Climate Change

Germany Flops on Climate Change Goals

Germany won't be able to meet the goal of cutting emissions by 20 percent before 2020. But the attempt caused residential energy prices to double.

|

Caro / Lueger/Newscom

State-sponsored ventures into renewable energy have hit a wall in Germany, the supposed leader of the war on climate change.

The Associated Press reports that Germany's environment minister, Svenja Schulze, said that the country will probably not meet its carbon emission reduction goals for 2020. This follows the government's official decision to abandon these goals in January.

Germany set out to establish itself as a leader in the international fight against man-made climate change by promising to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2020 and up to 95 percent in 2050, relative to 1990 levels. The German government now says it will miss the 2020 target by eight percent.

Moving towards cleaner, sustainable energy is certainly a noble goal, but Germany's attempted green revolution doubled residential energy rates for consumers in the form of greater surcharges. This does little for lower income households who now face much larger electricity bills and much smaller disposable incomes. Furthermore, the higher costs take money away from more productive sectors of the economy, inhibiting innovation and production.

Germany's failed endeavor shows that fossil fuels are still very much a part of our near future. Alternative energy sources may have potential that can best be explored through the market, but as of now, they simply cannot compete, in terms of efficiency and reliability with fossil fuels, which have played, and continue to play, a huge role in human development. Even after the effort to boost alternative energy, over one-third of Germany's energy still comes from coal. This slow transition, coupled with Germany's growing aversion to nuclear power, make it highly unlikely green energy will help Germany meet its carbon emission goals.

Even so, Germany appears adamant about its energy goals, and followed its setback with an even more sweeping promise of achieving a 55 percent reduction in its carbon emissions by 2030. Considering Germany's failure, American legislators should be wary of similar proposals.

Advertisement

NEXT: The Southern Poverty Law Center's Apology to Maajid Nawaz Is Bad News for Free Speech

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Germany Flops

    Well, it IS World Cup season, no?

  2. This follows the government’s official decision to abandon these goals in January.

    Funny that. Politicians are elected, goals are set, the media showers accolades and then quietly *poof* the goals are simply abandoned.

    I like this: Germany aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 40 percent by 2020 and up to 95 percent in 2050

    El oh fucking el.

    1. 95 percent in 2050

      No more carbonated beer. And definitely no sauerkraut.

      1. But Sauerkraut is a super food now!

        1. As long as it’s no cooked. But no amount of gut health is worth the death of polar bears which the ensuing farts inevitably cause.

      2. A bakery in Sacramento California was shut down due to the carbon emission created by the yeast. it not an unlikely prospect that other food stuffs would be shut down as well

        1. Beer would seem to be a pretty significant contributor to this.

        2. Ron|6.18.18 @ 6:12PM|#
          “A bakery in Sacramento California was shut down due to the carbon emission created by the yeast. it not an unlikely prospect that other food stuffs would be shut down as well.”

          I do not think this is tin-foil hat area:
          It is possible in CA to register a vehicle as ‘non-operable’ if, for instance, it a vintage vehicle under restoration.
          Moonbeam has *promised* a 50% reduction in (something – something) by 2030, and CA (even by “exporting” that stuff), is not getting close: “California’s greenhouse gas emission targets are getting tougher”
          http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me
          -pc-jerry-brown-orders-emission-targets-
          for-climate-change-20150429-story.html

          Now, if you were moonbeam or his successor and saw you we’re getting close to the date and nowhere close to the bone-headed “goal”, and there was a pile of non-ops on those horrible polluting vehicles, do you think your non-op is going to be easy to convert back to an op registration?
          If so, I have a real deal on the north anchorage of a nearby bridge.

          1. I bet killing their economy will not hurt CA at all.

  3. Might have been easier if they hadn’t given up on nuclear because a reactor on the coast of a highly earthquake prone country got swamped by a tsunami.

    1. Might have been easier if they hadn’t given up on nuclear because a reactor on the coast of a highly earthquake prone country got swamped by a tsunami.

      And I suppose all those people who died of hypothermia, exposure, and dehydration are just chopped liver?

      1. Well, really, it depends on where you shop. And how serious they are about truth in labeling.

        1. Ask VW/Audi

  4. If only there was some political system that could better control the economy and lead to the intended results.

    1. Why else do you think they’re importing so many North African “refugees”? They’ve show those Germans how to drop their emissions 95%.

  5. followed its setback with an even more sweeping promise of achieving a 55 percent reduction in its carbon emissions by 2030

    Insanity – literally.

    1. Well, it won’t result in any tangible impact on the climate, but the value of the FEELZ is incalculable. Germans will remain atop of the Cato Global Smugness index.

  6. .Moving towards cleaner, sustainable energy is certainly a noble goal’ – ???? Noble????? Huh??????????

    1. They can’t go full yokel and just call the Communist Green Movement out for the bullshit it is. There are cocktail parties to attend, damn it!

    2. All else being equal, sure, why not?

      Burning stuff is very convenient and efficient. But even putting aside the question of climate change, there are all kinds of problems with it.

      1. It’s easier to just divide everything into good or evil.

    3. El Oso, remember, this is part of the LIBERTARIAN MOMENT

  7. At least this turned out better than the last time Germany tried to save the world.

    1. I don’t recall any history book, including German ones, claiming they were trying to save the world.
      Purify it, yes; but not save it.

      1. I bet you’re a lot of fun at parties.

        1. Doesn’t sound like he’d be fun at parti… oh right. I get it.

      2. Come on now, Hitler was trying to save the world from communism, and save the white race from all the lesser peoples!

        Funny thing is I think he actually did save us from communism. Being the history buff I am I am fairly certain the world would have ended up worse off if Hitler hadn’t come to power in Germany, and all the horrors that unleashed.

        Germany was on the verge of falling to communism when he came to power. He saved Spain from going communist. By the time the war started France was also on the verge of the communists taking over. So imagine if you will an alternate history:

        Germany goes communist. Spain falls to the commies. France goes communist as well with support from Germany and the USSR. The Germans and the USSR jointly invade Poland/other eastern European countries. The British and Italians just don’t have the juice to do a fat lot about any of it… Perhaps a WWII scale war happens between the communist block and the UK/USA/etc anyway… Difference is this time the USSR combined with Germany, France, and other conquered states actually has the muscle to over power the USA, at least to the point of stalemate. Etc.

        You get the picture. It’s highly likely without Hitler Germany, Spain, France, and possibly others would have gone communist. With Stalin’s ego I doubt a massive war would have been avoided. Problem is they might have won, unlike the Nazis. So in a twisted way Hitler may have been the best possible outcome given the completely fuct circumstances.

  8. Arbeit Macht Kohlenstoff Frei

  9. Ron shouldn’t feel the need to respond to me, as I’m just here for the free booze, but I have to point out once again the shilling for nuclear power. Once he defended it by saying that we could have a free-market in nuclear (meaning it would be insurable) if only we eased up on the regulations. For real Because the new guys making the new plants say that they’re perfectly safe, they swear. Not at all like all those other times they said the same thing and then a tsunami happened at one.

    1. Especially since this isn’t Ron’s piece.

      1. I’m aware that shilling for nuclear is a Koch-approved exception to libertarianism and he’s not the only one who does it.

        1. Say something stupid, get called on it, double down. You’ve been a one note troll for damn near a decade now, aren’t you bored yet?

          1. Well he is a socialist.

        2. How in the name of any fcvkin thing is it an “exception” to Libertarianism?

          1. … Because it’s a business that can’t possibly exist in a free market?

            1. …as opposed to “green” energy companies that are totes self-sufficient and have a long track record of reliably providing electricity to large groups of people.

    2. Because technical progress is a lie.

      People knew for a long time that the older designs had vulnerabilities. It’s not like there has been some conspiracy to hide the flaws in reactor designs. And even with those flaws there have been about two significant nuclear accidents at power plants ever.

      1. And I’m all for it. Even a few more accidents is worth getting off fossil fuels.

        It’s just not a free-market solution and never will be.

        1. Maybe someday we’ll have a free market in energy, and you will be proven right.

          1. It’s a cute little game of, “Heads I win. Tails you lose.” that Tony’s playing. True socialism’s never been tried and, therefor, can’t be rightly condemned but libertarians aren’t willing to slaughter people by the millions in order to enforce an absolute, 100% free market so they’re really just ideological shills and they can be condemned for not executing on principle.

            Wreckers and kulaks.

            1. We don’t need to go that far, but you guys definitely express more disdain for democratic choice than I do.

              All I’m talking about is limited liability, btw.

              1. All I’m talking about is limited liability

                Which is a horrible idea. Regulation + limited liability is how you get the BP Gulf spill (look up 1990 Oil Pollution Act). If there were unlimited liability, BP’s offshore rig almost certainly would never have been built in the first place.

                Stimulating nuclear through limited liability is a fool’s errand. What you’ll get is Chernobyl.

              2. What the hell is more democratic than a free market?

                1. In theory, in a democracy everyone has exactly the same say in things. Not like the market at all. The freer the market, the less like democracy it looks, in fact.

                  1. Given your slavish devotion to authoritarianism it isn’t surprising that you can only imagine pure democracy instead of, say, a democracy in the form of a republic with real property rights. How else will we finally achieve the socialist utopia?

                  2. “…In fact.”

                    You don’t seem to know what that word means.

                  3. In practice, pure democracy is you and your fascist friends deciding you know how to handle other people’s business better then they can.

                  4. In practice, a market is more democratic than government.

                    “Everyone has the same say in things” doesn’t equal “51% of the people can do whatever they want with the rest.”

                    Government says you can’t smoke pot, while markets say, “Here, hold my joint while I cry about that.”

                    Which one is giving people an equal say?

                    Hint: the answer isn’t government.

                  5. In a pure democracy, gays would have zero rights whatsoever. Because the majority would’ve shut that down LONG ago.

                    Be glad you do not live in one.

    3. Not at all like all those other times they said the same thing and then a tsunami happened at one.

      And everybody died of exposure and dehydration like they would in a tsunami *without* a nuclear reactor.

      1. I love that Tony thinks a reactor being hit by an earthquake AND tsunami is, somehow, a common occurrence. And it caused a whopping zero deaths, It was far less dangerous than Chernobyl, which was a terrible Soviet reactor based on an incredibly flawed design than did an idiotic test.

        Hell, look at the death tolls from nuclear energy. Take away the USSR, which was a shithole and couldn’t manage a fart properly, and all of the accidents combined killed 99 people. And this includes radiotherapy accidents. And nuclear plants provided electricity for cities starting in 1956.

        So, in 62 years, we’ve had 99 deaths, Or .62 a year.

        1. Shit, math IS hard.

          1.6 deaths a year.

  10. Anytime I read ‘Climate Change’ I know Euroecofaggotry will follow so I click elsewhere.

  11. Germany set out to establish itself as a leader in the international fight against man-made climate change by promising to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2020 and up to 95 percent in 2050

    Well, *there’s* the mistake. Germany should have promised to cut emissions by *up to* 40 percent by 2020.

    1. They will just have to buy more indulgences to make up for the shortfall.

      1. A Diet of Worms could address that issue as well

  12. In my home country, Holland, the government is scheming to outlaw abundant, cheap natural gas and retrofit millions of homes with electrical heating and cooking. The insanity and infeasibility of these plans weren’t even considered and if I’m not mistaken, they recently became Law.

    1. Are you kidding? I thought the Dutch were extremely practical people. Isn’t the world’s largest oil refinery in Holland? I am sure they will never close that, when they can force average people to convert their stoves and boilers to electricity. Electric heat is extremely expensive by the way, at least when it gets very cold, and will be even more so when the electricity has to come from “renewable” sources.

  13. Reason headline: “Germany won’t be able to meet the goal of cutting emissions by 20 percent before 2020.”

    Article detail: “Official estimates project that Europe’s biggest economy will trim its greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent or less by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.”

    RIF

  14. Doesnt the USA consistently outperform Europe on these idiotic attempts to cut emissions?

    1. We “accidentally” outdid them because we let the market run wild! We’ve switched to natural gas in such huge numbers in recent years we’ve actually been doing awesome with emissions, despite not even really trying. Instead of trying to cut it to zero (which is a lie anyway, because solar panels and wind turbines require plenty of carbon emissions to make) we simply found something slightly cleaner. Natural gas is pretty legit stuff, and we have crap tons of it. Even if solar/wind become viable, natural gas will probably end up being our swing energy source for when the sun ain’t shining for MANY decades to come.

  15. Uh oh! You mean reality even caught up with the fancy Euro snobs??? What insanity might happen next? Surely they won’t notice that illiterate African and Arab migrants can’t magically replace highly educated Germans in the economy overnight. That would be too crazy even for them…

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.