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?

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In other words…..

“Watch out! Don’t step in that giant pile of Obama!”

Key West Reader on June 20, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Crap! I’m first.


Key West Reader on June 20, 2014 at 3:33 PM

reversion to coal-fired power plants

From revulsion to reversion. It’s necessarily skyrocketing!

Marcola on June 20, 2014 at 3:34 PM

So even the Europeans are starting to figure out the green energy fraud just doesn’t work….
The lefties are always saying we should be more like Europe – maybe this is a good time to try that out…..

dentarthurdent on June 20, 2014 at 3:38 PM

So the EU countries are addressing their energy and climate policies democratically and the Administration here is doing it unilaterally through executive action. The world has turned.

airupthere on June 20, 2014 at 3:40 PM

The EU is seeking to craft a deal in October that would cut greenhouse gases 40 percent by 2030

I hope they do that. It would be wonderful to see the Europeans go down the tubes because of their idiocy. And it would give us a *huge* competitive advantage. The Europeans… a bunch of effete elitists sitting around thinking they’re so much smarter than everyone else while their economies tank!

anotherJoe on June 20, 2014 at 3:43 PM

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.

Well, they’re straight up lying about needing to “transition” in order to meet environmental targets. If anything, they should be building new nuke plants if they want to cut emissions.

As Erika says, this is a green purist ideology play. The problem for Hollande and the French socialists is that, as the Germans are finding out, electricity prices do matter, and when the rate-paying public starts feeling the hit, there’s going to be a damned revolution in Paris. Marine LePen is smiling somewhere.

Robert_Paulson on June 20, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Hey, you do expensive things that don’t work long enough and you learn to stop doing expensive things that don’t work.

Luckily, in Europe, there’s always more of other people’s money to burn on such stupid schemes – until there isn’t.

ROCnPhilly on June 20, 2014 at 3:51 PM

The left is the party of science. Which is why the oppose natural gas and nuclear energy.


gwelf on June 20, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Keep the nukes, coal in the mix, frack like there’s no fracken tomorrow and chain every green-gilled lefty to an energy producing treadmill, fueled only by tofu and ‘recycled’ turnip greens. Cheap energy for all and the Earth Worshipers ‘feel’ that their contributing. Win-win.

vnvet on June 20, 2014 at 4:06 PM

I spent a lot of time in Europe over the years and grew to hate it and it’s people.No sympathy from this Texan if they freeze in winter.Any place where you have to attend classes to own a dog or go fishing deserves all the ills from stupidity.Call me biased.

docflash on June 20, 2014 at 4:19 PM

This is a mercy comment with the hopes of getting the count to 20.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on June 20, 2014 at 4:30 PM

If Putin, in addition to cutting gas supplies to Europe and Ukraine, will also sabotage their other external suppliers, it will be the first time I will be partially proud for my country of birth. Let them socialists eat cake burn books, like they always wanted.

Rix on June 20, 2014 at 4:34 PM

The next time France needs liberating, I say we go through the invading country on the way to France.

Steve Eggleston on June 20, 2014 at 5:49 PM

“Germany, of all places,…”

WTF with “of all places”? Germany is the ONLY capitalist economic stronghold keeping the EU afloat – and it will rightly protect that economic foundation even against eco-fascist nut jobs.

MicahStone on June 20, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Just wait until the French start shutting down their reactors and the “new” electrical prices hit the peons. They’ll be out in the street screaming for blood.

GarandFan on June 20, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Wait til the Russians cut off all of Europe’s natural gas supply.

Ms. Contrarian Scientist on June 20, 2014 at 6:34 PM

This is like the definition of insanity.

Theophile on June 21, 2014 at 1:10 AM

Use facts
CO2 is a plant food.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on June 21, 2014 at 5:27 PM