An Eco-Anschluss Too Far
Regular readers of the blog may recall the post I wrote last September titled, "Springtime for Algore: A Romantic Pilgrimage to Germany’s ‘Eco–Anschluss.'" It was inspired by an article titled "How Green is My Berlin," one of the most heavily politicized essays I had ever seen in a magazine such as Condé Nast’s Traveler, an otherwise innocuous periodical whose articles take up space in-between ads proffering Louis Vuitton luggage, Armani suits, and of course, luxury travel all over the world. The author actually referred to "the eco–Anschluss," presumably hoping to add a touch of local linguistic color to his article, and not getting that the original Anschluss was Nazi Germany's assimilation of Austria in 1938.
In any case, here's a sample of the text:
I reach the Reichstag dome’s upper platform, its glass floor doubling as the ceiling of the legislature. This democracy–under–glass is more than just window–dressing: Years of freewheeling multiparty debate have produced a remarkable national consensus. At an earlier press conference, I heard the impressively well–nourished federal minister of economics and technology boast that his conservative government would “march at the forefront to solve the mega–issue of climate protection—other nations can just follow!” He itemized the eco–Anschluss on stolid fingers: German wind farms in the North Sea; German hydropower plants in the Balkans; German windmills in Romania; German solar thermal projects in Spain; a vast half–trillion–dollar complex of solar turbines in the Sahara that will surge gigawatts to whole swaths of Europe. The goal of a carbon–free economy by mid–century may be, as one local enviro put it to me, das Blaue vom Himmel—“a hopeful blue sky”—but when the minister uttered the phrase “to rescue the world,” it sounded like he meant it.
Of course, the problem with such rhetoric is that eventually the bill comes due. Or as Deutsche Welle reported in June, "Bayer threatens to leave Germany over high electricity costs:"
Pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer on Saturday issued a warning that it my leave Germany because of rising electricity prices linked to Germany's decision to end its nuclear energy program.
Bayer employs 35,000 people in Germany, but CEO Marijn Dekkers told the German weekly business magazine Wirtschaftswoche that energy prices posed a genuine threat to the company's manufacturing operations in the country.
"It is important that we remain competitive in comparison with other countries," Dekkers told the magazine. "Otherwise, a global business such as Bayer would have to consider relocating its production to countries with lower energy costs."
Dutchman Dekkers complained that Germany, which has the highest energy prices in Europe, was becoming less attractive to energy-intensive sectors such as the chemical industry.
"Energy prices will continue to rise and they are already the highest in the EU," he said.
German energy prices are expected to rise following the decision by German authorities to shutter its nuclear power plants. Last month, parliament sealed plans to phase out nuclear energy by 2022, making the country the first major industrial power to take the step in the wake of the disaster at Japan's Fukushima plant.
The photo caption at the top of the page actually reads, "Will Bayer turn out the lights at its Leverkusen, Germany plant?"
Incidentally, that reality may slowly be seeping into the hermetically-sealed world of euro-style enviro-weenies may explain why everyone's favorite Digital Brownshirt seems to be a one-man Hitler in Downfall YouTube freakout clip video these days.