Germany, Japan Increase Coal Burning Post Fukushima

Japan was not the only nation to shutter its nuclear power plants after the March 11, 2011 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami. Germany followed suit. Consequently, both nations have seen a dramatic increase in coal burning, thus increasing emissions.
April 24, 2012, 5am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Aaron Wiener writes that in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, Germany's greens cheered when the government "shut down half the country's nuclear reactors followed two months later by a pledge to abandon nuclear power within a decade"

The results have been anything but green though.

"To make up for the lost nuclear power, which supplied 22% of Germany's electricity before the phaseout began, the country has increased its reliance on brown coal, a particularly high emitter of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and a major contributor to global warming. Brown coal now supplies 25% of Germany's electricity, up from 23% a year ago."

Wiener reports that although environmentalists supported the decision to shutter the plants, they've taken issue with how it's been executed.

"We have a government where half of the administration does not agree with the starting point that the phasing-out program was the right thing to do," said Cem Oezdemir, co-chairman of Germany's Green Party. "So what you can see is that the second part after you decided to phase out, that you change your electricity structure and that you have a master plan for energy policy, that never was really agreed upon."

Richard Mathews writes in Global Warming is Real that "after the Fukushima incident, Japan closed almost all of their nuclear facilities to conduct safety checks. It is very unlikely that these nuclear reactors will be restarted."

"Japan's nuclear power used to generate almost one third of the country's power. Presently, only 2 of Japan's 54 reactors are operational, and to make up for the energy shortfall, the country is increasingly turning to fossil fuels." The result is an expected 5% increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Thanks to David Frink

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Published on Friday, April 20, 2012 in Los Angeles Times
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