How about that, there are no free lunches in energy production. From Irina Slav at oilprice.com:
Germany, the poster child for renewable energy, sourcing close to half of its electricity from renewable sources, plans to close all of its nuclear power plants by 2022. Its coal-fired plants, meanwhile, will be operating until 2038. According to a study from the U.S. non-profit National Bureau of Economic Research, Germany is paying dearly for this nuclear phase-out–with human lives.
The study looked at electricity generation data between 2011 and 2017 to assess the costs and benefits of the nuclear phase-out, which was triggered by the Fukushima disaster in 2011 and which to this day enjoys the support of all parliamentary powers in Europe’s largest economy. It just so happens that some costs may be higher than anticipated.
The shutting down of nuclear plants naturally requires the replacement of this capacity with something else. Despite its reputation as a leader in solar and wind, Germany has had to resort to more natural gas-powered generation and, quite importantly, more coal generation. As of mid-2019, coal accounted for almost 30 percent of Germany’s energy mix, with nuclear at 13.1 percent and gas at 9.3 percent.
A hard Brexit might be in both Macron’s and Johnson’s interests. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
Something odd is happening with Brexit. It looks like Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing for a hard Brexit much to my surprise.
Johnson’s strong showing in the recent election which secured the Tories its biggest majority since the days of Margaret Thatcher should have set the stage for the great Brexit bait and switch.
This has been my argument for months since Johnson became the front-runner to replace Theresa May. All Johnson had to do was manipulate events to get a majority which marginalizes the hard Brexiteers of the European Research Group (ERG).
Then he could undermine Brexit by giving back all the concessions during his subsequent negotiations with the EU over a trade deal.
This analysis should have been the correct one given the staunch opposition by the political elite in the U.K. to Brexit.
There’s no end to the foreign policy stupidity coming out of Washington, especially policies designed to antagonize Russia. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:
Congress and the White House compete in year-end stupidity sweepstakes
At the end of the nineteenth century, Lord Palmerston stated what he thought was obvious, that “England has no eternal friends, England has no perpetual enemies, England has only eternal and perpetual interests.” Palmerston was saying that national interests should drive the relationships with foreigners. A nation will have amicable relations most of the time with some countries and difficult relations with some others, but the bottom line should always be what is beneficial for one’s own country and people.
If Palmerston were alive today and observing the relationship of the United States of America with the rest of the world, he might well find Washington to be an exception to his rule. The U.S., to be sure, has been adept at turning adversaries into enemies and disappointing friends, and it is all done with a glib assurance that doing so will somehow bring democracy and freedom to all. Indeed, either neoliberal democracy promotion or the neoconservative version of the same have been seen as an overriding and compelling interest during the past twenty years even though the policies themselves have been disastrous and have only damaged the real interests of the American people.
We do this all the time with countries we consider rivals or who have committed ‘human rights abuses’ or contravened international laws or societal norms.
But this is about a simple commercial transaction. Yes, it has geopolitical implications, but those are secondary. No one will be harmed by Nordstream 2, The real harm is to the U.S.’s ability to bring political pressure on European countries to adopt its anti-Russian policies.
The Russians and Europeans are refusing to dance to the US government’s tune. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
A new Bloomberg headline reads “U.S. Concedes Defeat on Gas Pipeline It Sees as Russian Threat” just following new sanctions included in the House and Senate passed 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week.
But two administration officials tell Bloomberg it’s too little too late, despite Trump’s heightened rhetoric of calling Germany “a captive to Russia” and charging Berlin with essentially giving “billions” of dollars to Russia:
Senior U.S. administration officials, who asked not to be identified discussing the administration’s take on the project, said sanctions that passed Congress on Tuesday as part of a defense bill are too late to have any effect. The U.S. instead will try to impose costs on other Russian energy projects, one of the officials added.
Germany wants its immigration policies in force throughout the EU, no exceptions. Several Eastern Europe states are resisting. From Soeren Kern at gatestoneinstitute.org:
The continuing debate over migration is, at its core, about European federalism and the degree to which the European Union will be allowed to usurp decision-making powers from its 28 member states.
If everything goes according to plan, the draft legislation would be adopted by the European Parliament in the second half of 2020 when Germany holds the presidency of the EU. It would then be ratified by the European Council, made up of the leaders of the EU member states.
“We fundamentally reject illegal migration. We also reject allowing smuggling gangs to decide who will live in Europe.” — Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
“The V4’s [Visegrád group: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia] position is clear. We are not willing to admit any illegal migrants into central Europe. The success and security of central Europe is thanks to our pursuit of a firm anti-migration policy, and this will endure…. Hungarians insist on our right to decide whom to allow into our country and with whom we wish to live.” — Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has unveiled a new plan to reform the European asylum system. A leaked draft of the proposal shows that all member states of the EU would be required to take in illegal migrants. (Photo by Michele Tantussi/Getty Images)
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has unveiled a new plan to reform the European asylum system. A draft of the proposal leaked to the media shows that all member states of the European Union would be required to take in illegal migrants.
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