At least two German states are prioritizing economic growth over fighting global warming, according to Breaking Views.
North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg are â€œat risk of tacitly joining Donald Trump in turning its back on the Paris climate change deal,â€ Breaking View reportedÂ Wednesday. Â These states are so integral to Germany meeting its Paris agreement on climate change pledge, if they donâ€™t cut emissions enough the whole country could default.
Environmentalists at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) commissioned a study in 2016 that claims if even one of the stateâ€™s refused to reduce CO2 emissions, it would cause a default.
Both German states run their economies off coal power plants, and their governments have vowed to protectÂ theÂ more than 70,000 coal jobsÂ in the states. Many of these coal jobs are located in economically deprived regions in the countryâ€™s east.
Germany gets roughly 44 percent of itsÂ power from coal and is likely to continue doing so due to a government program phasing out the countryâ€™s nuclear power plants. This shift caused Germanyâ€™s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to actually rise by 28 million tons each year. Additionally,Â Germany has been scaling back subsidies for green power since its legislatureÂ voted to abandon them last July.
If Germany remains reliant on coal power, it could destroy the Paris agreement.
â€œUnless [Angela] Merkel can rein in the brown coal enthusiasts at home, she risks sending a devastating message to the world,â€ states Breaking View. â€œIf a country as rich and ecologically conscious as Germany prioritises coal mining jobs over the fight against global warming, others will also find it easier to turn their back on the treaty.â€
This isnâ€™t the first time Germanyâ€™s plans to reduce CO2 emissions have run into trouble.
In early March, an architect of Germanyâ€™s global warming plan to reduce carbonÂ emissionsÂ called it â€œa disasterâ€Â that cost too much money. Germany is estimated to have paidÂ over $1.1 trillionÂ to support green power. This â€œEnergiewendeâ€ aimed to boost the amount of wind and solar power to fight global warming, but the countryâ€™s CO2 emissions havenâ€™t significantly decreased andÂ may have actually gone upÂ due to the inherent unreliability of wind and solar power.
Germany even had to pay wind farms $548 million in 2016 to switch off to prevent damage to the electric grid,Â according to a survey of power companiesÂ by the newspaper Wirtschaftswoche.Â All ofÂ Germanyâ€™s subsidies and support for green energy have sharply increased power prices, with the average GermanÂ paying 39 cents per kilowatt-hourÂ for electricity. The average American only spendsÂ 10.4 cents per kilowatt-hour by comparison.
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