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Germany Has Built Clean Energy Economy

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InsideClimateNews (Berlin) -- The view from the Reichstag roof on a sun-drenched spring afternoon is spectacular. Looking out over Berlin from the seat of the German government, you can see the full sweep of the nation's history: from Humboldt University, where Albert Einstein taught physics for two decades, to the site of the former Gestapo headquarters.

I'm not here to see this country's freighted past, however. I've come to learn about what a majority of Germans believe is their future—and perhaps our own. There is no better place to begin this adventure than the Reichstag, rebuilt from near ruins in 1999 and now both a symbol and an example of the revolutionary movement known as the Energiewende. The word translates simply as, "energy change." But there's nothing simple about the Energiewende. It calls for an end to the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power and embraces clean, renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass. The government has set a target of 80 percent renewable power by 2050, but many Germans I spoke with in three weeks traveling across this country believe 100 percent renewable power is achievable by then.

Such a massive power shift may sound impossible to those of us from the United States, where giant oil and coal corporations control the energy industry and the very idea of human-caused climate change is still hotly contested. Here in Germany, that debate is long over. A dozen years of growing public support have driven all major political parties to endorse the Energiewende. If a member of parliament called climate change a hoax or said that its cause is unknown, he or she would be laughed out of office.

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Love em or Loathe em,the Germans always keep their fingers on the pulse.

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I think we all should be striving towards ending our dependance on oil or nuclear power. I wish I had the money to get my own home off the power grid. If enough people could do that it would help a lot.

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I think we all should be striving towards ending our dependance on oil or nuclear power. I wish I had the money to get my own home off the power grid. If enough people could do that it would help a lot.

If you are not all thumbs you don't need much money.

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If you are not all thumbs you don't need much money.

Unfortunately in Ireland that just ain't true.

Br Cornelius

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I think we all should be striving towards ending our dependance on oil or nuclear power. I wish I had the money to get my own home off the power grid. If enough people could do that it would help a lot.

once everyone has solar panels on the roof the government will then start to tax you by the number of panels installed the government simply cannot lose out on all the tax revenue generated at present. It will be the new window tax of this age.

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Germany Has Built Clean Energy Economy

I remember the horrible images from the Ruhr-district back in the days. One could almost chew on the air.

I'm glad they moved forward on this to set a precedent for other nations.

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