Energy Policy Appeal – Ad Campaign in Favour of Nuclear Power and Coal

Many big newspapers today carried full-page advertisements to influence the German debate over the upcoming energy concept in favour of nuclear power and coal. Forty-one high-ranking German CEOs and business representatives signed the “Energiepolitischer Appell” (energy policy appeal) with their position for a preferable future energy policy. The move comes ahead of the energy concept the German government under Chancellor Angela Merkel is to publish at the end of September.

The signatories of the appeal include the heads of the four companies that operate German nuclear plants, i.e. E.ON AG, RWE AG, EnBW AG and Vattenfall, as well as the chief executives of Germany’s biggest bank, Deutsche Bank AG, national railway Deutsche Bahn AG, BASF AG and Bayer AG, retailer Metro AG and the heads of Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (Umbrella Organization of German Industry – BDI).  Oliver Bierhoff, Germany’s national football team manager, is also among the signatories, as well as a number of members of the ruling Christian Democrats.

Germany needed courage and a sense of realism in order to decide about the future energy concept the ad says. While the future belonged to renewable energies, the new infrastructure needed was costly. Hence, a policy that tried to consolidate the budget by raising existing eco-related taxes or by introducing a nuclear fuel elements tax impeded the investment in renewables. The appeal called for less bureaucracy to help establish a reliable infrastructure. Germany needed affordable energy prices it also said. Therefore the country could not do without nuclear power and coal for the time being. The ad did not further specify when a phase-out of nuclear power and coal-fired power plants might be possible.

“Chancellor Angela Merkel considers the advertisement a perfectly legitimate contribution to the current debate about Germany’s future energy policy”, her new spokesman, Steffen Seibert commented. After all, the opponents of nuclear energy had already vociferously voiced their opinion. He did not believe the position of the appeal to conflict with the government’s position of safe, clean and affordable energy for which the right energy mix had to be decided about, Mr Seibert also said.  He did not comment on the fact that a number of signatories were Christian Democrats.

Sources: Energiezukunft für Deutschland e.V. i.G., Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 21 August 2010, page 15, Welt,

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