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,”

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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.”