Bashing Japan and Germany Over Nuclear Exit
With audacious hypocrisy, American pro-nuclear pundits have been indulging in the familiar sport of losers – the relentless bashing of the more successful.
With nuclear energy rapidly losing favor around the globe, the industry’s boosters have taken to blaming countries that have rejected it for worsening climate change. Top of the target list? Germany, which has vowed to generate 80-100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050; and Japan, which chose this month not to restart the last of its 54 nuclear reactors.
The accusation that these countries are worsening climate change is pretty rich coming from US commentators. By any measure – whether calculating total CO2 emissions or per capita – the US is one of the worst offenders on the planet. Among major nations, the US trails only Australia (almost exclusively reliant on coal) in emissions per capita at 17.7 tonnes per year (based on US Energy Information Administration 2009 data). Japan and Germany rank 37th and 38th respectively. China recently overtook the US in both total CO2 and total greenhouse gas emissions. But the US remains in commanding second place, responsible for 17.8% of the world’s total CO2 emissions and 15.7% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
By contrast, Japan’s 2009 CO2 emissions stood at 3.6% of the world’s total. Germany’s were at 2.5%. While a greenhouse gas emissions increase is bad news for the planet no matter where it occurs, the US should put its own carbon emissions house in order before criticizing others. Even if both Japan and Germany’s emissions were to rise significantly, they will continue to trail the US by a large margin.
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