The false problem of Germany’s nuclear exit

After Fukushima in 2011, Germany has unilaterally decreed the exit of nuclear power by 2022. This is a much criticized decision, particularly in France, world champion of nuclear energy. The Germans have since been accused of replacing nuclear power with coal, thus increasing their CO2 emissions. Reality or “fake news”?

First of all, Germany has not yet abolished nuclear power: the last reactors must close by 2022. The atom now accounts for 12% of gross energy production compared to 18% in 2011, when “stop the nuclear energy” decision was taken after Fukushima.


The increase in CO2 emissions from transport

As a matter of fact in 2017, the German energy sector will never have emitted so little greenhouse gas. The increase in emissions found – and so much criticized in newspapers all over the world – has mostly been due to pollution related to the transport sector, and not to a massive return to electricity production by coal power stations, as so many have claimed.


The role of renewable energies

If the coal problem remains unsolved, it is because it represents almost all emissions from the energy sector in Germany. Indeed, on the other side of the Rhine, coal, in all its forms is the primary source of gross energy production. But Germany did not compensate for the withdrawal of nuclear power by opening coal-fired power plants, it was in fact renewable energies that more than offset the decline in nuclear power. In 2017, renewable origin energy production reached 33.3%, and, while the percentage of fossil fuels remains predominant, renewable energies occasionally even exceed coal.

This could give France some ideas to review, especially when we hear that the resignation of Nicolas Hulot, now former Minister of Ecology and Energy Transition, was due to the impossible battle he tried to fight against industry and nuclear lobbies …

Le paysage énergétique allemand en 2017 (mise à jour du 27 mars 2018)

A propos de Marion LEMOIGNE

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