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December 07th 2014 print

Tony Thomas

We Have Ways to Make You Walk

The latest manifestation of Germans' weakness for excessive and irrational enthusiasms, the mania for green energy is inspiring official suggestions that seniors shun cars and younger sorts have sex with the lights off

blackoutOnce admired for their logic and technical rigour, Germans are succumbing to green craziness by the day. Germany’s Environment and Nature Conservation Minister Barbara Hendricks, a Soscial Democrat, now wants Germans to stop having sex with the lights on, thus reducing CO2 emissions. And in Hanover, an official report last month foreshadows a crackdown on grannies and grandpas driving cars instead of getting on public transport or giving their Zimmer frames a workout.

Minister Hendricks has spent 1.5 million Euros producing a series of 30-second videos on how to help the climate. One of them shows a teenage girl coming home late at night, and discovering her parents in flagrante in the lit-up lounge room.

“Hi!” says daughter, who is wearing a red beanie and leather coat.

“Hi!” says Dad, standing, in a striped woolen top. Mum, leaning over the couch, wears a yellowish dress.

Daughter flips the switch to dark and the voice-over, in German, goes: “The world says ‘Thanks!’ Five percent less energy consumption in German households makes one coal power plant redundant. Together it’s climate protection.”

Actually Hendricks ought to go further and propose cessation of human sex per se. Normal breathing involves exhalations of 40,000 parts per million of CO2 (compared with only 400ppm in the atmosphere) and I understand that sex involves accelerated breathing.

Apropos of nothing, Minister Hendricks is openly lesbian, but her public guidance to German sex aficionados is so far confined to heterosexual encounters not involving the missionary position. Also, apropos of nothing, the German Greens Party, which of course adores Hendricks’ ads,   apologized last month for its extensive links with a paedophile organization in the 1980s  and for the Greens’ campaigns at the time to legalise sex acts with children  “that occur without the use or threat of force.” The Greens did not drop their  pro-paedophile stance until 1990.

Sane climate observer Pierre Gosselin, at his Notrickzone blog, wonders about the lights-off scenario.

  • Why  are the parents in the video doing it fully dressed?
  • If the government wants citizens to do it in the dark, should citizens also turn off the winter heating and do it in the cold as well?
  • Gosselin’s commenters point out that whatever German parents may save on energy bills, they are likely to spend on other energy-consuming products, such as travel.

A second government video shows a flabby, stupid man filling the tank of his 4WD with a ski boat in tow. He does dumb pick-up gestures to a smart young woman on a bike, loses his keys and the girl rides away with him on her pillion. The voice-over goes: “The world says ‘Thanks!’ The climate is happy about every single bicycle ride.”

The video could have been shot with a flabby, stupid woman filling her 4WD, and being rescued by a  young stud on a bike, but the unwritten global rule is that only men can be shown as fat and stupid. Note, too, the distinctly pagan tone involved in “the world” saying thanks and “the climate” being grateful.

In Hanover, bureaucrats have accused the elderly of climate harm because they are driving cars more than they used to, instead of walking. This, apparently, is jeopardising the region’s transport targets for CO2 reduction.

“Today’s generation of seniors has drivers’  licenses more than ever before. In the meantime older ladies are driving cars almost as often as men are,” the official report growls. The increased mobility of grandmothers  means that they are “as a whole producing more emissions even though the cars are more environmentally friendly.” The report concludes menacingly:

“In the whole region people are walking less than they did a decade ago. However, a need for action here has not been mentioned up to now.”

The Teutonic craziness has many facets.

When the final IPCC report was released last month, Minister Hendricks spoke of using all the means available for mitigating climate change.  Maybe her videos are part of that effort. Speaking with Federal Education Minister Johanna Wanka, a Christian Democrat and, no, that really her is her surname, Hendricks emphasized the need to shut down coal-fired power as part of the program to cut the nation’s emissions 40% by 2020 against 1990 levels.

Also endorsing Hendricks’ statement was Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. That name rang a bell — and, yes, it’s the same Edenhofer who is co-chair of IPCC Working Group 111 . His candid position, stated in 2009, is that climate policy ”has almost nothing to do any more with environmental protection” and “we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.”

A little earlier, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the German government’s climate protection adviser, proposed the creation of CO2 budgets for every person on the planet, regardless whether they live in Berlin or Beijing.

While German politicians and their advisers witter about emissions, sex, grandma’s car and per-person carbon budgets, the biggest power producer in Europe, Germany’s E.ON,  on December 2 announced its  withdrawal from coal and nuclear power generation. Those politically unpopular assets will be put on the auction block.

Germany’s nine nuclear plants are scheduled for politically-directed closure in 2022. Meanwhile,  Putin last month  cancelled Russia’s $US50b  South Stream gas pipeline to Europe’s power grid while Germany’s shale gas reserves can’t be developed in the face of green opposition. Currently, German wind and solar is getting 23 billion Euros annual subsidy to generate 2b Euros worth of power – and that intermittent “renewable” power needs coal/nuclear baseload backup anyway.

We’ll soon see how Germany’s swing to wind and solar power pans out. The national grid is already precarious because of the big fluctuations in wind and solar power feed-ins. Before 2006, grid operators rarely had to resort to emergency interventions to avert blackouts. Now such interventions are running at 3500 a year. As Dr Klaus Peter Krause, of the European Institute of Climate and Energy, puts it,

Thus the power supply in Germany is no longer secure enough. It is even highly vulnerable. A blackout could occur on any given day. Up to now they have been successful at averting grid collapses by taking lightning speed action, but the number of emergencies has increased massively and is still rising.”

Blackouts, needless to say, would be catastrophic in any developed economy saturated in electricity-dependent devices.

Australia’s former Labor government believed Australia should set an example on CO2 reductions to inspire other countries. Germany has actually set an example in its attempted switch to green power. It’s an object lesson in the real-world impacts of irrationality.

Tony Thomas blogs at tthomas061.wordpress.com