In January, US environmental website Grist.org published a survey of leaders in the environmental community to see what they thought the focus should be this year. A similar survey was conducted among leading German environmental activists and climate thinkers. What do they prioritize for 2015? Continue Reading
Repeatedly, critics of Germany’s energy transition say that France’s is a better model to follow. A closer look, however, reveals an impressive amount of overlapping. Contrary to the conventional wisdom even of many energy experts, France and Germany are pursuing a similar energy path.
Energy experts often argue about the best path forward, transitioning to a truly sustainable economy. Many see Germany with its Energiewende leading this transition. But, assuming the observation is correct, why so? Why is Germany moving faster than, let’s say, the United States? One of the factors which is often mentioned is the political system. Do parties matter? is an old, but nevertheless highly current question of political scientists around the world. So what was, and is the role of the German Green Party in the Energiewende?
Is Germany building new coal plants to replace nuclear despite the country’s green ambitions? Many observers conclude so. But the growth of renewables has more than replaced nuclear power over the past decade. Coal is not making a comeback in Germany. However, German policymakers should reduce the country’s coal dependency sooner than scheduled. Continue Reading
After the nuclear catastrophe of Fukushima, as a German living in the U.S., I often get asked these days: What’s going on in Germany with the shutdown of nuclear power plants — is that all mass hysteria? There are good reasons why Germany is moving away so quickly from nuclear power. Certainly, fear is a factor. However, this angst in the face of a nuclear catastrophe has a rational core. Fukushima provides enough grounds to take every single nuclear power plant on the face of the Earth off-line. Regardless of whether the cause is an earthquake, a tsunami, a flood, a plane crash, a terrorist attack, or simple human error, failure of the emergency power system leads to uncontrollable consequences. Continue Reading