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Germany's Blunder?

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJune 1, 2011 7:27 PM


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So it's official: Germany is banning nuclear power. Those who applaud this decision are obviously taking the long-term view--they see a clean energy age on the horizon. But in the short term, let's be clear-eyed about the tradeoffs. For starters, their are potentially huge climate consequences. I'm curious to hear what climate policy wonks and activists think of this. Secondly, there are geopolitical implications, which has Russia smiling today. The law of unintended consequences might also turn out to be ironic, according to this analysis:

Eleven years to replace an energy source that provides nearly a quarter of its electricity is no small feat. It's particularly difficult for Germany because it must adhere to European CO2 emissions caps. Meaning Germany has to find a low-carbon source of energy. In the short term, Germany, most likely will import nuclear power from France and the Czech Republic. This will place pressure on the existing nuclear power supply and drive up costs as a result. Consumers will feel the pinch. For big industrial companies, it will feel more like a punch.

Has Germany blundered? Or made a bold decision that will eventually pay off for the environment?

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