US President Donald Trump has few fans in Germany, but one of them is Roger Miesen. Sitting on the management board of RWE Power, a division of the German energy giant that does business in combustibles, Mr. Miesen was likely pleased to see the US pull out of the Paris Climate Accord.
The evening Mr. Trump announced it, the executive spoke at an event in Berlin. He told the audience that according to his calculations, gas emissions would not reduce even if all German lignite fired power plants shut down. The price for carbon credits, allowances purchased by industrial companies for every ton of CO2 they emit, would fall drastically. Companies outside Germany would just snap them up, and as much greenhouse gas would be sent into the atmosphere as ever.
Germany’s leading the global charge against the president’s landmark decision, and rightfully so – the country has vowed to generate 80 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2050 in what’s known as the Energiewende, or energy transition. But despite the country’s largely successful climate and anti-nuclear movements, there are still plenty of influential Germans who don’t agree with going so green.
Today more than 40 percent of German electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants. As renewables have brought down the wholesale price of electricity, coal has come to replace gas as the fossil fuel of choice, as providers seek out profits. In turn, the fossil fuels lobby is obviously worried about losing its money-making machinery.