The article is headlined
Pandora's Terrifying Promise: Can Nuclear Power Save the Planet?
I won't review the entire article here, but will zero in on Hertsgaard's claim that
Germany, the world's fourth-largest economy, is well on the way to leaving nuclear and fossil fuels behind as it embraces a panoply of noncarbon energy sources.
What is really happening in Germany? Back in 2011, two Der Spiegel journalists, Laura Gitschier and Alexander Neubacher (G&N) refuted Hertsgaard's claim, under the headline
Greenwashing after the Phase-Out: German 'Energy Revolution' Depends on Nuclear Imports.
G&N go on to say that
Germany's decision to phase out its nuclear plants by 2022 has rapidly transformed it from power exporter to importer. Despite Berlin's pledge to move away from nuclear, the country is now merely buying atomic energy from neighbors like the Czech Republic and France.
G&N also report that Germany also imports electrical power from Poland, whose electricity is "generated from brown coal in Europe's dirtiest CO2-belching facilities."
Contrast these facts with Hertsgaard's claim that "Germany is well on the way to leaving nuclear and fossil fuels behind".
Hertsgaard clearly doesn't understand what is actually happening in Germany in the last few years.
What really made my hair stand up on end was when Hertsgaard wrote
"If our options really were as simple as Pandora's Promise maintains - either go nuclear or incinerate the planet with more coal - it'd be a tough call."
A tough call? Really??
According to his website, Hertsgaard has written for Vanity Fair, The Nation, Time, The New Yorker, NPR, Die Zeit, and Le Monde Diplomatique. He is the environmental correspondent for The Nation.
The Nation deserves credit for raising the issue of nuclear power and climate change.
The Spiegel story is available in English for those of us who don't understand German.