Germany and Japan are finally winning a war together. Unfortunately, it is the War on Rationality. Coal, as everybody knows, is by far the most damaging source of energy we use, both in terms of the harm to humans and the impact on the climate.
It’s twice as bad as natural gas, and dozens of times worse than solar or nuclear or wind power. Yet both Germany and Japan have been building lots of new coal-fired power stations. Why?
Would it upset you if I said it’s because they are, despite their apparent sophistication, superstitious peasants at heart? Well, go ahead and get upset.
Germany still gets more than a third of its energy from burning coal, most of it ultra-polluting lignite or “brown” coal. If most of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants had not been shut down after 2012 (the last are set to close within two years), then at least half that coal would not have been needed.
There had been an active anti-nuclear power movement in Germany for some time, but what triggered the 2012 decision to shut the entire sector down was the Fukushima incident of the previous year.
For the rest of this column: https://lfpress.com/opinion/columnists/dyer-japan-germanys-anti-nuke-pro-coal-power-policies-defy-reason