Donald Trump will be the next US president. For too long, climate campaigners focused on policies and technical fixes. It’s time to start listening to the people affected again, rather than talking past them. A view from Germany by Craig Morris.
Brittany has had its fair share of heroes, not least the fearsome duo Asterix and Obelix and their fight against the imperial powers of Rome. Patrick Saultier would be the last person to compare himself to the indomitable pair, but he, with a group of strong-minded modern day Gauls, is leading a twenty-first century quest, not to defeat the Romans, but to defeat out-dated French legislation and to bring renewable energy to les Bretons. Philippa Nuttall Jones reports about the modern-day electricity rebels.
An often heard criticism of Germany’s Energiewende is its high price tag for consumers. Peter Sopher argues that a focus on price alone is shortsighted – as the economic and societal benefits outweight the cost by far.
In the coming months, the EU will decide on its future energy mix and the role of renewables. So far, the outlook is bleak. Silvia Brugger explains why the EU should opt for a much more ambitious program: Renewables are cheaper and reduce Europe’s foreign energy dependence.
One of the reasons to be a first mover is technological leadership. Germany is recognized as such a first mover in wind power, biomass, and solar. New data reveal the extent to which Germany has succeeded, as Craig Morris explains.
When the Fukushima accident happened, both Japan and Germany were highly dependent on nuclear power. Whereas Germany has sped up its Energiewende ever since, Japanese politics have remained captured by the interest of utilities. Amory Lovins compares the political effects of the nuclear accident on both countries and debunks some myths around the outcomes of Germany’s energy transition along the way.
Reports on German coal mining sometimes depict the destruction of villages as something new – and almost always as an ironic new outcome of the Energiewende. In reality, it’s a continuation of a century’s business as usual. And German citizens are not the defenseless anti-coal victims they are portrayed to be. In reality, it’s not easy to convince local communities affected by mining that renewables are a better option. Craig Morris investigates.
Why was a nuclear phaseout easier than a coal phaseout in Germany? This is one of the most frequently asked questions we hear. Craig Morris has an answer about the historic reasons – and it’s not what you’re expecting. For the potential of a future coal phaseout, he has co-authored a new study.
Regardless of debate about the success of Germany’s renewables revolution, there is no denying that a small town in the corner of rural eastern Germany, 40 miles south of Berlin, may be one of the best examples of decentralized self-sufficiency. Feldheim (pop. 150), in the cash-strapped state of Brandenburg, was a communist collective farm back when Germany was still divided into East and West. Now it is a model renewable energy village putting into practice Germany’s vision of a renewably powered future, as RMI’s Laurie Guevara-Stone reports.
The European Commission has recently started an inquiry into German exceptions for certain industries from the renewable energy surcharge. German business leaders and politicians perceived this as an attack on the German Energiewende. Silvia Brugger suggests that instead of seeing Brussels as an enemy of the German Energiewende, Germany should try to better inform and cooperate with its European partners on the German Energiewende and take European opinions seriously.