Energiewende or “energy turnaround” – with which, for instance, a renewable energy surcharge is levied that increases every consumer’s electricity bill from 5.3 cents today to between 6.2 and 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour — a 20-percent price hike. For starters, of course.

You see, this way everybody is happy because every single one of us then feels painfully, on a day-to-day basis, just how much he or she is pulling his or her own CO2 weight, all for the good of mankind, not to mention Planet Earth. And Mother Nature too, of course. Whoever she is.

In the near future, an average three-person household will spend about €90 a month for electricity. That’s about twice as much as in 2000.

Germany’s Eight Unplugged CO2-Free Atomic Reactors Have Increased Air Pollution For A Second Year In A Row

No, wait. It’s the German coal-fired power revival doing that.

Green

Green shift? Sounds more like a green shaft to me.

Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel and is blamed by scientists for contributing to global warming. Merkel opted to shut nuclear power plants after an earthquake in Japan two years ago resulted in meltdowns at reactors owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

“Climate protection is a key target of the government and greenhouse gases should fall, not climb.”

Our CO2 Doesn’t Stink

Or maybe it’s green or something. At any rate, Germany just managed to block the adoption of new emissions limits for cars produced in the European Union. This was necessary because, well, this legislation would have handicaped Germany’s automobile industry, focused as it is on the luxury car sector.

Cars

Germany has long seen itself as a leader when it comes to efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and combat climate change. Indeed, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government remains committed to radically expanding its reliance on renewable energies in the coming decades.

But when it comes to reducing the amount of greenhouse gases German-made automobiles produce, Berlin is far less ambitious.

“It is a scandal.”

Germans Concerned Global Warming Stagnation Stagnating Too Fast

SPIEGEL: Mr. Storch, Germany has recently seen major flooding. Is global warming the culprit?

Storch: I’m not aware of any studies showing that floods happen more often today than in the past. I also just attended a hydrologists’ conference in Koblenz, and none of the scientists there described such a finding.

Stagnation

SPIEGEL: Would you say that people no longer reflexively attribute every severe weather event to global warming as much as they once did?

Storch: Yes, my impression is that there is less hysteria over the climate. There are certainly still people who almost ritualistically cry, “Stop thief! Climate change is at fault!” over any natural disaster. But people are now talking much more about the likely causes of flooding, such as land being paved over or the disappearance of natural flood zones — and that’s a good thing.

SPIEGEL: Will the greenhouse effect be an issue in the upcoming German parliamentary elections? Singer Marius Müller-Westernhagen is leading a celebrity initiative calling for the addition of climate protection as a national policy objective in the German constitution.

Storch: It’s a strange idea. What state of the Earth’s atmosphere do we want to protect, and in what way? And what might happen as a result? Are we going to declare war on China if the country emits too much CO2 into the air and thereby violates our constitution?

SPIEGEL: What could be wrong with the models?

Storch: There are two conceivable explanations — and neither is very pleasant for us. The first possibility is that less global warming is occurring than expected because greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have less of an effect than we have assumed. This wouldn’t mean that there is no man-made greenhouse effect, but simply that our effect on climate events is not as great as we have believed. The other possibility is that, in our simulations, we have underestimated how much the climate fluctuates owing to natural causes.

Where’s The Money?

Germany’s Federal Minister for the Environment, Peter Altmaier, will now be shutting down 14 German climate protection programs due to cost conerns, not that anyone here who can do any arithmetic will take much notice or much less care.

Climate Change

Funding for something called Elektromobilität (electromobility) will be cut first, soon to be followed by funding cuts for Stromspeichern (energy storage technology) with the other cuts soon to follow. Billions of a vital natural resource are missing, it seems (they call them “euros” here), this because European CO2 emmission rights certificate trading just ain’t bringing in the cash it’s supposed to do.

Do I detect pattern here? Why is it that the so-called real world is always getting in the way of those way cool dream world plans that so many folks out there want to make come true so really, really, really bad? Who is behind this, anyway? It just has to be a conspiracy (again).

Demnach sollten die Projekte ursprünglich aus dem Energie- und Klimafonds der Bundesregierung finanziert werden. Dort klaffe jedoch eine Milliardenlücke, weil der europäische CO2-Zertifikatehandel nicht genug Geld in die Kasse spüle.

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