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  1. Germany has announced that they will close all 84 of its coal-fired power plants over the next 19 years and that the country will rely mainly on renewable energy going forward. Germany to close all 84 of its coal-fired power plants, will rely primarily on renewable energy WWW.LATIMES.COM Germany, the world’s fourth biggest consumer of coal, aims to shut down all 84 of its coal-burning plants that produce 40% of the country’s electricity within the next 19 years in order to meet its international... This is an important and major - albeit long overdue - announcement from Germany, especially considering that coal still provides nearly 40% of Germany’s total power output. Germany agrees to end reliance on coal stations by 2038 | World news | The Guardian WWW.THEGUARDIAN.COM Fossil fuels provide nearly 40% of country’s power as tensions rise on phaseout timetable The Guardian reports that nearly three quarters of Germans believe a quick exit from coal is important and thousands of people have participated in recent climate change demonstrations in Germany. Germany has previously announced that the country's last nuclear power plants will be closed in 2022, and going forward the country will rely on a mixture of natural gas and renewable energy. Angela Merkel's government has set a goal of increasing Germany's share of renewables in electricity supply from 38% today to 65% in 2030.
  2. Check this out, a group of cops in Germany are being investigated for making racist death threats against a Turkish-German lawyer and her family. Apparently, they even signed their threat with "NSU 2.0", which is a reference to a German neo-nazi terror group which killed 10 people. Alleged German neo-Nazi police officers may have used law enforcement database to threaten people – ThinkProgress THINKPROGRESS.ORG The officers allegedly referenced an infamous terrorist group and threatened to "slaughter" a Turkish-German lawyer's child. I'm not really surprised by this, because just as the article notes, there are probably many, many more racist and even neo-nazi cops in Germany and elsewhere.
  3. AP News Article This would most definitely be a step in the right direction, in my opinion! I fully agree with the idea that the system simply creates more criminals. Once you're "in the system" it's almost impossible to get out, even over something as simple as marijuana charges. At least, that's how it is here in the states. Does Germany have a similar situation when it comes to low-level weed convicts having trouble finding work/housing?
  4. Here's an interesting article on how renewable energy can cause power prices to go negative: Power Prices Go Negative in Germany, a Positive for Energy Users. This story also reveals how our energy grids and battery technology is lagging behind the explosive growth of renewables in recent years. Thanks to low demand coupled with unseasonably warm weather and strong breezes over the weekend, wind power in Germany produced so much electricity that power prices dropped below zero "for much of Sunday and the early hours of Christmas Day". Ordinary consumers like you and me never experienced this price dip, but it's not the first example (and far from the last) of negative power prices in energy markets that have invested heavily in cleaner and renewable sources of electricity. These negative power prices show how our technology and our power grids have not yet been able to adapt to the increasing amounts of renewable energy being produced. Mainly it's our battery and distribution technologies that are lagging behind: But while we wait for further advancements in battery capacity and investments into smarter and better energy grids, we can still do a lot to mitigate these uneven effects: It's also worth pointing out, I think, that renewable energy is a decentralized energy source and doesn't work like older, larger and more centralized forms of energy. Renewable energy requires a different approach, where the consumers are also the producers of the power generated.
  5. Uh oh... Angela Merkel has just said in a speech that Germany or Europe can no longer rely on America under Donald Trump, or Britain following Brexit. Instead Merkel said that "we Europeans must take our destiny into our own hands" and "fight for our own future". The Independent reports: So, basically, France think Donald Trump is a dictator, and the Germans think he's unreliable, while the British think he can't be trusted with any kind of intel. But at least the Saudis think he's useful. Good job America!
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