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Germany’s shift away from nuclear energy yielding measurable environmental and economic benefits

The Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant surrounded by the flooding Missouri River. Photo courtesy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Experts say policy shift has decoupled energy and economic growth

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Germany was moving away from reliance on nuclear power long before the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The country has a history of civil confrontations over nuclear reactors and processing facilities. So the decision by the German government to phase out nuclear power didn’t come as a shock to anyone.

What is more surprising is that the shift in policy has fundamentally altered the traditional equation of energy and economic growth.

“It has actually decoupled energy from economic growth, with the country’s energy supply and carbon-dioxide emissions dropping from 1990 to 2011, even as its gross domestic product rose by 36 percent, according to Lutz Mez, co-founder of Freie Universitӓt Berlin’s Environmental Policy Research Center. Continue reading

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Commentary: Carbon tax needed to curb CO2 emissions

A map from the United Nations Environmental Programme shows relative CO2 production worldwide.

Leading climate economist argues that carbon tax would reflect true cost of global warming impacts

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The oft-discussed cap and trade model for limiting carbon greenhouse gas emissions is inefficient and ineffective, according to Yale climate economist William Nordhaus, who last week advocated for supplementing or replacing cap-and-trade with a flat carbon tax that reflects the true environmental and societal costs of global warming.

Writing in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Nordhaus describes carbon dioxide emissions externalities, with social consequences not accounted for in the market place. They are market failures because people do not pay for the current and future costs of their emissions, he wrote. A carbon tax could be a useful means to cut budget deficits while meeting environmental objectives, he said. Continue reading

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