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Surcharges In Germany Should Be At Least 15.6 Cents

Originally published on the Lenz Blog

Yesterday’s announcement of a 6.24 cent surcharge in Germany came with a lot of interesting reports attached.

One assumption behind this number is that the cost of the system for 2014 will be EUR 21.26 billion, see this report (page 8).

Last year’s GDP is estimated by Statistisches Bundesamt as EUR 2,645 billion. So the above amount is about 0.80 percent of GDP, not counting any growth since 2012.

This is much below the 2 percent of GDP a rich country like Germany that has profited over the whole 20th Century from burning fossil fuel should invest in renewable energy. Germany has a moral obligation to lead with the efforts of dealing with global warming.

To get to that minimum of 2 percent GDP, the investment in renewable energy would need to grow by a factor of 2.5, which means that the surcharge should be at least 15.6 cents in a parallel World where political leaders understood that we might have somewhat of an urgent problem with global warming.

This would of course not lead to an increase in the energy bills by the same factor, because at that higher prices there would be less energy consumed than the average of 3.500 kWh per year and household. And of course with that kind of money invested prices for renewable energy would fall even faster, making the transition to renewable energy cheaper when looking at the whole cost until 100 percent renewable is reached.

In the long run it would obviously save a lot of money. Right now, German citizens pay a whopping 3.5 percent of GDP for fossil fuel imports. The cost per capita is up to EUR 1,165 in 2012, as compared to 404 in 2002, when that number was 1.2 percent of 2012 GDP.

In other words: The costs of installing renewable energy have gone basically from zero to 0.8 percent of GDP. In the same decade, the cost of importing fossil fuel have gone up by 2.3 percent of GDP, or about three times of the investment in renewable energy.

That fossil fuel burnt in 2012 is gone. The solar panels installed in 2012 will produce domestic energy for centuries to come.

I for one think that investing in renewable is the better deal.


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is a professor of German and European Law at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, blogging since 2003 at Lenz Blog. A free PDF file of his global warming science fiction novel "Great News" is available here.

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