Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Germany’s model for transition from coal and nuclear to 100% renewable energy

logo-EnergiewendeThe international community has at its disposal more than sufficient renewable resources and the technical capabilities to sustainably harvest these sources. And given the total cost calculations mentioned earlier, we have a moral responsibility to do so. The time for a transition, then, is now. An Energiewende by any other name will still smell as sweet

How Germans Go Green Germany is laying out a model for how to gut greenhouse gas emissions.US News.com By  and  Dec. 9, 2014  With the German government’s reaffirmation this month of carbon emissions reduction goals of 40 percent by 2020, and its courageous commitment to phase out coal, the country is now leading the world with an aggressive and unparalleled climate action plan. This sets a new bar for nations gathering in Lima, Peru, for climate talks.

Germany’s energy transition, or Energiewende, and its aggressive goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 is a direct result of experiencing, firsthand, the risks that come with dirtier and more dangerous fuels. Germany first targeted nuclear and now it’s targeting coal – and for good reason.

Phasing out nuclear energy was a decision based on two factors Germans found so convincing that they now won’t even accept nuclear power as a bridge technology: the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe and the question of nuclear waste storage.

The decision to opt-out of nuclear power started with Chernobyl, and the nuclear contamination of Germany 28 years ago, and it ended with the Fukushima disaster. By then, nuclear power had lost all traction with the German public. Additionally, there was no conclusive evidence of how to deal with nuclear waste responsibly. This meant that the true cost of producing a kilowatt-hour of nuclear energy remained unknown, leaving most Germans skeptical.

That nuclear rationale is relevant to Germany’s current response to coal. While coal’s catastrophic risks may not be as immediately visible as Chernobyl or Fukushima, the costs are equally immense. Both nuclear and coal come with an incredibly high capacity to contaminate natural resources. And nuclear and coal pollutants don’t disappear over time. They accumulate and contaminate quickly and the consequences will be borne most heavily by future generations.

On nuclear, disposing radioactive waste in deep rock formations with high radiation density and little geological activity is not a sustainable option. Leaks are likely and already occurring. On coal, a vast quantity of heavy metals, toxins and radioactive substances are emitted by all power plants that use coal for electricity generation. Even the most modern and effective filters do not enable coal-fired power plants to be zero emission.

Coal-fired power plants, in particular, emit large amounts of greenhouse gases that have a direct impact on global warming and the inevitable rise of sea levels, as well as extreme weather events. And coal’s contaminating potential is indiscriminate, transcending boundaries and borders, and equally culpable for catastrophic consequences…………….

A responsible alternative, then, if carbon taxes and trading mechanisms are unfeasible or fallible, is to ramp up renewable energy investments, as Germany has done with its Energiewende and will continue to do. And why not: The international community has at its disposal more than sufficient renewable resources and the technical capabilities to sustainably harvest these sources. And given the total cost calculations mentioned earlier, we have a moral responsibility to do so. The time for a transition, then, is now. An Energiewende by any other name will still smell as sweet. http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/world-report/2014/12/09/germany-commits-to-alternative-energy-not-coal-or-nuclear

December 10, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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