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.

Speaking Of Green Disasters…

“Germany’s Green Energy Disaster: A Cautionary Tale For World Leaders”

Green

“The costs of our energy reform and restructuring of energy provision could amount to around one trillion euros by the end of the 2030s.”

More Green Energy Jobs

More jobs lost to green energy, I mean.

Offshore

Worlee-Chemie GmbH, a family-owned company that has produced resins in the city of Hamburg for almost a century, is trying to escape the spiraling cost of Germany’s shift to renewable energy.

A 47 percent increase on Jan. 1 in the fees grid operators set to fund wind and solar investments is driving the maker of paint ingredients to Turkey, where next month it will start making a new type of hardening agent at a factory near Istanbul.

The levy will cost Worlee 465,000 euros ($620,000) this year, the equivalent of 10 full-time salaries, or one-third of the company’s tax bill. As German labor costs rise at the fastest pace in a decade, the price of weaning the country off nuclear energy by 2022 is crushing the so-called Mittelstand, the three million small and medium-sized businesses like Worlee that account for about half of gross domestic product.

Wow. Now that’s what I call government intervention in action. This German energy turnaround thing is working out practically as well as the European cap-and-trade system itself.

“It could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. It comes on top of tax, general production costs, raw-material availability and bureaucracy, which have led to a deterioration of the investment climate in Germany.”

“Where Is the Tax Money?”

Here are some recent Desertec headlines – with the stress here on desert (as in to desert a sinking ship):

Bosch quits Desertec

Spain Delays Signing Onto Desertec Sahara Solar Project

Siemens to pull out of Desertec initiative

Algeria puts off decision on Desertec solar project

Desertec’s Promise of Solar Power for Europe Fades

As recently as three years ago, many thought that it was only a matter of time before solar thermal plants in North Africa supplied a significant portion of Europe’s energy needs. But Desertec has hit a road block. Industrial backers are jumping ship, political will is tepid and a key pilot project has suddenly stalled.

…The reasons for the political hesitance are clear. Renewable energy projects remain more expensive than traditional fossil fuel plants and tend to require government subsidies.

“Everybody is staring at each other and nobody moves. In this deadly, sometimes embarrassing silence, everybody is praising the project. And then silence again.”

This Just In: The Taliban Is Violent And Yucky

Infidel is in, again. Or at least it is for the 27-year-old German who had travelled to Waziristan with his wife intending to free the area from the “infidel occupiers” after they had converted to Islam.

He has now returned to Germany because, well, he was “disheartened by the violence and annoyed with the group’s macho and drug-taking world.”

The former fighter also complained of the unhygienic conditions in the war-torn lands of Pakistan’s Waziristan province and Afghanistan that left him infected with hepatitis, and which were, in his opinion, “incompatible with the teachings of the Koran”.

Holy crap. The Taliban is violent? Wow, like nobody had told me about that either, dude. We feel your pain (in the ass). So welcome back to the real, as in infidel world.

Merkozy This Is Not

How about Hollmerk?

The two capitals (Berlin and Paris) always begin from very different positions, whether there is a socialist or conservative administration in Paris.

The concern in Berlin is over what is seen as the absence of a clear strategy on eurozone reform from the new French government. There is a deep suspicion that France is happy to have a weaker euro, higher inflation, and a looser monetary policy than Germany.

Mr Hollande’s refusal to incorporate the recent “fiscal compact” into the French constitution is one reason that Germany is now pushing for every country to sign a bilateral budget “contract” with the European Commission, that can be enforced by a powerful budget commissar… But Paris regards Ms Merkel as being overly focused on building deeper European political integration in a way that ignores deep-seated reticence in France reflected in the 2005 referendum defeat of the then-planned EU constitution. 

Big Sister Assures Germans That 47-Percent Price Hike Actually Not Such A Bad Thing If You Think About It

Not.

Worried about grassroots unrest after Germany’s electrical grid operators announced they were nearly doubling the charge consumers will pay to finance subsidies for renewable energy as Germany phases out nuclear power, Big Sister herself has reacted boldly and decisively by going into hiding and pretending as if none of this were really happening.

Long used to this tactic, worried German consumers were assured, sort of, as they will now be paying an additional 60 euros per year, “taking overall add-on power taxes up to about 185 euros.” But that’s just the start, of course.

Sheesh. Why do Germans see everthing energy turnaround-related so negatively these days? You know, like as in black? Or like as in blackouts, I should say?

“The costs for consumers and industry of the electricity price charge for renewable energy has risen to an unbearable degree.”

German “Critical Thinking” vs. American Debate Culture

Here is another interesting German commentary by American Eric T. Hansen in Die Zeit.

I’d like to translate it all, but I can’t, so I won’t (no time). Here are a few highlights, though:

Critical thinking does not allow for self-criticism. Where would we be then?

Critical thinking is not debating, it’s finding concensus, or, as I call it, harmony nagging (Harmonienörgeln): Two people criticize a third person so long until the two become friends.

If I want to hear a new or even a different perspective on something, I have to turn to the Anglo-American press. Regarding certain questions – for instance whether nuclear energy, genetically modified corn or having Mitt Romney as president might also have certain advantages – many of my German friends are not even aware that two sides to these arguments even exist.

I too understand Mitt Romney’s positions quite well and suspect that he would make just as good (or bad) a president as Obama. In America that makes me an intellectual. In Germany that makes me a right-winger.

Everything is so serious for the Germans, and they need to know immediately: “Who is my friend, who is my enemy?” For Americans and their debate clubs, however, there is always an element of playfulness involved.

Auch ich verstehe die Positionen eines Mitt Romney gut und ahne, dass er ein ebenso guter (oder schlechter) Präsident wie Obama wäre. In Amerika macht mich das zu einem Intellektuellen. In Deutschland macht mich das zu einem Rechten.

The Amazing Disappearing Political Party

Who says that in-fighting and a complete absence of credibility, character, policy, tactics or strategy can’t get you anywhere? It got Germany’s Pirate Party to nowhere fast. So you better take one quick look at them while you still can.

They’re down to five percent in the polls at the moment, and sinking fast. But let’s move on now and just try to remember them for all the good things they accomplished while they were still here among the living (hell if I know, I thought you might have).

Die Piraten liegen einer neuen Umfrage zufolge nur noch bei fünf Prozent und müssen damit um den Einzug in den Bundestag bangen.

What Are 20,000 Jobs?

If they are being offered for the sake of Germany’s beloved Energiewende (energy turnaround), I mean (and if you’re not one of the 20,000, of course)?

There is a certain logic here. I think. First you phase out German nuclear power plants because of the Fukushima disaster in Japan (I still haven’t figured out this part yet), then you phase out thousands of Japanese jobs due to the loses incurred by the energy companies due to this hasty (as in immediate) phase-out.

Oops, sorry. I just took a closer look at the article. Those are German jobs that are about to be phased-out, of course. Duh. Look folks, I’m not a German energy turnaround expert here you know. Forgive me for the confusion. Technically, it’s not even mine. I’m just trying to pass it on as best I can.

Branche verliert durch Atomausstieg Geld – Eine Reihe von Studien hatte in früheren Jahren bereist festgestellt, dass der Netto-Effekt der Ökostrom-Subventionen auf dem Arbeitsmarkt bestenfalls Null ist.