From the New York Times news section:
By Somini Sengupta and Melissa Eddy
Jan. 16, 2020
Germany announced on Thursday that it would spend $44.5 billion to quit coal — but not for another 18 years, by 2038.
The move shows how expensive it is to stop burning the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel, despite a broad consensus that keeping coal in the ground is vital to averting a climate crisis, and how politically complicated it is.
Coal, when burned, produces huge amounts of the greenhouse gas emissions that are responsible for global warming.
Germany doesn’t have shale gas, as the United States does, which has led to the rapid decline of coal use in America, despite President Trump’s support for coal. Germany also faces intense opposition to nuclear power. After the Fukushima disaster in 2011, that opposition prompted the government to start shutting down the country’s nuclear plants, a transition that should be complete by 2022.
If Germany really wanted to do the world a huge favor to make up for certain unfortunate events of the 20th Century, it would undertake to show the world how to make nuclear power safe. If anybody can make nuclear power work safely, it is Germans, with their world’s highest combination of engineering skill times neurotic worrywart personalities.
Solar and wind are all very well, but in the long run they will still need to be complemented with an on-demand source of energy, which is either going to be some kind of fossil fuel or some kind nuclear power. Germany ought to be the world leader in resolving exactly how best to use nuclear power. Instead, they are turning their backs on nuclear energy in a cowardly fashion, while continuing to burn coal.