Germany’s Green Energy Fiascos

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BY JACK DINI – Germany, one of the countries that leads the world in preaching the global warming doctrine and insists the rest of the world do as it says, should re-evaluate itself in regards to its environmental on-goings.

Their newest goal is to minimize their ecological footprint. Thursdays are veggie days, and old-fashioned, hand-cranked washing machines are back in vogue. Websites offer environmental tips for all kinds of situations, from cosmetics based on the phases of the moon to vibrators made of plastic without chemical softeners. There are urns made of cornstarch and coffins made in an environmentally correct manner—a final good deed before everything turns to compost. They buy organic food, put E10 in their gas tanks and switch to green electricity. Their roofs are covered in solar panels and walls are plastered with insulation. This makes them feel good about themselves, reports Alexander Neubacher. (1)


He adds, “When something benefits the environment, the need to justify it suddenly disappears. The green label eliminates all controversy. And political parties are essentially in agreement that society cannot do enough for the environment. No progressive politician wants to expose himself to the career-ending suspicion that he lacks environmental consciousness. However, on closer inspection, some of the  ‘environmental  friendly’ issues aren’t working out so well.” (1)

According to the rules of Germany’s dual system of waste management, when yogurt containers are put into the recycling bin, they have to be ‘completely empty,’ drop-free’, and ‘spoon-clean.’ Some people even put the container in the dishwasher before stuffing them into a yellow recycling bag. But then something strange happens. The yogurt container, which has been carefully rinsed and sorted, isn’t recycled at all. In fact, it’s dumped into an incinerator with all the rest of the garbage and burned. This is allowed  by law, since the dual system is required to recycle exactly 35 percent of plastic waste. Waste disposal companies can do what they want—and what is most cost-effective for them—with the remaining 65 percent. As a result, much of it ends up in waste incinerators for what’s called ‘thermal recycling,’ bringing the cycle to a sudden end. (1)

Water consumption in Germany has declined so much that there is not enough water going through the pipes to wash away fecal matter, urine and food waste, causing blockages. The inert brown sludge sloshes back and forth in the pipes, which are now much too big, releasing its full aroma. The waterworks must now periodically flush their pipes and conduits. The water that is saved with low-flow toilets is simply being pumped directly through hoses into the sewage system below. On some days, an additional half a million cubic meters of tap water is run through the Berlin drainage system to ensure what officials call the ‘necessary flow rate.’ (1)

Critics of fluorescent bulbs (CFL) argue that exposure to mercury vapor is dangerous if the bulbs are broken, and others  complain about CFL bulbs causing migraines and epilepsy attacks, resulting in medical groups asking for exemptions for those with health problems. (2)

Scientists with the German Federal Environment Agency have done tests to determine how dangerous energy-saving light bulbs are. They broke bulbs from the product line of a European brand-name manufacturer. Then they measured the concentration of toxic materials in the air of the room, once after five minutes and a second time after five hours.  All readings were well above permissible levels. In some cases, the mercury level was 20 time as high as the benchmark value. Even after five hours, there was still so much mercury in the air that it would have endangered the health of pregnant women, young children and sensitive individuals. Similar results have been obtained in the United States. (3)

People who live in thermally insulated houses are complaining about their ‘poor ventilation behavior.’ Unfortunately, it’s often  mold spreading in places where it would never have been expected, like inside the roller shutter box, behind radiators and underneath wind sills. When mold has penetrated supporting beams, the house has to be abandoned, particularly as the insulating panels become increasingly moist over time. (1)

Germany once prided itself on being the ‘photovoltaic world champion,’ doling out generous subsidies totaling more than $130 billion to citizens to invest in solar energy. But now the German government is vowing to cut the subsidies sooner than planned, and to phase out support over the next five years. Defenders of Germany’s solar subsidies claim that they have helped to create ‘green jobs.’ But each green job created by green energy policies costs an average $174,000, while some are as high as $240,000. And many ‘green jobs’ are being exported to China, meaning that Europeans subsidize Chinese jobs, with no CO2 reductions. And, despite the massive investment, solar power accounts for only about 0.3% of Germany’s total energy. (4)

Regardless of all this, here’s the real  topper. Germany has put the closure of all its nuclear reactors on the fast track since the Fukushima accident and will use climate fund cash to build coal and natural gas plants. As Ryan Maue says, “You can’t make this stuff up.” (5)


  1. Alexander Neubacher, “Germany’s failing environmental projects,” Spiegel Online International, March 15, 2012
  2. Kelsey Huber, “The incandescent bulb ban: another regulatory overreach,” The Foundry, August 13, 2010
  3. Jack Dini, “Questioning the incandescent light bulb ban,” Hawaii Reporter, August 31, 2010
  4. Bjorn Lomborg, “Germany’s sunshine daydream,”, February 16, 2011
  5. Ryan Maue, “Germany to shovel climate fund dollars into coal plants,”, July 13, 2011