The Dark and Tragic Side of German Energy Policy

April 3rd, 2009
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Germany is cited by many as an example of what other countries should aspire to when it comes to energy. According to assclowns like Conrad Miller, Germany is doing the “Green” thing, phasing out nuclear energy and replacing it with wind power and other renewables. While it’s true that Germany has poured tremendous amounts of national treasure into wind turbines and other “renewable” energy systems, they also are continuing to expand their coal burning as quickly as they can. As this need for coal increases, another national treasure is being destroyed, one which has greater value than the billions of dollars that their epic failure of an energy policy has cost them.

Germany is a nation which has risen, fallen, been split and reunited. It is a nation which has a deep cultural history and a heritage that goes back for centuries. Much of the great structures of Germany were destroyed in the second world war and the cultural upheval of the war and the division and communist occupation of the country further impacted the cultural heritage and idenity of the nation. In light of this it is all the more tragic that the Rhineland, the beautiful heart of Germany is being torn to shreds. Communities which have endured for centuries, family farms and generations-old traditions are being scrabed away by bucket wheel excivators in the quest for coal.

Germany no longer has much in the way of anthracite coal left, at least not near the surface. But vast amounts of lingite and brown coal remain just bellow the surface. To feed the boilers of the massive mulit-gigawatt coal power plants, earth must be moved to get at the coal. When the earth is moved, so too are the structures which sit upon it and the people who live in them.

This is a large brown coal mine at Garzweiler. The mine is enormous, with just this portion stretching more than five statute miles from north to south. It is also being mined very heavily. The amount of land being torn up is apparent in this image, which is a composite of satellite images from between 2004 and 2008. So much ground has been moved that the imaging does not even stitch together properly. The older photos still show green ground while the new ones show only the mine.

But there was once something else here. The history of the village of Garzweiler goes back to the 1200′s. It was occupied by French troops during the Napoleonic Wars. By the 20th century, the community had a population of about 2000. Generations lived there, in a community centered around a village square and a neo-Gothic church. But in the 1980′s the coal mine began to creep closer and closer to the village. So, to extract the coal that it had sat upon for centuries, the town was raized. The homes were torn down to their foundation and the inhabitants forced to leave.

The German government forced the abandonment of the town, establishing a hamlet known as “New Garzweiler.” Only about half of the residents settled in the “new” community. In 2000 the community adopted the motto “Our village has a future.” Later the town dropped the part “New” from the name. It just goes to show, saying something doesn’t actually make it true. Some of the residents of the village stayed into the 1990′s, but today there is nothing left.

Here is a photo from 2000, showing the last corner of the village to be destroyed. The remains of a few homes can be seen:

But by 2004, the last traces had been obliterated:

It is, of course, inevitable that some villages and homes will be destroyed in a modern society, in order to build new infrastructure or to use the land for other projects. Yet the project for “relocation” of villages in Germany is not limited in scope or time. Indeed, like the mines themselves, the sheer scale of the devistation is gargantuane. Garzweiler is not alone – far from it; it is only one of the villages and towns wiped from the map by the insatable need for coal. Even the new village may eventually have to be raized, although not for another 20+ years. The autobaun may also need to be rerouted in the near future.

Many villages have been destroyed, many others fight for survival and as things stand, most will probably lose.

Via the New York Times: (2004)

Heuersdorf Journal; A Medieval German Hamlet Keeps the Bulldozers at Bay

Visitors passing through this lonesome hamlet in the coal mining region of eastern Germany can hardly miss the American flag next to the tidy town square: it flies upside down.

This is not a sign of disrespect, the friendly townsfolk insist, nor is it some kind of protest against the war in Iraq.

It is a way of signaling distress — something Heuersdorf has felt since 1994, when an American-owned mining company won approval from the German government to demolish this medieval village of 150 to get at the rich seam of coal that lies beneath it.

”Our goal is to safeguard our home,” said Bernd GÃnther, an unemployed mining worker who heads a group fighting the plan. ”It may not look like much, but this place is 700 years old.”

Old maps of East Germany bear the names of hundreds of villages that were bulldozed during Communist times to make way for strip mines. Heuersdorf, however, was one of the first to be marked for destruction after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the German government sold state-owned mines to American investors with a promise that they could expand the digging.

The town mentioned above may be surviving, staying off its own death sentance through a constant battle of appeals and lawsuits, but many have not been able to keep up the fight. No site is immune to destruction. If there is coal to be had, then anything is fair game. Those who live in the hundreds of threatened towns are not the only ones concerned, preservation organizations have expressed their own concens about the destruction of monuments and sites signifficant to cultural history. Even the great philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche remains have been threatened by the expansion of coal mining. His grave is located in a town which is slated to be “relocated.” The town of RÃ?cken has hoped that the famous gravesite might be able to save the town from destruction, but at the moment, the plan still calls for the town to be leveled.

Just like homes, churches, schools and monuments, cemetaries are not beyond the reach of coal relocation. For those with relatives in relatively new graves, it’s often possible to yank them one in one piece and plop them down somewhere else. However, if it’s an older family grave, where the coffin has decomposed and the body has been reduced to a few fragments of bone and teeth, then chances are, you’re just going to have to deal with the fact that what’s left of your grandma is going to end in a pile of mine spoil. (needless to say, some families are not happy about this.)

But it gets worse. In addition to the destruction of individual homes and the uprooting of families, entire groups and cultures are being threatened by the relocation effort.

Via Bloomberg:

Germany’s Sorb Minority Fights to Save Villages From Vattenfall

Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) — In the deserted eastern German village of Haidemuehl, doors creak and slam in the winter wind. Neglected gardens overflow with junk: refrigerators, bottles, cassettes.

Viewed through a smashed window pane, pink teddy bears dance on a blue background, the torn wallpaper of a child’s abandoned bedroom. Behind the crumbling briquette factory, an excavator works in the rain, pulling down a warehouse piece by piece.

Haidemuehl will soon be destroyed. The last villagers left in 2006, resettled by the Swedish utility Vattenfall AB. It is one of more than 80 villages to be wiped off the map by lignite mining in the Lausitz region — Lusatia in English — since 1924.

The region, about 150 kilometers southeast of Berlin, is home to the Sorbs, a 60,000-strong Slavic minority with a language related to Polish and Czech. With 10 more villages threatened by Vattenfall’s mining plans, Sorb inhabitants are fighting back.

“Beneath us there is coal, and Vattenfall wants it,” Erika Petrick, 66, says in an interview in the endangered village of Rohne, part of the municipality of Schleife. She is dressed in the traditional Sorb costume still worn by the older women in the region — apron, thick linen pleated skirt, frilled blouse, bodice and white bonnet. “If Vattenfall’s plans come to fruition, then the Schleife Sorbs will die out. We want to stop them.”

More than 25,000 people — ethnic Sorbs and Germans — have been forced to leave their homes in Lusatia to make way for the mines in the past 80 years. They are victims of demand for lignite, or brown coal. It’s a cheap, homegrown source of power.

Lignite Demand

Lignite accounts for about a quarter of German electricity production, a proportion the Environment Ministry predicts may increase to 28 percent by 2020 as the government phases out nuclear power. Vattenfall digs up 60 million tons of coal a year from its four Lusatia mines, according to Hartmuth Zeiss, head of the company’s European mining unit.

“We expect to keep this level of coalmining in the long term, for the next few decades,” Zeiss said in a meeting at the company’s Cottbus office. “What would be the sense of cutting back on lignite mining here, when worldwide it is climbing?”

Lusatia straddles the states of Saxony and Brandenburg. The Sorbs arrived in the sixth and seventh centuries. The written language dates back to the Reformation and only about 20,000 still speak Sorbian as their mother tongue.

“With the loss of these villages, language areas have disappeared, areas of distinct Sorb identity have vanished and our traditional costumes are going, too,” says Heiko Kosel, a deputy for the Left Party in the Saxon parliament.

Flattening Villag

The relocation program threatens to destroy all that is left of the Sorbian culture by destroying the communities that remain and dispersing the few who maintain the traditions. This is just another irreplacable loss to world culture from the German coal mine relocation program. This program, though little known, continues to grow and plans for the communities and sites to be destroyed already extend past 2040.

Oh yeah, but they’re installing solar panels are some of these mines, so that makesit all better (sarcasm)

This site on Flicker has links to several photo pools which document the destruction of several villages. Please check it out. It’s very sobering.

This is no energy policy to be proud of or for the world to want to emulate.


This entry was posted on Friday, April 3rd, 2009 at 8:48 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Culture, Enviornment, History, Nuclear, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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70 Responses to “The Dark and Tragic Side of German Energy Policy”

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  1. 51
    Daddeldu Says:

    Hi!

            Engineering Edgar said:

    I think what’s interesting is how firm they are about the nuclear phase-out. They made it law that they would phase out nuclear in the near future and no plant would be able to operate past the 32 year hard limit. Sure, other countries like Sweden have made out nuclear phase-out laws, but they usually let it slide or extend things or say they’ll phase it out as soon as they can “replace it with renewables” but Germany is basically not willing to budge.

    The contract between government and the industry is a bit more flexible than you think. They can transfer operation time from newer plants to older plants. In fact Vattenfall is maintaining two of their plants so extensionally and so long, that they will get over the elections in autumn. (Maintenance time is not counted as operation time.) If the CDU / FDP coalition (conservative / liberty) wins, the power plants most probably won’t be shut down.

            Engineering Edgar said:

    They hate nuclear power and want it gone as soon as possible if not sooner.

    Wait a moment! Not ALL Germans are like this. Most Germans live peaceful and harmonically with the nuclear plants in their neighbourhood, if there are still any. Not every German wants to eradicate all nuclear reactors from the face of the earth, and many wish a longer life for those that are in this country.

            Engineering Edgar said:

    Also, they’re one of the only countries that forced nuclear power plants to begin demolition of major systems as soon as they go offline, it’s like they want to be sure nobody could have the chance to reverse things in the near future.

    That is not correct. The decommissioned nuclear power plants have to be removed, but only long after their retirement, after some decrease of the radioactivity of the core. The owner is obligated to put a lot of money aside for this purpose.

            DV82XL said:

    It was a ‘compromise’ because they initially wanted the plants shut down immediately, as they did with the VVER-440 reactors in East Germany. Only when they realized that this wasn’t doable that they slacked off a bit.

    For the green party, who were the driving force behind the antinuclear politics, the question of technically doable or not would not have mattered. Their problem was a judicial one, when they realised that they would have to compensate the owners for the factually disappropriated property. Since this is in the constitution, they would not have had the power to avoid that. And their constituents would not have accepted any payment to the hated energy cooperates.

            DV82XL said:

    However, like the rest of non-nuclear Europe they learned the consequences of sucking on the Russian gas pipe last winter and I suspect that this will cause some second thoughts on the matter of nuclear energy.

    Unfortunately Germany has sufficient gas reserves, so no one in Germany suffered from a gas shortage.

            Phil84UK said:

    No towns will be dug up in the future, I think the author has been caught in a lie there.

    To say it in German: Doch! (There is no translation available, but it means you are wrong and the opposite is right. Feel free to integrate this valuable expression into your language.) There have been towns dug up and there will be.

    Sorry. Germany is not the green paradise you are dreaming of. It is not the Shire and the Germans are not hobbits.

    Greetings from good old Germany

    Daddeldu


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  2. 52
    George Carty Says:

    Daddeldu,

    How hard do you think it would be to turn Germans against the phase-out via the meme “Schroeder was a traitor and a puppet of Gazprom”?

    (As you could see on that poster I linked to higher up the thread…)


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  3. 53
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Daddeldu said:

    Wait a moment! Not ALL Germans are like this. Most Germans live peaceful and harmonically with the nuclear plants in their neighbourhood, if there are still any. Not every German wants to eradicate all nuclear reactors from the face of the earth, and many wish a longer life for those that are in this country.

    You;re absolutely right, but that’s not really the problem. The problem is not the German people in general being against it, it is a politically powerful group and activist organizations. They have managed to grab enough power to get things the way they want it and have exploited some factors in the parliamentary system to try to wedge things in so that it can’t be changed. It’s a one-issue group that has very good funding.

    I realize many Germans are not anti-nuclear and those who oppose the phase out really have to work hard to oppose the other side and to campaign. Believe me, I know, it’s not just a German thing. The Greens are very entrenched and very difficult to take on everywhere. They might be a minority but they generally have enough influence to stand in the way of things.


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  4. 54
    ciccio Says:

    Here is a very apropos article from a British satirical site that best describes the celebrity obsession with environmental causes.

    http://newsbiscuit.com/2009/04/07/bono-rules-that-lip-service-and-moral-posturing-count-towards-carbon-offsetting/


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  5. 55
    Daddeldu Says:

    George,

            George Carty said:

    How hard do you think it would be to turn Germans against the phase-out via the meme “Schroeder was a traitor and a puppet of Gazprom”?

    I think it would add 0.3 % to a successful campaign to turn the public opinion.

    Schröder is an ex-chancellor, so he is not important enough to cause uproar. The underlying fact is widely known and too old to be news.

    Besides, he struggled hard to be re-elected. On the night of the election, where his party lost by a very narrow margin, there was a bizarre scene, when he claimed the will and moral right to stay chancellor. He was offered to become chairman of that firm several weeks after Merkel was elected chancellor by the parliament. (She was the conservative candidate, after she had won the beauty contest within the CDU.) So at the time of the phase-out decision he clearly was not after that job.

    The contract with the industry and the phase-out decision is widely seen as the work of his green environmental minister Jürgen Trittin anyway.

    The opponents of nukes are afraid. They fear a Chernobyl in Germany, which would, as they know for sure, lay waste the whole country for thousands of years (and, honestly, who would put us up meanwhile?) and is very probable. Masses of superdangerous waste, which has to be guarded for 100.000 years, are produced.

    A somewhat shrill criticism of Schröder won’t help much against the German angst…

    Daddeldu


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  6. 56
    Daddeldu Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    You;re absolutely right, but that’s not really the problem. The problem is not the German people in general being against it … Believe me, I know, it’s not just a German thing.

    drbuzz0,

    please read the paragraph you quoted and search for a (tasteless) joke with regard to German history.

    Best regards,

    Daddedu


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  7. 57
    Michael Karnerfors Says:

            Josh said:

    You lot keep missing the point. Germany has a highly developed renewables sector, one of the most developed there is. That is true.

    Whatever the german word for “nonsense” is, concider it thrown at you this very instant.

    This is what the situation is for german electricity…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Electricity_production_in_Germany.PNG

    …and I quote from Wikipeda as to the power consumption in total:

    In 2008, [Germany] consumed energy from the following sources: oil (34.8%), coal including lignite (24.2%), natural gas (22.1%), nuclear (11.6%), renewables (1.6%), and other (5.8%)

    Not only that, but the little renewable there is in Germany right now, it is already starting to mess up the entire European grid. We have had continentwide disturbances leading to 15 million households losing power because german windpower wreaks havok on the net.

    http://nuclearpoweryesplease.org/blog/2008/12/13/the-day-wind-power-nearly-blew-out-europe/

    In Sweden we get approximately 45-47% of our electricity from hydropower and 45-47% of it from nuclear power. Depending on where and how our uranium is refined, our electricity as a whole most of the time produces less emissions per kWh delivered that does wind and solar power.

    So before you concider saying that you are so grün in Germany, I recommend upping your daily dose of Reality by about 3141% percent since your statements indicate a severe deficiency of that vital nutrient.

    “…one of the most well devloped…”? HAH!


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  8. 58
    George Carty Says:

            Michael Karnerfors said:

    Whatever the german word for “nonsense” is, concider it thrown at you this very instant.

    Huh? Didn’t you read the rest of Josh’s post? (Oh, and I think he’s a Brit…)


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  9. 59
    Michael Karnerfors Says:

            George Carty said:

    Huh? Didn’t you read the rest of Josh’s post? (Oh, and I think he’s a Brit…)

    That’s what I get for being in a hurry and trying to squeeze this in during the dead time of code checkouts and compilations. This was one of the worst f*ck-ups I’ve ever done on an internet discussion.

    Yes of course you are entirely correct… I completely misadressed this post. It should be adressed to post #23, just like Josh did.

    /Michael, embarassed


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  10. 60
    An Informed Person Says:

    I have an enviornmental ethics professor who has always said that Germany is the prime example of what good enviornmental policy is and has said that it is embarrassing that we do not keep up with them. He wrote a big article in a magazine about how Germany got it right and we need to start to follow them.

    Of course I brought this to his attention and he told me that this is not correct. He said that they are only using coal until they can get enough wind turbines and solar panels up to stop, which will be in a few years. He said they already shut down nuclear and when that is done they’ll work on shutting down coal and going 100% renewable most of the time.

    That is why he said there are coal plants to last a long time, because they may need them sometimes but not most of the time. He said that wind is alaways blowing somewhere but on unusual occasions there might be too much still air to power everything and so coal power is only as last chance backup that they will use only a few times a year, but it is backup power.

    He also said that they know coal is bad for the enviornment so all the new coal plants will replace their carbon back into the ground.

    So that is how Germany is working to do it. Not perfect now, but in a few years it will be all wind and solar 95% of the time and coal only every once in a while.

    Also nuclear he said is the worst kind of power because even coal polution eventually gets taken up by trees, but nuclear waste is forever. You can’t get the permission of the next thousadn generations to trash their planet with deadly waste so you can’t impose it on them.


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  11. 61
    Finrod Says:

            An Informed Person said:

    I have an enviornmental ethics professor who has always said that Germany is the prime example of what good enviornmental policy is and has said that it is embarrassing that we do not keep up with them.

    He wrote a big article in a magazine about how Germany got it right and we need to start to follow them.

    Of course I brought this to his attention and he told me that this is not correct.

    He said that they are only using coal until they can get enough wind turbines and solar panels up to stop, which will be in a few years. He said they already shut down nuclear and when that is done they’ll work on shutting down coal and going 100% renewable most of the time.

    That is why he said there are coal plants to last a long time, because they may need them sometimes but not most of the time.

    He said that wind is alaways blowing somewhere but on unusual occasions there might be too much still air to power everything and so coal power is only as last chance backup that they will use only a few times a year, but it is backup power.

    He also said that they know coal is bad for the enviornment so all the new coal plants will replace their carbon back into the ground.

    So that is how Germany is working to do it. Not perfect now, but in a few years it will be all wind and solar 95% of the time and coal only every once in a while.

    Also nuclear he said is the worst kind of power because even coal polution eventually gets taken up by trees, but nuclear waste is forever.

    You can’t get the permission of the next thousadn generations to trash their planet with deadly waste so you can’t impose it on them.

    Your ‘Environmental Ethics’ professor is either a liar, or a complete idiot. Probably, he’s a bit of both.

    Germany is the premier example of awful environmental policy, phasing out clean, carbon-free energy plants and encouraging people to invest in useless low-grade power sources while building a huge coal-burning infrastructure which is intended to be used for centuries to come.

    Does your idiotic, mendacious professor know any physics at all, or did he study up on ‘environmental ethics’ to obtain tenure? Which unfortunate institution is blighted by his presence?


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  12. 62
    Michael Karnerfors Says:

            An Informed Person said:

    I have an enviornmental ethics professor who has always said that Germany is the prime example of what good enviornmental policy is and has said that it is embarrassing that we do not keep up with them.

    Your professor is misinformed, and I would say that so are you, despite the title you have chosen for yourself.

    Of course I brought this to his attention and he told me that this is not correct.

    Of course he did. What did you expect him to do? Just keel over and say “Oops, guess I was wrong”? There is a alot of prestige and pride involved in these matters.

    He said that they are only using coal until they can get enough wind turbines and solar panels up to stop, which will be in a few years. He said they already shut down nuclear and when that is done they’ll work on shutting down coal and going 100% renewable most of the time.

    This statement is not connected to any kind of reality as we know it. Let me show you why. This is the energy production of Germany:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Electricity_production_in_Germany.PNG

    The energy consumption is as follows: Germany is one of the largest consumers of energy in the world. In 2008, it consumed energy from the following sources: oil (34.8%), coal including lignite (24.2%), natural gas (22.1%), nuclear (11.6%), renewables (1.6%), and other (5.8%).

    Quoted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_Germany

    Not only that… but the relatively small amount of windpower there is is already starting to muck up the power grids… as demonstrated by this article.

    He said that wind is alaways blowing somewhere but on unusual occasions there might be too much still air to power everything and so coal power is only as last chance backup that they will use only a few times a year, but it is backup power.

    That is hogwash. Wind fluctuates very much. Depending on the migration of pressure areas, you can get virtual standstills in the entire country. And using coal for backup is just plain silly. Why? Because coal is about 100 times as dirty as nuclear power and wind power. Which means that if you have to use coal as little as one day out of a hundred, you will already have lost the advantage of wind. And wind goes down alot more than that.

    He also said that they know coal is bad for the enviornment so all the new coal plants will replace their carbon back into the ground.

    Carbon dioxide… not carbon. A gas. And you think that just shoving gas right into the ground will make it stay there forever?

    Not perfect now, but in a few years it will be all wind and solar 95% of the time and coal only every once in a while.

    That statement has absolutely no truth behind it. I cannot even begin do describe out laughable it is. Germany is currently getting less than 1/20 of their energy from renewables and already the grids cannot take it. Saying that wind and sun can provide 99% of the time is utterly ludicrous because sun, as we know, shines only 50% of the time, at best, and wind is fell known to fluctuate with variations of up to 3000%.

    Also nuclear he said is the worst kind of power because even coal polution eventually gets taken up by trees, but nuclear waste is forever.

    Wrong… that is just plain opposite of reality. Coal ash has no half-life. Ash dumps are toxic and contains pollutants and heavy metals. There are enormous volumes of it produced each year. Huge dumps of ash that lasts forever. Did you know for instance that the uranium content in coal is such that coal plants account for a much higher release of uranium into the environment than does nuclear power?

    Nuclear waste on the other hand has a half-life and decays into harmlessness. The volumes of nuclear waste are incredibly small in comparison to coal. An amount of uranium that is equivalent in volume of 7 lumps of sugar in a BWR/PWR reactor has enough energy to last you your lifetime. With a closed fuel-cycle and modern reactors, the equivalent volume is one half lump of sugar. and with modern reactors, the storage time needed until teh waste is completely harmless is a measly 500 years.

    You can’t get the permission of the next thousadn generations to trash their planet with deadly waste so you can’t impose it on them.

    Yes you can…. since mother nature has already demonstrated that deep geological repositories are perfectly safe. The Swedish KBS-3 method is up for review next year. It builds on the methods that nature itself has used for billions of years to contain nuclear materials.

    All in all… your professor in “environmental ethics” is talking out of his ass because his arguments have no founding in reality. He is wrong. He is feeding you false information.


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  13. 63
    kalahari Says:

    I think you are missing two things in background information on the German greens and the German party “Die Grünen” which I as a German take for granted:

    The green movement in Germany and the party “Die Grünen” are a child of the anti nuclear power movement of the 1970ies and 1980ies.
    At that time the government and the industry tried to create facts before a political discussion could happen. That misfired badly and gave birth to the anti nuclear power movement, which was a conglomeration of lots of different political groups whose only common ground was to be anti nuclear. This movement couldn’t stay together because of difference of opinion, but a major core was left, which formed the green movement in Germany. So they can’t become pro nuclear, because that would go against their base assumptions.

    The second base assumption (of the green movement), which seems to go especially bad with a lot of Americans is, that
    a) resources are limited.
    b) when resources are limited it is a good idea, to use up these resources as slow as possible.
    c) to have energy last longer, it is a good idea, to make energy more expensive over time, to encourage
    d) reduce energy usage with better engineering / isolation / …
    e) each person to use less energy over time, as they can not afford it any more.

    Regards


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  14. 64
    George Carty Says:

            kalahari said:

    The second base assumption (of the green movement), which seems to go especially bad with a lot of Americans is, that
    a) resources are limited.
    b) when resources are limited it is a good idea, to use up these resources as slow as possible.
    c) to have energy last longer, it is a good idea, to make energy more expensive over time, to encourage
    d) reduce energy usage with better engineering / isolation / …
    e) each person to use less energy over time, as they can not afford it any more.

    Regards

    You can’t use less energy than a subsistence farmer – do you think the Morgenthau Plan would have been a good thing for Germany?


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  15. 65
    Daddeldu Says:

            kalahari said:

    The green movement in Germany and the party “Die Grünen” are a child of the anti nuclear power movement of the 1970ies and 1980ies.
    At that time the government and the industry tried to create facts before a political discussion could happen. That misfired badly and gave birth to the anti nuclear power movement

    That’s nonsense. Nuclear development began in Germany with the ‘Atoms for peace’-program, so in the late 1950s. From Wikpedia (sorry folks, I won’t translate it, it is about the first German reactors):

    In Deutschland wurde 1957 mit dem Forschungsreaktor München in Garching der erste Forschungsreaktor in Betrieb genommen. 1961 folgte auf der Gemarkung der Gemeinde Karlstein am Main als erstes deutsches Kernkraftwerk das Kernkraftwerk Kahl mit einer Leistung von 15 MW.

    In den 1960er Jahren wurden zahlreiche weitere Kernkraftwerke gebaut, wobei deren Leistung deutlich erhöht wurde. So hatte das Kernkraftwerk Gundremmingen, welches 1966 in Betrieb ging, eine Leistung von 250 MW. 1968 wurde der Erzfrachter „Otto Hahn“ als nuklear betriebenes Forschungsfrachtschiff in Betrieb genommen; nach dem Ende des nuklearen Betriebs 1979 wurde der Frachter wieder auf Dieselantrieb umgerüstet.

    In den 1970er Jahren wurde insbesondere nach der ersten Ölkrise 1973 der Bau von Kernkraftwerken forciert. Die Leistung dieser Kraftwerke, wie etwa des Blocks B des Kernkraftwerks Biblis, lag bei 1,3 GW. Mit dem Protest der Anti-Atomkraft-Bewegung gegen den Bau des Kernkraftwerks Wyhl 1975 in Deutschland entstand eine größere Opposition gegen die zivile Nutzung der Kernenergie.

    So the political discussion could have taken place since 1957, but started in 1975, 18 years later. There was enough time and room and opportunity to start a debate. In fact, until that time people where were widely enthusiastic about nuclear power.

    I more and more subscribe to the Rod Adams-thesis, that the whole antinuclear movement was discretely started by the fossil fuel industry in its very own economic interest. First in the US, then in Europe, with particularly great success in Germany. (Any and every US debate is repeated here anyway.)

    For further reading: http://atomicinsights.blogspot.com/search/label/smoking%20gun

    Grüße, Daddeldu


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  16. 66
    DV82XL Says:

            Daddeldu said:

    I more and more subscribe to the Rod Adams-thesis, that the whole antinuclear movement was discretely started by the fossil fuel industry in its very own economic interest. First in the US, then in Europe, with particularly great success in Germany. (Any and every US debate is repeated here anyway.)

    For further reading: http://atomicinsights.blogspot.com/search/label/smoking%20gun

    Grüße, Daddeldu

    But of course. Just look at the countries with a big coal sector and you will also see the countries with the most active antinuclear movements. The correspondence is one-to-one.


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  17. 67
    George Carty Says:

            Daddeldu said:

    I more and more subscribe to the Rod Adams-thesis, that the whole antinuclear movement was discretely started by the fossil fuel industry in its very own economic interest. First in the US, then in Europe, with particularly great success in Germany. (Any and every US debate is repeated here anyway.)

    Not quite the same thing – Rod Adams thinks nuclear power in the United States has been suppressed because oil companies and private coal owners have bribed politicians to restrict nuclear energy.

    In Germany (and Britain) any such bribery would have to be on the part of unions not capitalists, because the coal mines required subsidies to stay in business — in Britain they were actually owned by the state. It’s more likely in my view that nuclear power was opposed not by corrupt politicians but by left-wing activists, who revered coal miners (because of their historic role as the spearhead of the labour movement) and didn’t want to see them thrown on the dole.

    That’s Luddism in the true sense of the word — people opposing a new technology which threatens their jobs, as opposed to people who are just hostile to technology period.


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  18. 68
    George Carty Says:

    Oh, another question Daddeldu,

    Do you think that a lot of the people who are hyping the “green jobs” that renewable energy will supposedly bring are the same people who earlier supported coal in order to protect the jobs of miners, but who were forced to change tack because of fears about man-made global warming?


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  19. 69
    Daddeldu Says:

            George Carty said:

    Do you think that a lot of the people who are hyping the “green jobs” that renewable energy will supposedly bring are the same people who earlier supported coal in order to protect the jobs of miners, but who were forced to change tack because of fears about man-made global warming?

    I think there is a significant intersection of the two sets. The Social Democratic Party is to mention here, who have been the traditional party of the coal miners.

    Best regards, Daddeldu


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  20. 70
    George Carty Says:

    Another important point about German (and Danish) energy policy is that household use of energy is heavily taxed in order to subsidize industrial energy consumption. Given that this could be considered a back-handed subsidy to exporters (and perhaps one of the reasons why Germany has a huge trade surplus, almost as large as China’s), why haven’t any other countries complained about this to the WTO?


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