After Paris: A Green Disaster in the Making in Germany
What Trump repeatedly promised to do during the election campaign has been done, and America is no longer part of the Paris Agreement. Predictably, the mainstream media here and across the Atlantic have again gone totally unhinged with prophesies of doom for America, the imminent demise of the Trump administration, and the inevitable rise of Germany and Chancellor Merkel as the new leader of the free world.
This may indeed be a watershed event, but not at all as the left here and there imagines it. Contrary to the fervent desires of the leftist elites, it will result not in the political collapse of Trump's America, but in the exposure of the incredible hypocrisy and ultimate weakness of the socialistic environmental schemes characterizing today's "European project." When it's all said and done, either Europe will come back to its senses in close alliance with America, or it will not have much of a future.
Some may object to calling today's E.U. a socialist scheme, pointing out that its leading member, Germany, has been led for 12 years by an allegedly conservative Christian Democrat government. It is a fact, however, that under Merkel, the CDU has moved so far left as to be virtually indistinguishable on most policy issues from its social-democratic coalition partners. As for the Paris Agreement itself, after a decent interval to allow for the requisite elites' huffing and puffing while denying the inevitable, it will be quietly abandoned, much as the Kyoto Protocol was after the U.S. refused to be part of it.
Of vastly greater political significance are the inevitable shocks the E.U. faces after Paris as the huge penalties for poor policy choices made come due in the near future – and none more so than in the new putative leader of the free world, Germany. For largely unnoticed and unreported in the U.S., with one notable exception, Germany under Merkel has made catastrophic mistakes that require urgent and costly repairs. One stands out as particularly daunting: the wholesale effort to switch Germany to renewable energy, known as the energy transition, or Energiewende.
The Energiewende, in short, represented an effort to put into practice the principles behind the Paris Agreement and switch Germany's electric system to renewable energy. It was introduced as early as 1991 in the belief that renewable energy could easily replace the hated fossil fuels if properly subsidized via a feed-in tariff and written into law as a Renewable Energy Act (EEG) in 2000. By offering subsidies of up to seven times the market price for electricity paid by the consumer, guaranteeing it for 20 years, and offering all manner of additional benefits, the government caused a renewable building frenzy in a country that is neither sunny nor particularly windy. And to the extent that there is wind, it is in the north, far from the industrial centers in the south that need the energy. To add insult to injury, in 2011, Merkel ordered the closing down of the nuclear industry that produced 30% of the country's clean and cheap energy on the absurd assumption that Germany could suffer an earthquake and tsunami like what happened at Fukushima.
Thus, the renewable energy took off spectacularly, and the international green claque promptly declared Germany the paragon of environmental virtue and an example to be followed by all. But much of it turned out to be fake news, as documented in a new and devastating critique of the Energiewende by one of the founders of the German green movement and a pioneer of the renewable energy business, Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, who calls it "A Disaster in the Making."
Indeed, it is. The mindless rush to renewables has already done tremendous damage to the German standard of living, with 300,000 households each year having their electricity turned off for non-payment. With the cost of consumer-born subsidies at 25 euros bln per annum and surcharges of 6.88 euro cents per kWh, or twice the market price of a kilowatt, Germans pay three times more than Americans today.
Worse is to come. According to the German consumer agency NAEB, by 2020, they will be paying 45 euro cents per kWh, compared to 10 cents for the U.S. and 20 cents in France. Nor is the green paragon likely to fulfill any of the solemn pledges it has made. It has missed its emission reduction targets for eight years in a row now and it will miss its 2020 40% promised reduction by a mile, to say nothing of the promised 1 million electric cars on the street by 2020. To accomplish its planned 80%-95% share of renewables by 2050, says Vahrenholt, Germany would have to triple its wind production to 155 gigawatts – which means one 200-meter-high turbine every 2.7 km in the entire country. It won't happen.
Against the background of this unfolding calamity, Merkel's solemn promise to "lead energy transition" together with the Chinese sounds exactly like what it is – more crass hypocrisy. It is yet more proof of how right President Trump was to pull America out of this sorry circus.
What's even more promising is that Trump's decision has made sober-thinking individuals start questioning Merkel's disastrous policies even in Germany. Since then, a group of influential government conservatives have openly challenged Merkel's "unilateral" policies and demanded that they change.
Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org) and editor of Bulgariaanalytica.org. He tweets on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and can be reached at email@example.com.