NY Times puts green lipstick on a pig

Columnist Thomas Friedman has won three Pulitzer Prizes.  His editorial skills are in full display in his May 6, 2015 New York Times article "Germany, the Green Superpower."  He seems anxious to share his Nobel Prize experiences by awarding a Nobel Peace Prize to Germany for their "energy transformation" program and for what he sees as a resultant "stability of our planet and climate."  A true literary professional, he knows how to put the proverbial "lipstick on a pig" and make it seem like a genuine thing of beauty.

To do so, his article ignores headlines in the German press.  For example, take Prof. Dr. Horst-Joachim Lüde

Energy professor Dr. Kurt Gehlert: "Germany Energiewende 'A Failure'" ..."Population Left Disillusioned"!

Friedman neglected to mention that 15,000 coal miners took to the streets of Berlin to protest over potential job losses.  This in the same week he was entranced by the German green-energy wonder.

Friedman claims that Energiewende "was to create demand that would drive down the cost of solar and wind to make them mainstream, affordable options. And, in that, the Energiewende has been an undiluted success."  Tell that to the German consumers now paying the highest electricity prices in Europe.  For some, electricity is becoming a luxury item.  Unable to pay electricity rates over twice the price of ours, 800,000 poor Germans have had their power cut off.  Manufacturing plants are leaving Germany for other countries in search of cheaper and more stable electric energy.  

Solar panels and wind turbines produce energy, yes, but neither reliably nor predictably.  The German government has built huge wind turbine farms in the North Sea.  It is now struggling to provide the missing electric transmission lines to link the turbines to southern Germany without destroying much of the intervening idyllic German countryside.

As reported by the Bloomberg article:

Heiko Hain, mayor of Weissdorf, said the high-voltage lines needed to ease the jam in the north would be a blight on his 14th-century town, located 500 kilometers (300 miles) south of the Danish border.

"We aren't convinced the line is needed and instead support local generation," Hain said by phone. "It could go through a sports field and residential areas and make it hard to plan industrial development."

Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer, a political ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, also opposes the north-south lines in his state and more than 90 protest groups have sprouted across the country.

A recent German government report notes that Germany's system "rewards the most inefficient plants, doesn't contribute to protecting the climate, jeopardizes the energy supply and puts the poor at a disadvantage."  A Nobel Peace Prize for this, Mr. Friedman?

Germany is building new coal power plants to replace the energy provided by nuclear power plants being shut down.  They are to be powered by lignite, a brown coal of low caloric content.  German's newest and most energy-efficient gas turbine plants are forced into an uneconomical standby status as Energiewende  policies mandate the  preferential use of wind and solar.  Thus, cheap lignite-powered plants are built and produce high levels of pollutants that are the exact opposite goals of the government's green policies.

As for Friedman's "stability of our planet and climate" concern, he might console himself with the fact that the global satellite temperature record of the past 18 years and 5 months shows a statistically flat line, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen about 10 percent.

Three oinks to Friedman's lipstick report.  It is a green porker.

Charles G. Battig, M.D., Piedmont Chapter president, VA-Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE).  His website is www.climateis.com.