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Most Germans would sacrifice lifestyle to ditch nuclear energy

The Local · 3 Apr 2011, 11:23

Published: 03 Apr 2011 11:23 GMT+02:00

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The poll found that 60 percent of those questioned were in favour of Germany generating its energy from only non-nuclear sources – even if this meant personal sacrifices.

Polling company Emnid was commissioned by the Bild am Sonntag to conduct the survey, which questioned 501 people.

Of those, 30 percent said they wanted an immediate exit from nuclear energy while 27 percent said they would accept it for another five years. A further 20 percent said another ten years of nuclear energy was acceptable and necessary – as planned by the Social Democrat-Green coalition.

Only 17 percent of those asked said they were in favour of nuclear power being included in Germany’s energy policy until 2030 or longer.

Such opinions benefit the political fortunes of the Green Party, said Klaus Schöppner, head of Emnid. “After the atomic catastrophe in Japan, people are very emotional. In this situation, the Greens can only win sympathy,” he said.

And the results showed that 27 percent of those asked favoured the Green Party over all others, while 54 percent wanted to see the Greens play a bigger role in the future than currently. This latter view was shared by 36 percent of Christian Democrat supporters.

Those in favour of ditching nuclear energy have the churches on their side too, it emerged on Sunday, when the Catholic and Protestant representatives on the Ethics Commission on Atomic Energy expressed their views.

Munich Archbishop Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who represents the Catholic Church on the commission, told Sunday's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that he felt a technology that had incalculable consequences for entire generations could not be trusted.

And Ulrich Fischer, Baden state bishop of the Evangelical Church, warned in the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper on Saturday, of a "foul compromise" should domestic nuclear power stations be closed but nuclear-generated energy be imported.

He said Germany should proceed with an exit strategy as fast as possible – under the condition that social life continues with clear energy saving measures.

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“We are dealing with goods which we cannot leave to the market,” said Marx, adding that financial help for the poor should be considered if a new mixture of energy, including renewable sources, increased prices.

The Ethics Commission on the Future of Nuclear Energy meets on Monday for the first time and includes a range of people from politics, business, society and the churches. They have been charged by Chancellor Angela Merkel to draw up conditions under which the continued use of nuclear power might continue in Germany in the face of the disaster in Japan.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:45 April 3, 2011 by pepsionice
So, let's get the question right. You wouldn't mind having a daily black-out of power between 9AM and 1PM? Or you wouldn't mind stopping all inter-city subways at 8PM in the evening? Or you wouldn't mind switching off seventy percent of outdoor lighting during the evening hours? Or you wouldn't mind telling stores to toss out half the light bulbs they have throughout a windowless store? Or would you like to mandate that refrigerators barely cool at all....causing spoiled food on a weekly basis?

Which one is it?

Go and try to take any German family back to the 1930s style of living and watch how quick they change their tune.
12:27 April 3, 2011 by Obreption
What are the green alternatives? Is there enough space in Germany for wind farms? Are the Harz Mountains going to be covered in photo voltaic cells? Have we solved the solar powered lamp yet? I agree with the comment above. While appreciating native German angst over nuclear power, it doesn't seem to be such a big issue in the UK; it is barely on the radar apart from scare stories about iodine.

I dread to think how much energy has gone into delivering flowers for the English Mother's Day today.
12:39 April 3, 2011 by berfel

In B-W, they need to cut back on 60% of their electricity use to be nuclear-free. The measures you note wouldn't be enough.

Manufacturing would have to scale down massively. Of course the products would still be in demand, so the population would tend to migrate along with production, if it's still reasonable to do so. B-W without Mercedes, Porsche, Audi, Bosch, ...

Sure they'd achive the necessary energy cuts. But there'd be nobody left to actually produce wealth to pay real taxes, not just taxes on money handed out by social engineers.

The nuclear fears are totally irrational. Pumped up by fear-mongers who benefit from people making irrational decisions.

if EnBW were totally privately owned, they could shut down all their nuclear power stations as a demonstration of the consequences that the alleged 30% wanting to take an immediate exit.
13:11 April 3, 2011 by DOZ
Maybe, but after a year the German People would have an up-rising. Typical, no guts no glory.
13:16 April 3, 2011 by way2cool
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
13:22 April 3, 2011 by Englishted
501 people of a country of over 80million .

Not a very good poll.

However that said it is showing the knee-jerk reaction to a earthquake in Japan.

If Germany had a quake on that scale it would have big problems with or without

nuclear power plants .Also the country is surrounded by plants do they intend to force their closer to ?.

I agree with the points raised by pepsionice,Obreption,and berfel, and cannot see any alternatives to nuclear yet but when there is one I am sure we will welcome it.
16:59 April 3, 2011 by catjones
Simply buy power from France. The 'sacrifice' would be higher costs.
03:10 April 4, 2011 by neunElf
I am heartened by the previous reasoned responses to this contentious issue!

I fear that this headlong rush into the abandoning of nuclear energy signals a "top" of the current economic cycle and will if enacted, lead to much greater harm and deprivation for Germany going forward.

Unfortunately in politics momentum is a greater factor than intelligence and leadership!
09:32 April 4, 2011 by moistvelvet
"501 people of a country of over 80million .

Not a very good poll"

Indeed 501 people is not alot, the headline is rather misleading. But what happened to the missing 6% and were all those asked actually "German" which they claim?

Love how the religious throw their opinion in, saying that the technology "could not be trusted", well in Japan wasn't the catastrophe caused by the Earthquake/Tsunami? So surely it is their god that can't be trusted.
09:38 April 4, 2011 by Angry Ami
LOL, yeah right, most Germans would give up their freedom and liberty for a dictator if it meant life ling employment, oh they already did that, oops, but seriously folks like pepsionice said, just as soon as they can't have their spoiled little lifestyle then that would be that, and who did the actually pole anyway, some of the usaul greenies, sure of course they'd say yes to such a stupid idea, but I don't think the rest of us living in DE are so keen on this idea, it'd be like the Philippines and Jamaica, 3hrs on, 3hrs off, and then you'd have folks who'd start using petrol generators which would kill any environmental gains that the greenies hope for, here's a German word that best describes this idea "bescheuert"!
10:01 April 4, 2011 by freechoice
ideas on how to save on electricity.

1. cut down on fancy lightings! just use a single lightbulb with energy saving features.

2. stop watching silly TVs. ditch those energy intensive CRT, LCD, Plasma or LED TVs. Use an battery operated iPad/Mobile phone instead.

3. ditch the high powered Hifi, listen to battery operated iPods/Mp3 players instead.
10:32 April 4, 2011 by mobiusro
1. Why bother with a bulb? Candles baby. Brings more romance in one's life

2. Why watch anything at all. Play board games, play card games, stare at the stars or at the moon.

3. Why use electronics at all? Try to sing. If you cannot sing, try learning to play an instrument.

4. Why turn the radiators on? Make a nice cosy fire.

5. While you're at it, buy 2 horses and a carriage. Ditch that metal four wheeled vehicle.

That's why we evolved x thousand years, to go back to sitting in the dark again. Technology is the devil!!!
15:56 April 4, 2011 by bogart57
Lifestyle sacrifice? Oh please if the power/utility concerns can sell the idea that shutting down the atomic power plants is good for the environment along with raising rates then it will happen. Oh the Germans talk about what is good for the environment, but sadly in the end the money making interests will win out. Ok, maybe what happens with Stuttgart 21 will prove me wrong. But, there is a big shopping mall called Loop 5 in South Hessen built in the last 3 years that shows the environment will always lose out to money interests.
21:36 April 4, 2011 by Celeon
To anyone thinking about wether the nuclear power supported lifestyle is worth it all, let me advise you to read the wikipedia article on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in the USA.

Especially the part about the planned warning markers, a "Message to the future" that is to be built there all around the disposal site.

A warning message supposed to be written in words and pictures and in several languages.

Not written down on paper or printed on signs.

These things do not last long enough to fulfill their job.

Encarved into stone so that i may last for 10.000 years after which this place will still be a deadly danger.

A message that is supposed to last longer than the egyptian pyramides, hopefully will still be there and understandable in 10.000 years , no matter what language people will speak by then, or if people will have forgotten about this place thousand of years ago.

No matter if the USA , countries or even civilisation as we know it will still exist by then. The waste stored there will be still there and will still be toxic and radioactive, so much is certain.

A warning that will continue to tell people for 10.000 years a message that will be still as valid as on the day it was created by people who long turned to dust.


If humans will still be there that time from now, they will certainly curse us all for what we have left behind for them to deal with in our unlimited shortsightness.
11:58 April 5, 2011 by raandy
Really ,,60% not a large mandate and a very small poll to be conducted on such a controversial issue. Easy to say but much tougher to enact, All one can say about this poll has already been said "Actions speak louder than words".
13:12 April 7, 2011 by PhoenixW2
Renewables, it is a feel-good sham. Electric cars, just means the CO2 emissions are made at the power-station rather than from the exhaust pipe. Futile, and expensive.

'Renewable energy'? Well what do you do when the sun doesn't shine, and the wind doesn't blow (which happens at least once a week, most often in winter)? Either have zero electricity, or rely on a back-up supply.

What is that back-up supply that needs to be on 24/7 going to be? Coal, gas, nuclear?

Lol.... 'renewables' are a kind of delusion/weird lie/expensive joke. Perhaps Greens should partake in the real world for a time and focus their energies on ensuring the safety of future nuclear?
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