Wired: Germany Rejected Nuclear Power—and Deadly Emissions Spiked

Article published: Jan 23, 2020

IB Economics syllabus: Microeconomics, (market failure, negative externalities of production, sustainability)

The social costs of “going green”: it was believed that shutting down nuclear power plants in Germany is a step forward to sustainability. However, a recent study shows that this has led to increased use of coal powered plants. As a result, CO2 emissions in the country increased by 5% which could have led to the deaths of about 1100 people; and that is an annual number of those who got killed by “respiratory or cardiovascular illnesses” connected to burning more coal to generate power.

This is a great article that decribes the difficulty of fighting against climate change and that proposed solutions that are thought to be “green” might have even worse environmental consequences (in the form of negative externalities of production) than the original methods of power generation. Unfortunately though, this article is a little too long for an IB Economics IA.

Source of image: MICHAEL BOHNEN/GERMANY

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