In the aftermath of last week’s latest alarming predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), German politicians joined others around the world in making pious noises. “The planet is in mortal danger,” declared Svenja Schulze, environment minister in chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition. “Climate change is not a future scenario. It is reality.” Yet for all the fine words, Germany pumped out 605 million tons of carbon dioxide last year — more than Britain’s estimated 326 million and France’s 251 million tons put together. Merkel herself, due to step down next month after 16 years in power, admitted recently her country’s record on reducing carbon emissions was “not sufficient” to meet the global warming targets set by the Paris climate agreement. The reason is in large part its massive manufacturing base and thriving export industry that sees it supplying the world with everything from machine tools to cars — all of which require huge amount of energy. Yet matters have been complicated by the decision taken by Merkel after Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster to close Germany’s nuclear power stations, the last three of which will cease operations at the end of next year. Despite investment in wind and solar energy, much of the resulting “energy gap” is filled by lignite.
Times 15th Aug 2021 read more »