We can’t be too fussy when it comes to green energy

April 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

ATOMKRAFT? Nein danke! Germans have long taken a dim view of nuclear power. In 2011, they finally renounced nuclear altogether, preferring to build up other low-carbon power sources.

So how is the plan working out? Germany is certainly greener than many industrialised nations. But in order to keep the lights on, it is burning huge amounts of lignite, a filthy fossil fuel (see “German energy crisis points towards climate solution”).

That might not itself foil Germany’s green ambitions, if it transitions to, say, biofuel, and if plans were in hand to sequester future carbon emissions. But, strikingly, German public opinion is close to rejecting sequestration before it can even get started: a senior environment official told New Scientist that burying carbon there is about as popular as burying nuclear waste.

So Germany is not quite a role model for the changes called for by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including more action on sequestration (see “Go big on clean energy and capture carbon, says IPCC”). But it does embody the challenges. Any change in power generation will upset someone; in the UK, nuclear is tolerated but wind farms raise ire. Each country will find its own way, but none can afford to be fussy. Say “no, thanks” to all of the unappealing options, and you may end up forced to say yes to the unacceptable ones.

This article appeared in print under the headline “It’s not easy being green”






If you would like to reuse any content from New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndication department first for permission. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing options available for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to.

Comments are closed.