Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's always sunnier in Germany

Cenk Uygur: "Don't you want to check anything? I know it's Fox News. I know it's a fact-free zone. But do you really want to go on national TV and say that Germany gets more sun than the United States?"

Here's more from Steve Benem:
Let's unpack this a bit, because energy policy is awfully important, and anyone who watched the Fox segment might be confused right about now.

First, Germans do not get more sun than Americans. In fact, every American state other than Alaska gets far more sun every year than Germany does. Fox's report had this backwards.

Second, the Obama administration's subsidies to the solar industry haven't failed; they've vastly improved domestic solar output and expanded the industry's reach. So, Fox's report had this backwards, too.

And third, if anyone who cares about reality wants to know the real reason Germany's solar industry is ahead of ours, it's because the German government has invested heavily in environmental technology. Indeed, Max Greenberg's report flagged this Bloomberg Businessweek report from a few months ago.
Unlike the U.S., Germany has a national solar policy, a quick, inexpensive permitting process, and a national mandate that utilities sign up rooftop installations under what's known as a feed-in tariff--essentially a long-term contract whereby the utilities agree not just to allow the solar on their grids but also to buy the excess power from consumers.

In other words, the Fox segment might as well have come with an "Opposite Day" disclaimer.

Do you wonder why Fox 'News' viewers are more ignorant than people who don't watch any news at all? Well, this is a good example why.

I'll also point out that this is how we should be doing it, too. Instead of building massive solar power plants in fragile desert environments, we should be putting solar panels on every roof.

Put it close to where we need it, and use up some of that space that's not used for anything else, anyway.


Jeff said...

Why aren't we more into solar power? My simplistic answer is we just DON'T WANT TO DO IT. And I believe that's the case with the bulk of our problems in this country; if we wanted to solve these problems bad enough, we would.

Speaking of Germany, if memory serves, you said a while back that you lived in Germany for a time. Question: if you had to choose, would you still live here or in Germany? People-wise, politics/economy-wise, is the "grass greener," so to speak? I've rarely ventured outside of Nebraska; my life hasn't unfolded in such a way for that to happen.

WCG said...

I never actually lived in Germany, Jeff. I spent eight or nine months in Europe, many decades ago, but just as a hitchhiking tourist - and only a few weeks of that was in Germany.

It was great, as vacations are. But that's exactly what you expect as a tourist, isn't it?

I will say that European (Swiss, at least) medical care was great, even then. I spent a week in a hospital in Switzerland, and it was dirt cheap.

That would have bankrupted me in America. In Switzerland, it didn't even shorten my visit.

On the other hand, I met some incredible racists in Europe, too (in Italy, to be precise). People are people. Most of the people I met were great, but not all.

It's funny, though, how often I met people who said they didn't like Americans. Oh, not me, of course. They were always quick to add that. In fact, it turned out that they liked every American they'd ever met. They just didn't like "Americans." :)