Tuesday, October 20, 2015

National Geo: November 2015: Germany's Will To Change

"Germany's energy revolution aims to replace nukes and fossil fuels.  Could it be a model for the world?"  Pages 32-63

By Robert Kunzig

Some of the highlights of this article are:

•  The map/graph on page 44 is entitled:  Germany's Audacious Goal, followed by this text:
"Germany has Europe's second highest consumer electricity prices, yet public support for its Energiewende -- an aggressive transition to renewable energy -- is at an impressive 92%.  The support is rooted in an eco-friendly culture, a collective desire to abandon nuclear energy, and law that allow citizens to profit from selling their energy to the grid.  Roughly 27% of Germany's electricity is from renewables; the goal is at least 80% by 2050."

 •  A graph on page 45 mentions Germany's impressive 27% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990-2012.

• WWII reminiscing (Hamburg's St. Nikolai "Mahnmal" - memorial)

• The updated (&@#$%!) WWII bunkers

• Germany's reluctance to slow the mining of brown coal (lignite), which is one of the few resources the country has in abundance

• Germany's origin myth of being a woodland people (defeating the Romans, etc.)

• Major changes which have benefited Germany include rebuilding after WWII; peaceful reunification; so many communities once thought would be abandoned (from shuttering local nuclear reactors, for instance) are now thriving --some even completely self-sufficient using green energy.

• New smart building and car designs.

See if you agree that the article has a powerful conclusion: 

"In a recent essay William Nordhaus, a Yale economist who has spent decades studying the problem of addressing climate change, identified what he considers its essence: free riders.  Because it's a global problem, and doing something is costly, every country has an incentive to do nothing and hope that others will act.  While most countries have been free riders, Germany has behaved differently: It has ridden out ahead. And in so doing, it has made the journey easier for the rest of us."

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