Monday, September 08, 2008

Buyer's Remorse Over Nuclear Energy in Germany

pass08_bavaria We've mentioned a few times that the Germans have experience a kind of buyer's remorse over their decision to phase out nuclear energy by 2020. We haven't really found a good explanation of what the Germans would have to do to reverse this - presumably get a bill through the lower and upper houses of their parliament -  but Prime Minister Angela Merkel is definitely making it a campaign issue:

Merkel spoke at an election rally in Bavaria, where voters go to the polls this month. [Nuclear] Reactors account for 60 percent of the state's power and switching them off would force it to buy electricity from neighboring Czech Republic, she was cited as saying.

Now, we wouldn't be surprised to learn that Bavarians have a rivalry with the Czechs that make this pitch more potent, or at least are responsive to a nationalist plea, but we don't actually know this. What we do know is that this ban has a lot of heat on it lately and we'll be surprised if it lasts all the way to the next federal election a year or so from now - they seem to run their campaign season as long as we do.

(Well, maybe not so surprised - the current German government is a right-left coalition, a seemingly unworkable melange that will need to sort itself out before progress gets made. We'd say wherever the Green Party lands coalition-wise might determine the course of events.)

Picture of a Bavarian somewhere. When I was in Germany, my hosts  made fun of Bavarians as, essentially, hicks. Just reminded me that wherever one is, there's someone nearby to tease. In New York City, it was the "bridge and tunnel" folk, that is, New Jerseyans and Long Islanders.

1 comment:

Norske-Division said...

For Bavarians it would be seen as a step backwards to be depending upon the Czechs for electricity. It's not that they hate the Czechs or anything, they've got a good relationship, but Bavaria has traditionally (and is still) more developed infrastructure wise and industrially. To draw an analogy to America, it would be like Texas relying on Mexico for electricity.

And yes, any change in the law would need to pass through both Bundestag and the Bundesrat, and then be signed by the Bundeskanzler. But the Bundesrat is unlikely to stand in the way of any such law, given recent changes in the law. I will ask my friend from Germany to be sure though.