The Future Looks C-C-Cold

In Germany. In the winter.

Cold

Thousands of people marched Saturday in Berlin to demand that Germany speed up its exit from coal-fired power plants, a day before the opening of a U.N. climate summit in neighboring Poland.

“Stop Coal!” is the rallying call today. “Stop nuclear power!” was yesterday. The Germans have already shut down their nuclear power industry due to an earthquake in Japan. Don’t ask.

Some of these demonstrators have clearly thought all of this through, however. That’s why they’re wearing those polar bear suits. “Somebody turn on the freakin’ heat already!” Will by the rallying cry of the future.

“The future is coal-free.”

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German Of The Day: Preiserhöhung

That means price rise. For German electricity bills, in this case. Another big one on the way. Wonder why?

Energy

Keen to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transform its energy sector, German leaders adopted a vast program called Energiewende eight years ago and the country prides itself on setting the pace for change in the European Union…

But earlier this year, officials admitted the country will not hit the 2020 goal, saying it would reach 32 percent at best (40 percent was the goal).

Greenhouse gas emissions in Germany have not decreased for the last nine years and emissions from the transportation sector have not fallen since 1990. In fact, the United States has reduced carbon emissions more than Germany, in both real and nominal terms…

The growing pains have led to higher prices, largely shouldered by residential power customers.

Between 2015 and 2017, Germany inched ahead of Denmark for the highest electricity prices for household customers (35 cents per kilowatt-hour, in U.S. currency), according to the statistical office of the European Union.

Viele deutsche Haushalte müssen im kommenden Jahr deutlich mehr für Strom bezahlen. Berechnungen von Online-Vergleichsportalen zeigen, dass die Preise in der Grundversorgung um durchschnittlich vier bis fünf Prozent steigen werden.

Irresistible Filth?

I guess that’s one thing you could call it.

Filth

As previously reported, the Germans are having big problems meeting their ambitious CO2 emissions targets these days. One of the reasons for this dirty little secret – after having turned off most of their nuclear power plants due to a tsunami in Japan (don’t ask) – is their burning need to burn dirty, filthy, dreckig brown coal, aka lignite.

It is mined in vast, open pits that devour landscapes and villages, leaving Martian vistas of desolation roamed by gigantic excavators straight out of “Mad Max”.

Brown coal made up about 23% of the country’s energy supply last year, and black coal another 14%, according to the Economy Ministry. Renewable energy sources made up 33%—up from 6% in 2000.

Hey, whatever gets you through the dark as black coal night.

“The image of Germany as a country leading on the renewable energy transition is very, very wrong,”

Reality Can Be Like That

Germany’s green dreams run into climate change reality – Berlin’s commitment to stay nuclear free complicates Europe’s push to lower emissions.

Green

The contradictions in Germany’s energy policy are coming home to roost.

It’s struggling to balance efforts to combat climate change while at the same time shutting down its nuclear power plants.

Don’t sweat it, Germany. If you need any advice on how to improve things in the CO2 department just contact the folks in Washington.

“The rushed and improvised exit from nuclear power that some support is not our policy. Recent events prove that pretending otherwise is a pure illusion.”

German Of The Day: Umweltsünder

That means environmental sinner. You know, like Germany? Head of the class when it comes to climate protection? Or so we were led to believe.

Trump

Despite pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, that awful, terrible US-Amerika – under that awful, terrible Donald Trump himself – leads the world in cutting CO2 emissions.

According to the numbers put out  by the IEA (already back in March), CO2 emissions have risen in most of the large national economies, Germany included. Some countries, however, bucked the trend and have succeeded in reducing the amount of greenhouse gas produced, including the USA, Great Britain, Japan and Mexico.

Damit verringern die USA ihre Emissionen schon im dritten Jahr in Folge. Die Deutschen halten sich für die größten Klimaschützer – auf dem Papier.

The Short Answer Is No

Not without nuclear energy.

If Germany Can’t Quit Coal, Can Anyone Else?

Coal

It would seem like a major step toward Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent of 1990 totals by 2020. But German utilities just can’t seem to quit burning coal. Some power plants are switching to cheaper imported black coal from the United States, Russia, or Colombia. And at the same time, Germany is also digging more lignite, or brown coal. Lignite is 50 percent water and yields much less energy than the shiny black anthracite. But lignite is easy to bulldoze from massive strip mines that dot Germany’s northwest and eastern border with Poland. Among Europe’s power plants, Germany’s brown coal stations constitute six out of 10 of the worst polluters.

“It’s like organizing your own funeral.”

 

Going, Going…

Gone.

CO2

Here’s another one of those well-intentioned-do-gooder-mandates-from-above-meeting-reality kind of things. Why is it that reality is always popping up its ugly little head all the time, anyway?

The two parties likely to form the next coalition government in Germany have agreed to give up on the country’s climate targets for 2020. The goal was to achieve a 40% reduction in emissions from 1990 levels. In 2016, Germany’s had only reduced emissions by 28% versus the baseline (pdf), so the plan is now unrealistic.

There are two ways to interpret the announcement.

A charitable response would be that the news isn’t a surprise. Although Germany has made heavy investments in renewable energy, it has also been shuttering zero-carbon nuclear power plants since 2011. Giving up on the 2020 climate goals makes sense, especially if the coalition maintains the 2030 target of a 55% emissions reduction versus 1990 levels.

A harsher response would be that the news is devastating. “This damages the credibility of Germany but it also damages the whole international climate process,” Tobias Austrup, an energy expert at Greenpeace told the Financial Times. “Why should other countries stick to their climate goals if we don’t?”

Now That’s Putting It A Little Drastic

But wenn man recht hat, hat man recht. But when you’re right, you’re right.

Hog

Germany Is a Coal-Burning, Gas-Guzzling Climate Change Hypocrite.

Just this summer, German Chancellor Angela Merkel read U.S. President Donald Trump the riot act for pulling out of the Paris climate accord, chiding the United States for ignoring and perpetuating climate change…

Yet Germany’s image as selfless defender of the climate, which was once largely deserved, is now a transparent fiction. Germany has fallen badly behind on its pledges to sink its own greenhouse gas pollutants. In fact, Germany’s carbon emissions haven’t declined for nearly a decade and the German Environment Agency calculated that Germany emitted 906 million tons of CO2 in 2016 — the highest in Europe — compared to 902 million in 2015. And 2017’s interim numbers suggest emissions are going to tick up again this year.

600,000 Jobs

More or less.

According to a study conducted by the ifo economic institute, some 600,000 jobs in the German automobile industry would be lost if the planned ban on combustion engines in Germany in 2030 goes through, which of course it will and must (this is Germany, after all).

Morgenthau

Damn. The Greens & Co. have developed a little Morgenthau Plan of their own. A little late, but still. Germany as Agrarland (agricultural country)? Why not? Germany first or something.

Mehr als 600.000 deutsche Industriearbeitsplätze wären laut einer Studie direkt oder indirekt betroffen, wenn ab 2030 keine Autos mit Verbrennungsmotoren mehr zugelassen werden dürften.

Paris?

Germany can’t even reach the climate targets it has set for itself (see objective media coverage below).

Earth

A thirty-three page report has just confirmed what most German global climate saviors already knew: There is no way in hell that the more than ambitious climate target set by the federal government some ten years back will ever be reached. Emissions were to drop 40 percent the year 2020. They haven’t quite dropped 28 percent yet. The main problem – now get this – being German cars. Like, duh. Ever hear of Volkswagen & Co.?

Ein wesentliches Problem: Der Verkehrsbereich hat seine Emissionen kaum reduziert. So notwendig ein allgemeines Umsteuern beim Autoverkehr ist, so unpopulär sind die Maßnahmen im Einzelnen.

“We in Germany, in Europe and the world will band together to take more decisive action than ever to confront and successfully surmount major challenges to humanity such as climate change.”