Tag: Germany

How Not to Fight Global Warming

Following on Alex’s post about the booming energy sector, you should check out this report from Der Spiegel about the disaster that is Germany’s green energy sector:

For society as a whole, the costs have reached levels comparable only to the euro-zone bailouts. This year, German consumers will be forced to pay €20 billion ($26 billion) for electricity from solar, wind and biogas plants — electricity with a market price of just over €3 billion. Even the figure of €20 billion is disputable if you include all the unintended costs and collateral damage associated with the project. Solar panels and wind turbines at times generate huge amounts of electricity, and sometimes none at all. Depending on the weather and the time of day, the country can face absurd states of energy surplus or deficit.

If there is too much power coming from the grid, wind turbines have to be shut down. Nevertheless, consumers are still paying for the “phantom electricity” the turbines are theoretically generating. Occasionally, Germany has to pay fees to dump already subsidized green energy, creating what experts refer to as “negative electricity prices.”

On the other hand, when the wind suddenly stops blowing, and in particular during the cold season, supply becomes scarce. That’s when heavy oil and coal power plants have to be fired up to close the gap, which is why Germany’s energy producers in 2012 actually released more climate-damaging carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than in 2011.

Emphasis mine. New gas plants are able to cut greenhouse gas emission in half through better engineering and using gas instead of coal. But somehow, green energy is increasing greenhouse gas emissions (although that may partially be because Germany is foolishly phasing our nuclear power).

It actually gets worse. Big factories are being told to shut down when energy use exceeds capacity. Spiking energy prices and taxes are incredibly hard on poor Germans, with some 300,000 having the power shut off every year for delinquent bills. The soaring bills are mainly going into some 4,000 different subsidies that mainly go to affluent people who can afford to dabble in green energy.

I should point that Der Spiegel is not a conservative rag that opposes green energy. What they actually are suggesting is modeling Germany’s energy policy after Sweden’s, which abandoned micromanaging in favor of overall mandates on renewable energy. This has allowed Swedish energy interests to invest in whatever technology is most promising (mainly hydroelectric, but many greens don’t like hydro). For the US, a better policy might be a carbon tax, which attempt to fold in the environmental cost of CO2 into the cost of carbon energy and could be balanced by cutting or eliminating corporate income taxes. But however you look at it, the system of micro-management and subsidies is a disaster.

Long term, the only solution to global warming is technological innovation. The current version of solar and wind are not up to replacing fossil fuels. The energy grid is not efficient enough. And there is no way of storing energy effectively. Here’s a question: will German businesses and universities make big breakthroughs in dark rooms? Will they make them when their industry can’t run because there is no power? Will they do it through a maze of red tape, subsidies and mandates?

The good news is that we have time to back away from this foolishness. The latest data show that global warming has slowed, as it did in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and climate sensitivity may have been overestimated. We have a lot more time to deal with this than we thought — decades more. That means we don’t have to break our civilization on the alter of wind turbines to stop global warming NOW RIGHT NOW. We have time to unshackle industry, fund basic research and make the true breakthroughs that will give our economy the same boost 20 years from now that fracking and shale are giving it now.

Down Goes Europe

Gulp:

The euro zone debt crisis dragged the bloc into its second recession since 2009 in the third quarter despite modest growth in Germany and France, data showed on Thursday.

The French and German economies both managed 0.2 percent growth in the July-to-September period but their resilience could not save the 17-nation bloc from contraction as the likes of The Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Austria shrank.

Economic output in the euro zone fell 0.1 percent in the quarter, following a 0.2 percent drop in the second quarter.

Those two quarters of contraction put the euro zone’s 9.4 trillion euro ($12 trillion) economy back into recession, although Italy and Spain have been contracting for a year already and Greece is suffering an outright depression.

This has an effect on our export of course. And given this week’s surge in jobless claims and the looming fiscal cliff, we could be looking at real trouble ahead.

The usual suspects are blaming “austerity” but that ignores the critical point: Europe is not the United States. We have a little leeway in how much money we can borrow (although that leeway is running out). Europe does not. Whether it’s good for the economy or bad, budget balancing is something they have no choice about.

That having been said, I’m curious about what the future brings. Economist are projecting a further contraction in Q4 followed by a stagnant 2013. But this will test their theories. If the Europeans can get their finances under control, this could work like the Reagan recession did — an awful hangover from years of bad fiscal policy followed by an expansion. The crisis Reagan faced was different: it was monetary, rather than fiscal. But they share an underlying truth: swallowing a bitter pill for future solvency.

(Of course, all bets are off if the Germans and French get tired of being dragged into the mire by the PIIGS.)

Protests and marches are going on around the Continent but I’m not sure what they expect. There’s no magic money tree the EU can shake to make this “austerity” unnecessary. The Euros are running out of Euros. Protesting and marching in the streets is not going to change that reality.

Kraut Whores

And you thought you knew everything there was to know about the Nazis:

Adolf Hitler wanted his soldiers’ women to be dolls – literally.

The Nazi leader ordered the Nazis to develop so-called sex dolls to help keep his troops away from French women-who his henchmen said had been giving them sexually transmitted diseases and keeping them off the battlefield, The Sun reported.

The secret project, known as the “Borghild Project,” was discovered by author Graeme Donald while he was researching the history of the Barbie doll.

The project began in 1940 when SS chief Heinrich Himmler wrote that the “greatest danger in Paris is the widespread and uncontrolled presence of whores, picking up clients in bars, dance halls, and other places.”

“It is our duty to prevent soldiers from risking their health for the sake of a quick adventure,” he said in a memo.

Yeah, I could see why they would not want this getting around, Aryan supremacy, funny. Although, they did have condoms back then, weren’t they part of the American GI’s basic survival kit when going abroad?

You can read about the project here.

Some choice excerpts:

were meant to follow the Stormtroopers in ” desinfections-trailers” into the enemy`s land, in order to stop them visiting ”infection herds”

So the army traveled with it’s own portable brothel where soldiers could go inside and tear one off with the doll of his choice. But how do you find that “special” one, you don’t want to screw the one that every other guy goes after, that would make her a whore.

”Sure thing, purpose and goal of the dolls is to relieve our soldiers. They have to fight and not be on the browl or mingle with ”foreign womenfolk”. However: no real men will prefer a doll to a real woman, until our technicians meet the following quality standards-

1. The synthetic flesh has to feel the same like real flesh

2. The doll’ s body should be as agile and moveable as the real body

3. The doll’s organ should feel absolutely realistic.”

Allow me to make a #4: They must not, under any circumstances, be able to talk.

And even then, does anyone really think this would work? I mean isn’t plundering all about taking the spoils of war from the conquered? Dodging bullets all day makes one rather randy, so any Fräulein or Mademoiselle within grabbing distance would be much more appealing then some ”galvonoplastical doll”. The female populations of distant lands has always been a motivation for rallying troops to battle.

This whole concept, dumb as it is, lowers the bar dramatically of that master race they claimed to be. Although it is interesting that the 50 or so prototypes were sent to Berlin for further testing, then mysteriously lost track of. We knew Hitler and his posse were all degenerate sociopaths, but throw “playing with dolls” into the mix, even the Russians had standards.