German finance minister: OK, yeah, we probably overdid it on the renewable-energy transition

posted at 7:21 pm on January 28, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

Environmentalists have been trying to get really super stern with President Obama and his “all of the above” energy plan recently, hoping to pressure him into make a more outright declaration of love and support for further climate-change commitments (not to mention an anti-Keystone XL pipeline one) in his State of the Union address, so I’d expect a healthy-sized shoutout somewhere in the rhetorical mix on the many ostensible merits of the heavy taxpayer subsidization of renewables, a.k.a. wind and solar.

Which, if you happen to be into things like prosperity, job creation, and price efficiency, doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense at the moment. Just ask the guys over in Germany currently reaping the consequences of some of the very same sorts of plans President Obama is likely to tout, via Walter Russell Mead‘s blog:

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported this morning that one in three workers in Germany’s solar industry lost their job last year. By November, there were a mere 4,800 employees left in the sector, the first time in four years that number has fallen below the 5,000-mark. That’s less than half 2012′s levels, when there were still 10,200 solar jobs. These revelations come hard on the heels of news that the $30 billion German taxpayers shuffled into green subsidies last year didn’t actually make the country any cleaner, and that more brown coal was burned there in 2013 than in any year since 1990.

Granted, Germany’s attempt to completely get rid of nuclear and vastly downsize on fossil fuels at the same time was an overly ambitious recipe for disaster, and the United States’ shale boom just isn’t going anywhere for awhile — but trumpeting the supposed wisdom of the taxpayer subsidization of “green jobs” that at this point in time clearly have troubling staying self-sufficient hardly seems like a great policy recommendation when you’re trying to grow your economy. Via the Financial Times:

Germany’s powerful finance minister said on Tuesday that Berlin may have gone too far in its attempts to protect the environment, saying his government must now “rebalance” its policies to ensure environmental regulations do not cost jobs. …

“We did it too good and now we have to correct because otherwise we have an increasing of energy costs which will harm jobs in Germany in a serious way in the medium term,” Mr Schäuble said at a forum in Brussels, where he was attending a regular meeting of EU finance ministers. “Therefore, we have to rebalance.” …

Last week, the European Commission unveiled a new energy strategy for 2030 that disappointed environmentalists because it lacked binding national targets on how much power EU countries would have to generate from renewable sources.

And if just trying to persuade national governments to forcibly do away with fossil fuels point-blank is still environmentalists’ best plan, they should probably get used to that kind of disappointment.


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so I’d expect a healthy-sized shoutout somewhere in the rhetorical mix on the many ostensible merits of the heavy taxpayer subsidization of renewables, a.k.a. wind and solar.
===================================

Ughs,…..Hopey Year 5,Kick’n da Can down the road..same ole’,..same old !!!

canopfor on January 28, 2014 at 7:38 PM

canopfor on January 28, 2014 at 7:38 PM

We will trade Hopey to you for whoever you got now plus a draft pick to be named later.

Lanceman on January 28, 2014 at 7:42 PM

84 word sentence(everybody’s favorite metric).

Forward!

But the thousands of jobs that have been lost by artificially propping up an uncompetitive industry for too long are not the only cost. One German economist calculated that every one of these jobs had been underwritten by €175,000 taxpayer annually (and this is also the cost of the remaining jobs).

Murphy9 on January 28, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Because Germans never overdo anything.
http://ooodd.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/some-of-german-soldiers-were-crazy-during-wwii6-1296904050.jpg

Seth Halpern on January 28, 2014 at 7:48 PM

canopfor on January 28, 2014 at 7:38 PM

We will trade Hopey to you for whoever you got now plus a draft pick to be named later.

Lanceman on January 28, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Lanceman:Done,…….haha:)

canopfor on January 28, 2014 at 7:48 PM

Count this as a comment

DarkCurrent on January 28, 2014 at 7:52 PM

canopfor on January 28, 2014 at 7:38 PM

We will trade Hopey to you for whoever you got now plus a draft pick to be named later.

Lanceman on January 28, 2014 at 7:42 PM

…has to be worth a second AND third round pick!…at least!

KOOLAID2 on January 28, 2014 at 7:53 PM

“We did it too good and now we have to correct…”

“Therefore, we have to rebalance.…”

That’s government-speak for “We screwed up, wasted a ton of your money, all for nothing.”

ncjetsfan on January 28, 2014 at 7:54 PM

At least they didn’t invade France… Oh, wait that might have saved France from Hollande!

viking01 on January 28, 2014 at 7:54 PM

canopfor on January 28, 2014 at 7:38 PM

We will trade Hopey to you for whoever you got now plus a draft pick to be named later.

Lanceman on January 28, 2014 at 7:42 PM

…has to be worth a second AND third round pick!…at least!

KOOLAID2 on January 28, 2014 at 7:53 PM

KOOLAID@: Alright, alright,..a couple of Canadian Beaver CheerLeaders
then too,..haha, (sarc):)

canopfor on January 28, 2014 at 8:23 PM

We will trade Hopey to you for whoever you got now plus a draft pick to be named later.

Lanceman on January 28, 2014 at 7:42 PM

And we promise he won’t bug Angela Merkel’s phone!

Steve Z on January 28, 2014 at 9:16 PM

Herr Dr Schäuble, I would have thot you learned something when Schroeder tossed Mannesmann and Krupp 600 million each only to see it disappear within 6 months as foretold. It only took about 15 years and you’re realizing it now. Well this is the year to grab onto some real free market principles and unleash economic growth if you dare.

AH_C on January 28, 2014 at 10:20 PM

the $30 billion German taxpayers shuffled into green subsidies last year didn’t actually make the country any cleaner, and that more brown coal was burned there in 2013 than in any year since 1990.

Predictable, since wind and solar are net energy losers, which means you have to consume even more non-renewable energy to build the wind and solar equipment.

When solar panel factories can be powered entirely by the same solar panels they produce, then solar is an actual energy source. Otherwise solar is a net energy drain, and you’re just burning more non-renwable energy to create an illusion of renewable energy. Hence, Germany must burn more coal, and create more pollution, in order to support the solar industry.

Very sad. Germany used to be known for its excellent engineering. Seems like they’ve forgotten their thermodynamics.

ZenDraken on January 29, 2014 at 12:10 AM

Because Germans never overdo anything.
http://ooodd.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/some-of-german-soldiers-were-crazy-during-wwii6-1296904050.jpg

Seth Halpern on January 28, 2014 at 7:48 PM

Na ja. Wir haben schwein!

Probably some Nazi visual joke to let the recipient know that he was lucky.

NavyMustang on January 29, 2014 at 4:51 AM

The difficulty with a pure scare tactic like “global warming” is it only works if you create a panic that causes a stampede to the desired “actions.” When Kyoto failed, the movement was already losing the initiative, despite the back-door effort to stifle dissent in the journals. And the exposure of the outright fraud involving the East Anglia group really deflated the balloon.

Solar energy is old tech, as are wind turbines. Marginal improvements will NEVER make them viable alternatives to fossil fuels. And their use even on the margins is minimal until some new battery technology enables significant storage for nighttime use.

Coal didn’t need subsidies to replace wood for stoves and furnaces. Oil and gas didn’t need subsidies to replace coal in many areas. Viable alternatives arise on their own, we cannot wish them to arrive early just because it pleases the unicorns.

Adjoran on January 29, 2014 at 4:51 AM

So sad.
So many unicorns and pixie-dust makers, cruelly thrown out of work by Evil Coal…

orangemtl on January 29, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Who knew salt water could cause so much rust?

WryTrvllr on January 29, 2014 at 8:51 PM