German nuclear phase-out is bad news for Britain
While Germany considers a nuclear-free future, Britain is bound to face pressure to follow suit
WHEN Europe's largest economy announces it is phasing out nuclear energy, the rest of the world has to pay attention. In what amounts to the biggest coup yet for the green lobby, Germany has said it will be nuclear free by 2022.
The news has sent shockwaves across the world, with sceptics questioning whether such an ambitious target is possible without widespread blackouts - and energy companies threatening legal action.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, believes the move is essential in the wake of the nuclear catastrophe that befell fellow export powerhouse Japan in March when a tsunami caused a meltdown at its Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The majority of Germans are now against nuclear power, but what do the commentators think?
Nuclear phase-out is too much too fastDorothea Slems writes in Die Welt that although the German economy can survive without nuclear power, such a quick phase-out "is negligent". A stable power supply is taken for granted in Germany - and any suggestion that this was no longer 100 per cent guaranteed might deter investors.
"A look back at the oil price shocks in the 1970s shows how sensitive the question of energy is.
"This time, however, it would not be a problem for the whole world but only for us Germans. The government should take care not to risk a homemade energy crisis for the sake of political expedience."
As momentous as the fall of the Berlin Wall It took a socialist-Green coalition government to overcome a post-war German taboo on sending troops into a foreign country (Kosovo). And, as Bernhard Potter writes in Die Tageszeitung, only a 'black-yellow' coalition (Merkel's centre-right Christian Democrats and the pro-business Free Democrats) could possibly pull off a plan like the proposed nuclear phase-out.
Under the headline, 'A moment like the fall of the Wall', he writes: "It is normally difficult to recognise a historic moment when you are next to it. And you should be very careful with that label. But here's one: a timetable for an industrialised country to move to a sustainable energy supply... That has not happened before, it is a step in the right direction - and the world is watching."
This does not bode well for the UKDaniel Johnson warns in the Daily Telegraph of the consequences for Britain of Germany's nuclear phase-out. "Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the European Union has a habit of imposing German prejudices on the rest of its member states. Enemies of nuclear energy will be emboldened to pressurise other governments, including our own, to follow the German lead." ·
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