Going green, nothing wrong with that, right?
"German government votes to ban new combustion engine cars by 2030" --AP
This would be great news if the Germans weren't already purchasing electricity from the states around whenever they need it to cover those spikes in their consumption. States like the Czech Republic, which is capable of generating a lot of hydroenergy being the original "roof of Europe." Cheap water-based energy is acceptable as 'green' energy and it can be sold as such to Germany. Why is water energy cheap? All those electricity generating stations were built as the Moldau river cascade between 1950s and 1970s. They displaced thousands, ruined the lives of thousands, changed the envirmoment of the entire Moldau basin and also took over some of the fertile farm land that has been worked for centuries. Nobody would get approval for such a project today -- for both the enviromental impact and for the the fact that today the land is privately owned once more. The communist-run state that finally keeled over in 1989 didn't have to ask any such permission. The enviroment was never considered and everything including the people were owned by the state (this went ad absurdum that sometimes even a suicide was considered a damage of state property and a subversion and carried, for a while, a prison sentence if an unlucky someone survived and it was reported).
Well, let's get back to what those flatly-applied "green" energy ideas can bring to ordinary people. Let's look back at a place like Czech Republic again. It sells cheap and (so-called) green energy to its mighty neigbor, Germany, who can claim that a huge portion of their energy comes from renewable sources because it does. In return they outsource production of many components for their domestic industry to the Czech Republic and everybody should be happy right? Noboody talks about the fact that Czech Republic generates electricity from icky lignite - cheap nasty dirt and from a gigantic nuclear power plant in southern part of the country for their domestic needs. It scars the entire region of the nothern part of the country with gigantic craters from lignite mining that is slowly eating village after village and town after town towards the mountain range of Krusne Hory (aka Erzgebirge on the German side of the border). There were some mining limits imposed, but everytime they come for a renewal they are renegotiated in favor of more mining. And the nuclear power generation monster of Temelin that neighboring Austria is scared of shitless (for the luck of better adjective to describe the situation) is going to get another reactor and capacity expanasion shortly. That is all happening in a small country the size of West Virginia. Now that all could be somewhat acceptable if only this no-renewable energy didn't cost the inhabitants of the Czech Republic an arm and leg, the pollution of their natural resources, and degradation to the status of a colony. The worst impact this has is on the poorest parts of the population and rural areas where people often move back to fossil fuel heating. That is what came with treaties when European Union was expanding and new members received 'junior' status. While the language was abolished since in EU official literature (so former 'junior' members are just called 'members' like everyone else) the status and thinking hasn't changed.
That is not all. Things Germany imposes on itself eventually get imposed on the EU as well -- and that trickles down to the entire EU. So let's imagine a situation that Germany truly gets to ban the combustion engine not just in Germany but throughout the EU by 2030 -- or let's say 2040. That will mean that even places like the Czech Republic will have to renew its car inventory as well. So not only are Czechs being screwed already, they will be forced to go green, which in my opinion will only move power generation futher east to places that are going to be out of EU jurisdiction.
I am firmly in the camp that opposes this effect of going "green" for the sake of going green. I believe that the greenest car is the one kept alive as long as possible because the initial enviromental impact of the production of vehicle is much greater that its impact during its life and use. So that old 1965 mustang or 1950's wagon you got from your grandma and it sits every winter idly in your barn or a garage is more enviromentaly friendly, than your brand-new Tesla or Prius will ever be, just by being alive and in use this long. Same goes for you wardrobe. If you buy clothes only when you need them, there will be no push on the supply and demand chain to create more needless crap in some third world country. Same logic applies to phones, computers and most of the things we consume daily. It is as simple as not making other peoples' lands and lives misrable with the production of things consumed needlessly here in the USA and outsourcing our pollution there. If you are concerned about our foreign trade balance sheets you will be suprised what impact this can have.
If you truly want to have a big push to an enviromentaly-friendly economy, there are just a few steps to do it:
1/ You want something to change? Do not buy the shit!
2/ You want something to change? Keep repairing the shit!
3/ You want something to change? Keep the shit as long as it works!
4/ You want something to change? Dispose of the shit properly!
5/ You want something to change? Consider if you need more shit!
6/ You want something to change? Don't push shit on thy neighbour!
Do you belive me? You should. I am from Czech Republic and I often say when people ask where I came from: 'I am from the Mexico of Germany.'
(C) Dusan Palka 2016