Turns out the green movement played itself. Hysterical scaremongering over the Fukushima emergency had a number of nuclear plants closed, especially in Japan, only to be replaced by coal.
This move to green energy is costing a bomb without lessening reliance on coal:
Wind and solar account for just six percent of total electricity globally, despite decades of subsidies. The growth of fossil fuels were enough to wipe out any emissions reductions from wind and solar, which grew 17 percent and 35 percent, respectively.
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), public and private actors spent $1.1 trillion on solar and over $900 billion on wind between 2007 and 2016…. To put this roughly $2 trillion in investment in solar and wind during the past 10 years in perspective, it represents an amount of similar magnitude to the global investment in nuclear over the past 54 years, which totals about $1.8 trillion.
Turns out the green movement also played itself. Hysterical scaremongering over the Fukushima emergency had a number of nuclear plants closed, especially in Japan, only to be replaced by coal.
That scaremongering was disgraceful, and had the greens freaking people about dangers that turned out – again – to be vastly exaggerated. As UNSCEAR said:
It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers,” concluded the 60th session of … UNSCEAR…
On the whole, the exposure of the Japanese population was low, or very low, leading to correspondingly low risks of health effects later in life….
No radiation-related deaths or acute effects have been observed among nearly 25,000 workers (including TEPCO employees and contractors) involved at the accident site.
Yet the scare caused a number of nuclear power plants – all with virtually no emissions – TO be switched off, especially in Japan. Coal-powered generation then filled the gap:
[Japan] has fired up at least eight new coal power plants in the past 2 years and has plans for an additional 36 over the next decade—the biggest planned coal power expansion in any developed nation (not including China and India). And last month, the government took a key step toward locking in a national energy plan that would have coal provide 26% of Japan’s electricity in 2030 and abandons a previous goal of slashing coal’s share to 10%.
The reversal is partly a result of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which punctured public support for atomic energy…
In 2010, coal plants accounted for 25% of Japan’s electricity, but the powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) planned to reduce that share by more than half over 20 years. The ministry counted on nuclear power to pick up the slack, with its share of the nation’s electricity set to increase from 29% in 2010 to 50% by 2030.
But the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident forced a reassessment. All 54 of Japan’s reactors were shut down pending compliance with new safety standards. Just seven have restarted. Utilities have turned to liquefied natural gas and coal, which surged to provide 31% of the country’s electricity in 2014.
And that helps to explain why reliance on coal remains so high.