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Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:42 AM

German greenhouse gas emissions off 2.1 pct in 2011

German greenhouse gas emissions off 2.1 pct in 2011

(Reuters) - Germany's emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) were 2.1 percent down year-on-year in 2011 at 916.7 million tonnes, as the impact of more renewable energy kicked in and mild weather cut heating fuels use, data from government agency Umweltbundesamt (UBA) showed on Thursday.

The emissions of six gases - widely blamed for global warming - were down by 26.5 percent from the reference year 1990, exceeding a target for Germany to lower emissions by 21 percent under the Kyoto climate protocol in that period.

"The emissions reduction owed much to the benefit of relatively mild weather. But the growing share of renewable power and lower power exports also led to the decrease in emissions," said UBA president Jochen Flasbarth in a statement.

UBA, which cited preliminary estimates, also said the result showed that Germany's Kyoto targets could be met despite economic growth and an accelerated exit from virtually emissions-free nuclear power.

It said that in its view, European targets overall needed to be tightened ...


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Reply German greenhouse gas emissions off 2.1 pct in 2011 (Original post)
kristopher Apr 2012 OP
NickB79 Apr 2012 #1
kristopher Apr 2012 #2
kristopher Apr 2012 #3
Yo_Mama Apr 2012 #4
kristopher Apr 2012 #5
Yo_Mama Apr 2012 #6
kristopher Apr 2012 #7

Response to kristopher (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:06 PM

1. Hmmmmm....

The fall could have been sharper, if not for the German government's decision to exit nuclear power in reaction to Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant accident last March, prompting more reliance on alternative energy sources, including the heavy polluting coal.

A cold winter would have truly screwed them. They got quite lucky this year.

It probably also helped that their economy slowed greatly as the Eurozone crisis and reduced exports to China kicked in: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14539502

Growth in the German economy slowed sharply between April and June and was weaker at the start of the year than previously thought, figures show.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:22 PM

2. Yet they are STILL leading the way in carbon reductions

...and sounding the call for ever greater cuts.

We keep our nuclear plants chugging with not a hint of shutdown while simultaneously increasing our carbon emissions without any sign of change.

I'd say that despite the propaganda by the nuclear industry that nuclear is an effective way to move away from carbon, the German position that nuclear props up the carbon system is showing itself to be true.

Why Germany is phasing out nuclear power

...I want to focus on one of the deeper debates about Germany’s nuclear gambit. Nuclear power’s proponents frequently point out that it is one of the only low-carbon sources that can serve as “baseload” (always on) power. Baseload power is needed, they say, because renewable sources like solar are intermittent (the sun isn’t always shining) and non-dispatchable (the sun can’t be turned on and off at will). You need large, steady, predictable power plants if you’re going to have all those flighty renewables involved.

Believe it or not, Germans have heard this argument before. They just think it’s wrong. They don’t think renewables and baseload are complimentary; they think they’re incompatible. In 2010, Federal Minister of the Environment Norbert Röttgen said:
It is economically nonsensical to pursue two strategies at the same time, for both a centralized and a decentralized energy supply system, since both strategies would involve enormous investment requirements. I am convinced that the investment in renewable energies is the economically more promising project. But we will have to make up our minds. We can’t go down both paths at the same time.

I find that non-energy nerds have a little trouble wrapping their heads around this, so let’s walk through it with the help of this report by the German Renewable Energies Agency.



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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 05:25 PM

3. More details

German GHG emissions fall
12 Apr 2012 15:47 GMT

...Germany emitted around 917mn t of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) last year, according to preliminary data released by UBA. This is slightly — 0.5pc — higher than the record low of 912mn t of CO2e in 2009.

CO2 emissions — which account for almost 90pc of all GHG gases — fell by around 2.4pc to 799.7mn t CO2e, mainly because of the relatively mild weather, which reduced the need for heating, and also the result of increased use of renewable energies in the power sector, and to a reduction in electricity exports.

CO2 emissions fell despite the shutdown of eight nuclear reactors in the spring, and despite strong economic growth, UBA said.

...Last year's GHG emissions were 26.5pc below 1990 levels, compared with Germany's 21pc reduction pledge in its agreement under the Kyoto protocol. Germany's GHG emissions have been below the country's Kyoto protocol target since 2009.



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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:05 PM

4. Under the circs, that's a major fail

Because total German energy consumption was down 4.8%.

So the GHG-emitting portions of energy generation gained total share of energy, which is a surprise given that renewables also rose. I guess the difference is the closed nuclear plants?

Anyway, you have to give it another year to see if they can get some of their infrastructure problems solved. Right now this is not a success story, but they have been scrambling to deal with the change in plans.

Edited to add graph:

Coal usage rose and natural gas usage dropped, which explains some of it.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:37 PM

5. You nuclear boosters were predicting a disaster...

and now you pretend to find one in an overall reduction in emissions.

We should fail so spectacularly.

The story says:
German consumption of oil fell 3%, gas by 10.2%, lignite coal by 0.7% (although hard coal rose 3.7%), and nuclear by 22.9%. At the same time, use of renewable energy climbed by 4.1% and represented about 20% of the country’s electricity and 10.8% of total energy in 2011.

But in the comments it says:
Hard coal went down from 57.9 to 57.5 megatonnes.
Lignite went up from 51.6 to 53.5 megatonnes.

But by any yardstick the emissions disaster that the nuclear fan club was trying to scare everyone with simply isn't there.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 07:53 AM

6. Are you sure?

First, should you really be calling me a nuclear booster? I am not in favor of a lot of nuclear power. The risk profiles of a lot of nuclear plants in the US concern me, and unlike you, I have have been out there making the case about unrecognized risks in the real world.

I am not opposed to all nuclear power. It's better than running your economy off lignite, that's for sure. Lignite (brown coal) is the most polluting way possible to fuel your economy. The risk profile for lignite (unexpected events) is much lower, but the certain adverse consequences (atmospheric pollution, emitted radiation - radiation levels around coal plants are higher than around nuclear plants, and worse, it's associated with types of dust pollution that can be inhaled, toxic waste, etc) make the net profile worse than that of well-sited low risk modern nuclear plants.

Last year weather helped the Germans, because of course heating is an issue. If they get another more normal winter this year (probably not, but nobody controls the weather), and if they can't get the power dist infrastructure in line, they are going to have an even worse emissions profile in 2012.

That's not the goal, Kristopher. It is an unintended consequence. Hopefully that unintended consequence will be addressed this year, but right now, Germany is not making its plan at all.

And those remaining nuclear power plants do have to go down within the decade, so they need to be moving on this.

There's a negotiation this year on the gas plants (mostly planned) - right now nobody will build them because they are expensive and they don't know if they can be funded properly through the current system.

German energy consumption in 2011 actually declined 5.3% according to the final report:

Most of that is attributed to price increases, and those price increases will mount rapidly. At some point the effect will be offset by increased subsidization of energy costs for poorer consumers. Further, the Germans now really have to mount the build-out compaign for gas and electricity:

The cut-outs on costs to try to save industry are going to create a difficult problem over the next two years:

And the gas negotiations are going to have to continue, because they have to have that to incorporate the wind from the North Sea.

But whatever they do, they cannot continue raising lignite consumption and hope to meet their goal. I have no idea where they will be in two years, and as I have followed the court cases I increasingly get the idea that they don't either. If they don't start pulling it together this year it could wind up being one heck of cl*sterf**k.

It's not necessary - they are causing some of these problems because they have ignored the basics. I'd hate to see the US go this route. We do use a lot of coal, and we'd better not put ourselves in this situation.

One of India's biggest economic problems is that it doesn't have an adequate electricity infrastructure. Not only don't they have the production, but they don't have the grid.

The Germans are trying to do this on the cheap, and they are failing. We should think hard about how we are investing our money.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #6)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 11:07 AM

7. Yes, your own source contradicts your basic premise

Significant Rise of Energy Productivity in 2011 and Weather-Related Decline of German Energy Consumption
Published on March 6, 2012

Following a press release in December 2011, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Energiebilanzen (AGEB), a working group founded by energy related associations and research centers, published comprehensive preliminary information on German energy consumption and energy productivity in 2011. While the decline of the primary energy consumption of 5.3% is mainly attributable to the mild winter, energy productivity increased remarkably (8.8%), obviously reflecting high energy prices, AGEB says.

Without the weather effects, energy consumption would only have declined by 1%, according to AGEB. The working group also points out that Germany’s decision after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster to pull out of nuclear energy earlier than previously envisaged and to reach an 80% renewable energy supply by 2050 lead to a statistical effect caused by the immediate shutdown of eight nuclear power plants and the increased consumption of renewable energy. Adjusted for this effect, the decline of primary energy consumption would only have amounted to 3.8% instead of 5.3%. Together with the weather adjusted data, this means that the primary energy consumption more or less remained on the same level, AGEB says. The data has to be seen against the background of a 3% economic growth.

And I'm absolutely sure that their performance overall bears absolutely no resemblance to the "carbon emissions will skyrocket" horror stories that you and the other nuclear proponents were shouting out so loudly.

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