Who's Worse For The Environment: Merkel Or Trump?

Authored by Mike Shedlock via themaven.net/mishtalk,

Who has a worse track record on the environment: President Trump or German Chancellor Angela Merkel?

Let's investigate. 

Trump Stance and Results

On September 19, amid chatter that Trump might reverse his climate stance, CNBC reported Trump is still pulling out of Paris Agreement.

One day ago the LA Times reported As Trump administration touts coal at U.N U.S. cities and states target climate change.

Politico commented just today on How the Bonn climate talks survived Trump.

It's Politico's subtitle that carries the bang: "The White House sparked a furor by pushing coal, but U.S. negotiators largely stayed the course from the 2015 Paris deal."

Thus, despite all the bluster, and no matter which side of the debate you are on, not much has changed in the US regarding the climate debate.

Merkel Stance and Results

Merkel preaches adherence to the Paris climate-change goals, but her policies do nothing to meet them according to a Eurointelligence report on November 16.

Jasper von Altenbockum points out the monumental hypocrisy of Angela Merkel's environmental policies - in the context of her speech at yesterday's climate summit in Bonn. Emmanuel Macron was able to commit France to exiting coal-powered energy in 2020. The reason he is in a position to do so is France's long-standing reliance on nuclear energy. Germany cannot do the same because Merkel herself insisted on the country's exit from nuclear power, as a result of which the country continues to rely on coal. So, Germany got it the wrong way around. This is why we are in the absurd situation where Merkel lambasts Donald Trump for pulling out of the Paris accord, while she herself is not taking the necessary action to meet her pledges under the accord.


Altenbockum makes the point that Germany's energy policy is a total mess, with dozens of reforms all interacting with one another in mysterious ways. There is no way that Germany can meet the various threshold targets for 2030 and 2050. The reason, as a he points out, is that Germany's entire industrial structure - notably the car industry - is incompatible with the goals of the Paris climate accord. In other words, Germany has very similar problems with the Paris climate goals to the US', with the only difference that Germany pretends to adhere to them while the US does not.

Germany's Climate Change Hypocrisy

On the 17th, Eurointelligence offered this expanded edition, in relation to the collapsed coalition talks with between CDU/CSU, the Greens, and FDP (emphasis mine):

One of the things that became absolutely apparent during the German coalition talks is that the CDU, CSU and FDP are pursing a climate change policy very similar to that of Donald Trump.The only real difference with Trump is that the latter was more honest about it, by pulling out of the Paris Accord altogether.


Germany is currently on course of missing all its climate targets, both in the near term (for 2020) and in the longer term (for 2030). And Merkel suffered a huge diplomatic setback yesterday at the global climate summit in Bonn, where the German government was confronted by an initiative of 20 other countries including the UK, France, Italy, and Canada, to commit to an exit from coal-fuelled power stations. Canada gets most of its energy from wind power. The UK is committed to an exit by 2025, but coal currently only constitutes 15% of its total energy supply. The UK will expand its gas-power and nuclear sectors.


Germany's dilemma is, of course, the result of Merkel's decision to phase out nuclear energy by 2022 before phasing out coal, as well as the large share of the manufacturing industry in its total economic output. At the moment 40% of German energy supply is coal-based. The climate targets require either massive de-industrialisation, or a shift in attitudes towards nuclear energy.

Climate Change Fight

Also from today, Bloomberg reports Coal Back as Flashpoint in Climate-Change Fight after Germany and Poland come out in support of dirtiest fossil fuel.

Coal emerged as the surprise winner from two weeks of international climate talks in Germany, with leaders of the host country and neighboring Poland joining Donald Trump in support of the dirtiest fossil fuel.


While more than 20 nations, led by Britain and Canada, pledged to stop burning coal, German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her country’s use of the fuel and the need to preserve jobs in the industry. Meanwhile Poland’s continued and extensive use of coal raised concerns that the next meeting, to be held in the nation’s mining heartland of Katowice, could thwart progress.

Coal Energy Share

US vs EU

Those numbers are from 2015, taken from the October 2016 Energy Matters article Primary Energy in The European Union and USA Compared.

EU energy production from coal in 2015 was 20% vs 22% in the USA . Germany is at 40%, and rising.

Jobs from Coal

The US can create more jobs from coal without using any more coal.


U.S. coal exports have jumped more than 60 percent this year due to soaring demand from Europe and Asia, according to a Reuters review of government data, allowing President Donald Trump’s administration to claim that efforts to revive the battered industry are working.


The increased shipments came as the European Union and other U.S. allies heaped criticism on the Trump administration for its rejection of the Paris Climate Accord, a deal agreed by nearly 200 countries to cut carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels like coal.

Europe's Largest Coal-Fired Plant

Don't Blame Trump For This

"Polish coal trader Weglokoks is due to get its first ever shipment of US coal after Donald Trump has promised Poland’s pro-coal government US energy. The move comes as 19 nations signed a coal phase-out deal."

Nineteen UE nations signed an accord to phase out coal. Germany and Poland did not sign.

Germany is probably one of the safest places to use nuclear power unlike Japan's earthquake-prone region.

But Merkel bowed to pressure to phase out nuclear energy. That means German use of coal will be on the rise.

Can you blame Trump for being willing to ship US coal to Europe?

CO2 vs Other Pollutants

Concern over carbon dioxide (CO2) is more than overblown in my opinion. Other concerns are not.

Coal is the leading source of sulfur dioxide (SO2), a smelly, acid-rain producing pollutant. Coal also produces Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) pollutants, which can burn lung tissue and exacerbate asthma.

Coal also releases mercury and fly-ash particulate matter. Mercury causes brain damage (think of the Mad Hatter), and particulates obstruct visibility while contributing to chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death.

Even if one thinks global warming is a scam, there are numerous reasons to be concerned about coal.

Diesel vs Gasoline

The debate over diesel vs gasoline goes on and on. A couple of points are generally agreed on. The first is that diesel produces slightly less CO2. The second is that other contaminants in diesel are worse.

Here is an excerpt from a Conversation Fact Check: Fact Check: are diesel cars really more polluting than petrol cars?

The near EU-wide plan to encourage people to buy diesel vehicles in the past number of years is another example of the lack of connection between air pollution policy and climate change policy, and the difficulties of considering CO? emissions separately to the many other thousands of compounds that human activities emit. Replacing petrol cars with diesel ones does result in lower CO? emissions and climate impacts but it has clearly been worse for human health.

Alone on Diesel

There is only one country left promoting diesel: Germany.

Not only is Germany far behind on gasoline engines, it is far behind when it comes to electric engine capacity.

And recall where German electricity is from: coal.

Nonetheless, Merkel has the gall to criticize Trump over the environment while the EU imports US coal.

Peak Merkel

Peak Merkel has long ago come and gone. It happened with the refugee crisis.

She may not survive this mess. If the Greens and CSU fail to come to terms, new German elections may be in the works.



Linus2011 HockeyFool Tue, 11/21/2017 - 06:37 Permalink

"The first is that diesel produces slightly less CO2" slightly or about 40%? This report is a bunch of BS.Diesel is bad and electrical Tesla cars are good? No good cars but only expensive electrical crap cars are for you - stupid americans. Americans pretenting to be environment friendly - that is very funny. The real reson behind this is that the state tries to revitalize the dead auto industry especially via EVs and its subsidiary GM and Tesla and fight german (diesel) dominance at all costs.Just bought 5 series BMW Diesel to fight this nonsense.

In reply to by HockeyFool

css1971 Tue, 11/21/2017 - 05:14 Permalink

They burn brown coal (as well as all sorts of other shit) at our local gassifier, just south of Berlin. About a train load every 2 weeks or so.

SoDamnMad css1971 Tue, 11/21/2017 - 05:22 Permalink

. The Hambach open-pit mine at 85 square kilometers (33 square miles) would take up half of the US capital Washington D.C. and is considered one of the largest manmade holes in Europe. Hambach - located in the heavily industrialized German state of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) - ensures a steady supply of a fossil fuel still very relevant to the country's energy system. Brown coal - also known as lignite - makes up around a quarter of Germany's power production.

In reply to by css1971

ZIRPY Tue, 11/21/2017 - 05:15 Permalink

Great idea for Germany to abandin nukes and increase reliance on Russian natural gas to heat their homes during the cold European winters.You know you're spineless moron when even the French have more common sense then you.

css1971 ZIRPY Tue, 11/21/2017 - 05:47 Permalink

"Female leadership"As a country, Germany is "cucked".What they should have done is increase investment in new nuclear tech, decades ago. They could have had Molten Salt Thorium based reactors ready to implement by now, to phase out the decrepit and very dangerous high temperature/pressure water reactors.5 years and they'll be buying nuclear reactors from the UK.http://moltexenergy.com/

In reply to by ZIRPY

EddieLomax css1971 Tue, 11/21/2017 - 05:53 Permalink

I do notice a lot of countries now have female leaders, but often for the wrong reasons.Margaret Thatcher got there because she was capable, yet I suspect that political correctness has more to do with others.  The problem PC brings is that there is this weird rule that only women are allowed to critize women, only black people blacks.The book "Look who's back" lampooned this with a fictional Hitler coming back and joking that he approves of the prior racially segregated comedy act (although not the lame jokes).  Its just another insanity PC foists on us.

In reply to by css1971

SoDamnMad Sandmann Tue, 11/21/2017 - 06:08 Permalink

and 25% from lignite coal.  RWE's predecessor Rheinbraun opened the Hambach mine in 1978. Since then, four villages that lay within the mine's boundaries have made way for the "public good" - as legally-backed eviction notices explained.  In late 2016, RWE started to knock down the first houses in Manheim. They will demolish 50 per year until the village is gone. In the meantime, the municipality is renting vacant properties, now owned by RWE, to house around 220 asylum seekers, mostly from Iraq, Iran and Syria.

In reply to by Sandmann

CHX13 Tue, 11/21/2017 - 05:25 Permalink

The trigger of the next (permanent) crisis - getting low on (cheap) fossil energy (esp. oil). Either oil goes up tremendously (which is highly inflational, think cost push) or the oil/fracking industry goes tits up (major wave of defaults in the energy sector and associated banks -> more bail outs or lights out). Nuclear/wind/water/solar won't come to the rescue...  Too many men, too many people, making too many problems...

CHX13 HockeyFool Tue, 11/21/2017 - 06:14 Permalink

Read again - not peak oil (although global production seems to be plateau-ing as current demand/production by far outpace new discoveries, but let that be something to discussed anothertime), peak CHEAP oil. Were it not for billions of debt piled on in the oil industry, they could not have pumped a single barrel with "profit" in the last 2 years. This debt essentially adds to the costs, although hidden in plain sight. Without additional debt the sector would be cracking within a week's time. As long as this path can be continued it looks - at a quick glance - as if it was business as usual as it has been for decades. THAT, however, would be a big mistake IMHO.

In reply to by HockeyFool

css1971 HockeyFool Tue, 11/21/2017 - 08:04 Permalink

WTF?Why do you think the US middle class vanished?Because the US could no longer use domestic oil to make American workers competitive. Go look at Detroit, it's a direct consequence of US peak oil.The petrodollar... A direct consequence of US peak oil.9/11 - A direct consequence of US peak oil. You think it didn't happen? Oh my god.

In reply to by HockeyFool

VangelV HockeyFool Tue, 11/21/2017 - 08:51 Permalink

Peak oil again? Where have I heard that story before?Conventional oil production peaked a few years back.  While that production has been replaced by unconventional production, it has come at a huge cost.  Shale is not economic and consumes more energy than it produces.  Many of the unconventional projects will never offer a positive return and once the shale bond market collapses we will need to push more investment into the marginal conventional fields that do not offer the same energy leverage on the energy invested into production.  Peak oil production is a lot like peak oil whale.  While true, it does not mean that we will run out.  

In reply to by HockeyFool

BritBob Tue, 11/21/2017 - 05:26 Permalink

Merkel pandered to her Green lobby when she shut German's nuclear power plants then had to rely more on fossil fuels to keep the lights on.

Sandmann Tue, 11/21/2017 - 05:36 Permalink

Merkel has simultaneously made German electricity phenomenally expensive with >54% price Government levies and unbelievably unprofitable for generators who are spinning off capacity.There are about 20 different levies in a German retail bill. You can keep conserving energy but the bills keep climbing. East Germany has more expensive energy than West Germany so business goes to Poland or Czechia.She is a typical Greenie. They even use household bills to subsidise industrial bills to keep manufacturing competitive

Sandmann Tue, 11/21/2017 - 05:36 Permalink

Merkel has simultaneously made German electricity phenomenally expensive with >54% price Government levies and unbelievably unprofitable for generators who are spinning off capacity.There are about 20 different levies in a German retail bill. You can keep conserving energy but the bills keep climbing. East Germany has more expensive energy than West Germany so business goes to Poland or Czechia.She is a typical Greenie. They even use household bills to subsidise industrial bills to keep manufacturing competitive

NuYawkFrankie Tue, 11/21/2017 - 06:04 Permalink

re Who's Worse For The Environment: Merkel Or Trump?

Well - judging by their respective fat flatulence-filled "physiques" - I'd guess, at least on a 'pound-for-pound' basis, Merkel...

who must have the 'carbon-footprint/methane-emission' of a rhinoceros, whereas Trump's is just that of a baby-elephant (albeit one that likes to stuff its face with chocolate-cake),

SoDamnMad Grandad Grumps Tue, 11/21/2017 - 06:37 Permalink

And Brussels is all over Poland for cutting in an old forest.An ancient forest wiped out in Germany.Humans can be resettled and compensated. But opponents of the Hambach mine say its expansion has meant the irretrievable loss of nature and much of the 12,000-year-old Hambach forest, which is home to hundreds of animal and plant species. Each winter, RWE clears about 70 hectares of forest to access new layers of brown coal. Today, only 10 percent of 7,000 hectares of woodland is left. 

In reply to by Grandad Grumps

Azannoth Tue, 11/21/2017 - 06:07 Permalink

Germans really hate nuclear (for whatever reason, not like they got nuked even) so it was simply a political move for Merkel as she's bottom fishing for votes

Kefeer Tue, 11/21/2017 - 06:28 Permalink

 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion (subjugate) over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."- end The earth was made for mankind, we are to have authority over its resources and to care for it; so use the resources given and be good stewards at the same time.   Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. - end Well, there really was a worldwide Flood,Just look at the stony curse.With billions of dead thingsBuried in rock layersLaid down by waterAll over the earth!

Cassandra.Hermes Tue, 11/21/2017 - 06:29 Permalink

Another Putin propaganda!
OK we know you guys care for fossil fuels, but look into the graphics again coal, oil & gas are 45% vs 84%
USA energy distribution is danger for humanity. Trump and his fossil fuels lobby are criminals.

A. Boaty Tue, 11/21/2017 - 06:29 Permalink

Nuclear power does not qualify as "green" energy:

“Dr. Mark Jacobson – the head of Stanford University’s Atmosphere and Energy Program, who has written numerous books and hundreds of scientific papers on climate and energy, and testified before Congress numerous times on those issues – notes that nuclear puts out much more pollution (including much more CO2) than windpower, and 1.5% of all the nuclear plants built have melted down.  Jacobson also points out that it takes at least 11 years to permit and build a nuclear plant, whereas it takes less than half that time to fire up a wind or solar farm. Between the application for a nuclear plant and flipping the switch, power is provided by conventional energy sources … 55-65% of which is coal…”

“… Each dollar spent on a new reactor buys about 2-10 times less carbon savings, 20-40 times slower, than spending that dollar on the cheaper, faster, safer solutions that make nuclear power unnecessary and uneconomic: efficient use of electricity, making heat and power together in factories or buildings (“cogeneration”), and renewable energy. The last two made 18% of the world’s 2009 electricity, nuclear 13%, reversing their 2000 shares–and made over 90% of the world’s additional electricity in 2008….”


falak pema Tue, 11/21/2017 - 08:25 Permalink

Mutti and her energy quandrum, like her mercantile model cum financial quandrum...Do as I SAY but NOT as I do..."We FLEECED Greece to save our banks, we won't solidifiy the Eurobond and we won't fight coporatocracy tax havens, but we will sing 'make the planet great' all the while we burn coal from USA!"...Some head up ass reasoning. What are HER three rotten planks-- like the US has for its Pax Americana petrodollar scamming model ; aka Wahhabist fossil's black gold patch linked to dollar & deep state permawars (since 50+ years) ? She refused to do what Schroeder did : Play the long term based on Russian gas. Instead she got hamstrung into the Qatar pipeline scam all organised by the Nato-neo con gang of DC. She caved in on that the day she came into office all the while she bought into Schroeder's social harmony model-- which got him to lose his Chancellorship.2°  She did not anticipate the corrosive fall out of  the financial crisis on Club Med.If she had she would have Eurobonded back in 2009 post G20 in London and INSISTED that Eurozone adhere to fiscal harmony and banking consolidation  on an Open Book basis for Germany to play LENDER of LAST RESORT to her Europartners who were her biggest mercantilist Market; aka where her corporates made their profits.Big strategic mistake. Mutti was never a long term thinker like China and Putin more a short term tactician who knew how to neutralize her rivals (think Schaeuble as rival).If she had she would have financially and economically bulwarked the Continent against QE/ZIRP casino wars and carry trade mayhems. Which have made the GS model of Draghi co-regent of Euro plays. She should have walked away from Nato and created an autonomous Euro defense system to get out from under the legacy of Nato and WW2; aka done a De Gaulle gesture to build Jean Monnet's federalist legacy for the long term in Europe.WE ARE NOW THERE IN EUROPE FACED WITH BREXIT DIVORCE AND US PROTECTIONIST STAND-OFF. As she bows out --it seems like the most likely coming scenario--Europe will either splinter or consolidate along the lines traced out above. As the Asian Pivot's strategic fallout in wartorn and RM Afroasia zone consolidates; along with the Anglosaxon "five eyes" Deep state isolation ( the US/GB/Aussi-Canada-NZ alliance); these factors will become the NEW BUILDING BLOCKS of the coming global paradigm.Some awesome new world merry-go-round now opens up-- with climate change as its ultimate sword of Damocles over mankind.

Soph Tue, 11/21/2017 - 08:39 Permalink

"Canada gets most of its energy from wind power"There was a time when journalists actually had a clue what they were talking about. That time has obviously passed. This statement is so absurd it's amazing it made it to print as Canada gets about 2% of its power from wind. I'm guessing the rest of the "facts" are equally questionable.