Letters to the Editor

Germany shuttered nuclear plants and is paying the price

Germany tested whether wind and solar can supply enough power for a modern, industrialized country.

Brian Wang writing in NextBigFuture reports, “The German government has targeted a 40 percent reduction of GHG emissions by 2020, as compared to 1990 levels, but with less than three years to go, the country remains far from achieving that goal.”

Germany admitted the 2020 goal wasn’t possible, so it moved the goal post closer to 35 percent, but Wang writes even that is unlikely. Germany blames the miss on cheap oil and natural gas, but it also shut 17 carbon-free reactors, forcing burning lignite coal, the dirtiest, CO2-emitting choice.

Fossil fuel plants put waste directly into the air we breathe. This causes illnesses and permanently injures children’s growing lungs. But government had no choice after shutting the clean nuclear plants.

Fukushima panicked Germans, who immediately shut half their nuclear plants. Only later they learned from U.N. experts the tsunami-caused nuclear failure resulted in not a single fatality, nor will released radiation harm anyone.

Wang asks: What if Germany had combined renewables with existing nuclear plants? He concludes with a level-headed, evidence-based approach, the 40 percent 2020 target could have been easily reached.

William Gloege, Santa Maria

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