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Germany to miss 2030 climate goal: experts

www.dw.com Germany to miss 2030 climate goal: experts – DW – 06/03/2024

Germany wants to be climate neutral by 2045. But a panel of government climate advisers says it's already in danger of missing a key target to cut planet-heating emissions by the end of the decade.

Germany to miss 2030 climate goal: experts – DW – 06/03/2024

Germany wants to be climate neutral by 2045. But a panel of government climate advisers says it's already in danger of missing a key target to cut planet-heating emissions by the end of the decade.

Germany's climate advisory body has called for new policy measures to slash greenhouse gas emissions, warning that the country looks set to miss its 2030 climate change targets.

In a report published on Monday, the Council of Experts on Climate Change said Germany was unlikely to reach its goal of cutting 65% of emissions by the end of the decade compared to 1990 levels.

The panel, which is appointed by the government and has independent authority to assess the country's climate performance, said sectors such as transport and construction in particular were struggling to decarbonize.

The findings contradict statements from German Climate Protection Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, who said in March that projections from the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) showed emissions were falling and Germany would meet its goal.

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  • I heavily dislike that countries energy policy, they should build more nuclear and turn off coal.

    • Building nuclear takes on average something like 15 years, so I don't see how this is going to help. Germany's coal will be shut off by 2035 anyways.

      Besides, Germany already has a huge problem because no one can figure out where to put the nuclear waste they already have (one of the supposed "secure storages" is now leaking water and will likely poison the groundwater in a huge area, and will need to be reopened and cleared, costing untold billions).

      At this point, even the major energy companies say it's not realistic nor beneficial to change course to reenter nuclear.

      • Building nuclear takes on average something like 15 years

        Building EPRs, yes. Not Gen II reactors, which could be built and running only 4-5 years after the beginning of the construction.

        Germany's coal will be shut off by 2035 anyways.

        Only to be replaced by gas, which is still far from being carbon free.

        Besides, Germany already has a huge problem because no one can figure out where to put the nuclear waste they already have

        No one can agree on where to put nuclear waste. This is not some unsolvable problem, it's just anti-nuclear that opposes every solution given by scientists.

        • Not Gen II reactors, which could be [built and running only 4-5 years after the beginning of the construction

          Pretty much every nuclear reactor that's recently been built has been crazily over budget and significantly late. It seems it is usually a decade later than planned.

          Anyway, the beginning of construction is a highly misleading timeframe. There's a long process before construction even starts. Not unique to nuclear reactors.

          I dislike nuclear reactor discussions because of similar arguments. E.g. "new technology" fixes some problem, while ignoring the drawbacks. Or when it is pointed out that the approval process can take ages there's often the "just force it through". For years I've seen people advocate for SMRs. Which turn out to be to have loads of drawbacks, yet again.

          If someone says that it'll take 15 years then the person didn't solely mean the actual construction. They mean from wanting it to having it working.

          If a city decides on a new area for homes the actual construction of those homes is just a tiny part of the whole process. If you buy such a new home there can be a huge difference to when you signed for it and when construction starts. The contract is about start until end of construction, the mortgage around it is not, at least in Netherlands.

          • Pretty much every nuclear reactor that’s recently been built has been crazily over budget and significantly late. It seems it is usually a decade later than planned.

            If you look at the EPRs, well, we can thank the Germans who co-developed the project, and pushed for excessive requirements making the design complex, such as the double containment and the system to make maintenance possible without shutting down the reactor. Requirements that the French didn't need or want, but which were accepted as a concession to keep the Germans in the project, before they slammed the door anyway.

            Even Okiluoto and Hinkley Point can be regarded as serial entries, so different are they from Flamanville, and so much work had to be done to simplify them.

            Let's scrap the EPR design, go back to Gen IIs for now, since we know they're reliable, safe, cheap and easy to build, and move straight on to Gen IV when it's ready.

            Anyway, the beginning of construction is a highly misleading timeframe. There’s a long process before construction even starts. Not unique to nuclear reactors.

            You still have nuclear power plants, you don't even have to start from scratch. But yes, NIMBYS are a significant problem, but renewables are already facing this problem too, and it's going to intensify greatly with the amount of space it takes to build wind turbines, solar panels, and the colossal amount of storage it takes to make them viable without fossil, hydro or nuclear power.

            I dislike nuclear reactor discussions because of similar arguments. E.g. “new technology” fixes some problem, while ignoring the drawbacks

            I'm talking about Gen II reactors like the 56 that make up France's nuclear power fleet, which are tried and tested, safe, inexpensive, efficient, and have enabled France to decarbonize almost all its electricity in two decades. I'm not into technosolutionism, I'm into empiricism.

            If someone says that it’ll take 15 years then the person didn’t solely mean the actual construction. They mean from wanting it to having it working.

            Okay, so the 4 Blayais reactors, totalling 3.64GWe (equivalent to almost 11GW of wind power, but without the need for storage or redundancy) were connected to the grid 6.5 to 8.5 years after the first public survey, made before the project was started.

            I'm not claiming that every reactor project will be built so quickly, but we have to stop pretending that nuclear power is inherently slow to build. It's the lack of political will that makes nuclear power slow to build, and it's not an unsolvable problem.

        • Yeah, that thing with the SMRs/ Gen II reactors turns out to be not so much a thing: https://ieefa.org/articles/small-modular-reactors-are-still-too-expensive-too-slow-and-too-risky

        • interesting idea, though Chernobyl and Fukushima were both gen2s 💀

          I guess it could be made more safe cheaply with modern electronics and software (seeing IoT/"AI"/boeing software engineers in a nuclear facility would freak me the fuck out though)

          Both Chernobyl and Fukushima could've been avoided/reduced in effect with good failsafe software imo.

          I kinda doubt we'd be able to make gen2s cheaper than gen3s (at least in small capacities) though, because their production lines and designs would've been long shut down/forgotten

          • interesting idea, though Chernobyl and Fukushima were both gen2s 💀

            The reactor that exploded at Chernobyl was an RBMK model, not a PWR. This implies major design differences from French PWRs, including:

            • A positive temperature coefficient, which means that an increase in core temperature leads to an increase in reactivity, which in turn leads to an increase in core temperature, and so on, implying instability and the possibility of a runaway. French PWRs are designed with a negative temperature coefficient, so an increase in core temperature leads to a decrease in reactivity, and vice-versa, physically preventing the runaway that caused Chernobyl.
            • A flaw in the shutdown system: graphite rods were used to reduce reactivity during reactor shutdown. On the one hand, these graphite rods descended too slowly into the reactor core, and on the other, they physically increased the reactor's reactivity when they were first inserted, before reducing it. In fact, it was irradiated graphite that burned and radioactively contaminated the whole area around Chernobyl, not uranium or anything else. On french ones, there is simply no graphite, nothing inflammable nor any rods of any sort, it's water that's used to stop the reactors.
            • There was also no containment vessel.

            Two things to note: the USSR knew about these defects years before the Chernobyl disaster, but the scientists who raised the alarm were neutralized. The other is that the explosion and fire in the reactor were caused by the failure of inexperienced technicians to follow procedures, under pressure from senior management, because the plant was to be visited by a high-ranking official the following day, and therefore the tests they were running at the moment had to be completed at all costs.

            Chernobyl exploded because of the USSR's cult of secrecy and appearance, causing incompetence and corruption.

            For Fukushima, it should be noted that Fukushima Daini, although closer to the epicenter of the earthquake, but with better safety standards, was only slightly damaged and even served as a refuge for tsunami survivors.

            For Daichii, same thing as Chernobyl, we have a very long list of failures and even falsifications by TEPCO dating from 2002, and even more in 2007, with alarms sounded on all sides by seismologists and scientists of all sides, and the government did not react.

            We must understand that these are not disasters that happened out of nowhere, that we could never have predicted, and even less that we could never have avoided. It was a very long succession of bad choices by the incompetent and corrupt.

            But despite all this, the Fukushima nuclear disaster caused no deaths, and Chernobyl only killed a few thousand people at most. Nuclear power, in its entire history, has killed only a fraction of what coal kills each year.

            I guess it could be made more safe cheaply with modern electronics and software (seeing IoT/“AI”/boeing software engineers in a nuclear facility would freak me the fuck out though)

            It has already been done, and without AI/IOT or anything of that kind. For the French REPs, this resulted in the implementation of additional testing protocols (I know that they tested accelerated aging over 10-20-30 years of parts like cables, for example), addition of generators, renovation and improvement of industrial parts, etc.

            Both Chernobyl and Fukushima could’ve been avoided/reduced in effect with good failsafe software imo.

            No. Fukushima Daichi's walls were just not meant to handle more than a 5 meters wave. It took a 14 meters high wave right in the face.

            I kinda doubt we’d be able to make gen2s cheaper than gen3s (at least in small capacities) though, because their production lines and designs would’ve been long shut down/forgotten

            The industrial fabric has been crumbling for a long time, that's for sure, but at least the designs are much simpler, and we have thousands of engineers working on gen IIs and can contribute their expertise. We don't have any of that on the gen IIIs.

            • I agree with your points anyway but I still believe better electronics/software would've at least reduced the extent of the Fukushima disaster, because iirc one of the big problems was the inability to operate even low power electronics because of the backup power failure.

              I'd think that the giant environmental consequences of the disaster could've been mitigated if things like pressure sensors from the reactors were visible by operators after the power loss and depressurization vents and the emergency core cooling system could've been activated.

              imo the software shouldn't have let the backup batteries to die running the cooling pumps when it would've been very important for reducing the overall extent of the damage

    • Right, lets be pissed about a country that tries to go co2 neutral in a way you dont like, instead of all the ones not moving a finger.

      • As a German, I am pissed about the way we try to get carbon neutral. Shutting off the nuclear plants before the coal plants was just plain stupid and primarily motivated by unjustified fear and that sweet sweet coal lobby money. And now our energy is still expensive af and still dirty and will be for a while.

        And don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that there’s more and more focus on renewables and that they make up a sizeable and growing percentage of our energy supply but it’s pretty clear that that’s not enough or at least not fast enough.

      • My country tries to go carbon neutral in a way that's physically possible to do so, but sadly our efforts here are way meaningless if a much bigger and more contaminating country like Germany goes and opens up coal plants.

        We're a tiny country, we hardly have an impact, Germany is not.

        • Same. Feels like the older generations just hijacked the discourse on how to decarbonize. "Oh you want to reduce carbon emissions? Fine. But we'll do it in a way that makes us feel good."

          Boomers had plenty of time to adjust their lifestyle. They failed. Now they want us to take drastic measures to make up for it (or they will want to in the coming decades).

        • We haven't opened up any coal plants in the last 10 years. Only have been closing them down consistently. Go somewhere else with your populist misinformation please.

          Edit: also, I've been to Chile. 20 million inhabitants (1/4 of Germany) Is hardly "tiny". And on all those endless bus rides through the Andes and vast windy places, I've maybe seen 10 wind turbines total. Similar for solar. Electric vehicles and corresponding infrastructure basically don't exist. So kindly don't shit on a country that actually conducts meaningful changes while elevating your own, which evidently does much less.

          • Total 2022 Co2 emissions:

            Germany: 673,6 Mt Source

            Chile: 93 Mt Source

            2022 % of green energy of total installed electrical capacity:

            Germany : 46% source

            Chile: 56,5% source

            I saw, like everyone else all the news of Germany expanding coal mines, reactivating coal power plants while having the means to not do that (keep using nuclear a while longer), I'm 19, climate change is scary A.F., what can I say, It's a terrible news to hear that a western country reopens that kind of plant just because reasonably irrational fear of the alternative to it, here in Chile there is a big compromise to do something about it, but like the figures I show above, we don't matter that much, is hearth breaking to know that my whole country depends on the collective action of countries like you, I feel I can do nothing but to watch while still having to face the consequences.

            • The reason for not reopening nuclear power plants is not "irrational fear", although that might be the reason for closing them in the first place, depending on your point of view. Reopening them is plain impossible in a realistic timeframe. Since the closure was something that had been decided many years ago, all of the plants that have been closed already are past their service limit and would have to be renovated / serviced before reactivating them, which is a lengthy process (5+ years). Additionally, some plants that were still open actually were used past their safety limits solely because Russia started a war and reduced our access to natural gas, which was meant to be a kind of intermediary (I know, far from ideal), but there is no feasible way of extending their use any further.

              In any case, we are not building more fossil capacity. The only kind of power generation that is being built up is renewable. Nuclear is no renewable source, the fuel is finite. Also, I wonder: what is Chile planning to do with their spent fuel rods? They are proving to be quite the problem for us, Google "Endlager Asse" for some sobering information.

              The expansion of coal mines is heavily contested here, we had lengthy and sometimes violent protests at the sites which were unfortunately quelled by police. Again, though - no coal plants were opened or even reopened. All of our coal plants have their end of life decided already and will be closed within the next few years.

              I don't know your linked sources (never heard of the site) and am not in the mood for checking their correctness or comparability, so I'm not going to argue about them.

              But, pretending that my country matters that much more regarding our emissions is a little dishonest. As a country, we make up less than 2% of Global emissions, with that figure shrinking rapidly (as your sources confirm, we are reducing per-capita and also total emissions year by year). I agree that saving the world from climate change depends on collective action, but kindly shit on countries that don't take said action and have a much larger impact on the planet (especially per capita), like, say, China, which has been building quite the amount of coal plants in the last few years or the US, which has insane per capita emissions and heavy opposition to any green technology.

    • What do you dislike?

      Coal is used less in Germany every year since 20 years and being shut down until 2035.

      Other fossil energy sources like oil and nuclear energy are also vanishing.

      Wind, solar, water and biomass are rising constantly. That's sustainable.

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