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Germany — Insane Or Just Plain Stupid?

James Conca — Forbes — August 31, 2012

After the tsunami destroyed the Fukushima plants, Germany moved quickly to shut eight nuclear power plants, and made plans do away completely with their nuclear capability. Despite the best safety record of any industry in the country, and the critical role nuclear plays in fueling German industry, Germany’s past experience with large tsunamis was just too horrific to ignore.

And Germany’s strong economy and commitment to protect the environment were small prices to pay for Chancellor Merkel to shore up her weak coalition with the Free Democrats. Maybe she can ask Greece for help later.

But don’t worry. Germany is building about 25 clean coal-fired power plants to offset the loss of nuclear and address Germany’s admittedly “unaffordably expensive and unreliable” renewable portfolio (Der Spiegel). The German Green Party can now celebrate the opening of a 2,200 MW coal-fired power plant near Cologne. It started spewing out its annual,relatively clean, 13 million tons of CO2, and other nasties, so much lower than those older dirty coal plants that would have put out 15 million tons of CO2 for the same power output.

A perfect fit to Germany’s low-carbon future.

We usually give the Germans credit for being rational, but this coal plant will emit over one million times more carbon this year than all of their nuclear plants would have over the next 20 years, and cost over twice as much to run as any one of the them. Germany’s present strategy will absolutely not allow them to reduce their carbon emissions anywhere near their goal of 40% by 2020.

(To continue reading, click here)

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