It was only a short two and a half months ago -- April 1 to be precise -- that I nominated the country of Germany as "The Biggest April Fool." The reason for the nomination was that Germany's so-called Energiewende ("energy transition") program, initiated in 2010, had saddled German consumers with electricity rates approximately triple the U.S. average, but had brought about exactly zero reduction in Germany's CO2 emissions. Don't believe it could be that bad? Here's the chart of Germany's greenhouse gas emissions by year from that post, data from the Umwelt Bundesamt (Germany's Federal Environmental Agency):
The CO2 emissions were 790 million metric tons in 2009 (last year before Energiewende) and 797 million metric tons in 2017. It couldn't possibly get more embarrassing than that!
Yet still Germany soldiered on with plans to build more and yet more solar and wind generation facilities, even though the ability of more such capacity to lead to CO2 emissions reductions had long since been exhausted. Didn't the Germans realize that the world was laughing at them? As recently as April, you would have had to answer "no."
There are indications in the latest news that the Germans may finally be starting to catch on. The most recent newsletter from the Global Warming Policy Foundation has three items of interest.
First, Clean Energy Wire reported on June 13 that Germany was about to release a report conceding that the country's 2020 goal for greenhouse gas emissions reductions was going to be missed by a wide margin.
The German government has conceded that the country is on course to widely miss its 2020 climate target. The economic boom, the pressure of immigration, and high emissions in transport mean that the energy transition pioneer is headed for a greenhouse gas emission cut of only 32 percent compared to 1990 – in contrast to the official target of a 40 percent reduction, according to the government’s Climate Protection Report.
Since the 1990 emissions were 1252 million metric tons (see chart above), a 40% reduction would mean going to 751 MMte, while the 32% reduction would mean only going to 851 MMte. As of 2017 they were at 905 MMte. In other words, they are already at about a 28% reduction, and getting to 32% only means achieving about 4 more points. Frankly, I don't believe they will do that either, given the total lack of any reductions whatsoever for the past decade. But at least this latest announcement means that they are going to stop punishing their population to achieve completely meaningless and futile greenhouse gas goals.
In item number two, German Energy Minister Peter Altmeier showed up on June 11 at a meeting of EU energy ministers in Luxembourg, where the idea going in was for the group to impose quotas on each country of how much of its energy must come from so-called "renewables" by 2030 (and so forth). There was talk of setting a goal of 33 - 35% of energy from renewables by that year. Germany already gets about 30% of its electricity from wind and solar; but, of course, electricity is only about half of its energy usage, so the proportion of overall energy usage from the renewables at present is only around 15%. Altmeier was there to say that the 30+% by 2030 was ridiculous and unachievable. From Euractiv, June 11:
German Energy Minister Peter Altmaier, . . . rejected calls from a group of other EU countries to boost the share of renewables to 33-35% of the bloc’s energy mix by 2030. . . . “Germany supports responsible but achievable targets,” Altmaier said from the outset, underlining Berlin’s efforts to raise the share of renewables to 15% of the country’s overall energy mix. But he said those efforts also carried a cost for the German taxpayer, which he put at €25 billion per year. “And if we are setting targets that are definitely above 30%, that means that within a decade, our share has to be more than doubled – clearly more than doubled,” Altmaier pointed out. “We’re not going to manage that."
Left unanswered was the obvious next question: If you can't really get the proportion of energy from renewables much above 15%, or the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels much above 28%, why bother with this nonsense at all? After all, China and India are in the process of seeing their emissions explode, and between them they have something like 30 times the population of Germany. Germany could zero out its emissions entirely, and the reduction would be so relatively small that the world would never notice.
And in the final item, a German organization called Vernunftkraft (maybe that means "Sensible Power"?) put out an updated report titled (in the English version) "Compendium for a Sensible Energy Policy." This Report is some 40 pages long, and widely covers many aspects of the lunacy of trying to replace fossil fuels with energy from the sun and wind. But the focus is on the simple fact that solar and wind power don't work, at least if by "work" we mean are capable of providing a fully functioning 24/7/365 electricity system on their own. In a flood of devastating charts and graphs, the Report shows how the addition of more and more solar and wind capacity in Germany only makes for endlessly wider and wilder swings back and forth from full generation to nothing and back. No matter how many of these things you build, there are still calm nights when they will generate nothing at all, and gloomy winter days (sometimes 10 in a row) where they will generate next to nothing.
Really, Germany, it is time to put this nonsense behind you. It seems that they are starting to realize that, but still can't quite bring themselves to say it fully out loud.