Germany, of all places, is holding back the EU’s emissions deal — and France wants to follow suit for some reason
posted at 3:21 pm on June 20, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
That’s gotta’ hurt. The Germans’ ambitious Energiewende plan to cut down on nuclear while subsidizing wind and solar was supposed to land them at the head of the Europeans’ green-energy cool-kids table, but their subsequently skyrocketing energy prices cutting into their competitiveness and their reversion to coal-fired power plants has the European Union worried that the Germans might mess up the whole arrangement. Via Bloomberg:
The European Union’s attempt to cap greenhouse-gas emissions over the next 16 years is threatened again as rising pollution from the bloc’s biggest economies shows even developed nations want to burn cheap coal.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, boosted consumption of the fuel by 13 percent in the past four years, while use in Britain, No. 3 in the region economically, rose 22 percent, statistics from oil company BP Plc show. While Germany pledged to cut heat-trapping gases 55 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels, it’s managed 25 percent so far and is moving in the wrong direction, according to the European Environment Agency.
The EU is seeking to craft a deal in October that would cut greenhouse gases 40 percent by 2030 in the world’s biggest effort to combat global warming since the Kyoto climate treaty of 1997.
Reverting to coal is what happens, of course, when you 1) resist natural-gas drilling innovations on purely ideological grounds; 2) pour a bunch of public money into price-inefficient wind and solar technology when your weather consistently provides neither of these things; and 3) start shuttering nuclear power plants based on nothing other than anti-nuclear sentimentalism. In terms of the European Union’s Kyoto-ish internal scheme, Germany is still doing better with its emissions than others (like Poland, which uses coal to generate 80 percent of its electricity and wants assurance that it won’t be penalized for being a poorer country before it signs onto the arrangement), but Germany was supposed to be leading the charge here and is instead lagging behind their own targets.
But here’s the really facepalm-worthy part about all of this: France — over-taxed, over-regulated, GDP-growth-challenged France — has some of the lowest energy prices in Europe thanks to their own heavy share of nuke plants. It’s been one of their few economic saving graces, but the Socialist government for some reason wants to follow in Germany’s nuke-drawdown footsteps despite their coal-heavy results, via the Financial Times:
A so-called energy transition law, unveiled by the Socialist government on Wednesday, reiterated an election pledge by President François Hollande to cut the share of nuclear power in French electricity generation to 50 per cent by 2025 from about 75 per cent today, the highest level among developed economies.
Critics say the government is compromising a vital strategic asset that has allowed France to charge among the lowest prices in Europe for electricity.
But, under pressure from the left and its Green party allies, the government insists the country needs to rebalance its energy mix to boost its lagging performance in non-nuclear renewables and meet ambitious environmental targets.
“We are not exiting nuclear, but its part [in the mix] must fall,” said Ségolène Royal, energy minister. “It is thanks to nuclear that we can make a secure energy transition.”
So, even though you have clean nuclear power, you want to “invest” in wind and solar… just for the sake of wind and solar? …Because you have so much money to spare, and everything?