Monday, May 30, 2011

Germany returns to the dark ages!

Germany made the momentous decision today to phase out nuclear power plants - for good.

"We want the electricity of the future to be safer and at the same time reliable and affordable," said Chancellor Angela Merkel. "That means we must have a new approach to the supply network, energy efficiency, renewable energy and also long-term monitoring of the process."

This is in response to the terrifying nuclear disaster still taking place in Japan - but is it a wise response? After all, nuclear power plants currently supply Germany with 22% of its power needs.

Although the impact of a nuclear disaster can be completely devastating - as we're currently witnessing in Japan - such disasters are very, very rare. That's important to note when comparing the environmental impact of what we consider "safe" means of energy production - coal and gas - which churn pollutants and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere twenty-four hours a day.

Obviously in an ideal world we'd rely on so-called "renewable" sources of energy - hydroelectric, solar, wind and geothermal. However, it's currently not possible to meet the world's energy needs through renewable energy - which is going to be the crisis Germany faces as it phases out nuclear power. Their decision is reactionary, impractical and unsustainable - which is why Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetschke was quick to classify the decision as "strongly colored by emotions" and that it risked Germany's economic future.

Personally, even in the wake of the Fukushima catastrophe, I think first world countries should be investing more money in nuclear plants, not less.

But that being said, I certainly don't want to ever live within 100 miles of one.

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