From: Nina Chestney and Jackie Cowhig, Reuters, LONDON
Published June 1, 2011 07:10 AM

Germany's plan to shut down its nuclear plants will add 40 million tons of CO2 per year

Germany's plan to shut all its nuclear power plants by 2022 will add up to 40 million tones of carbon dioxide emissions annually as the country turns to fossil fuels, analysts said on Tuesday.


The extra emissions would increase demand for carbon permits under the European Union's trading scheme, thereby adding a little to carbon prices and pollution costs for EU industry.

"We will see a pick-up in German coal burn," said Barclays Capital analyst Amrita Sen. "Longer term, they will be using more renewables and gas but this year and next, we should see a lot of support for coal burn."

The phase-out is seen as more political than technical as German Chancellor Angela Merkel tries to capture anti-nuclear sentiment in the aftermath of Japan's Fukushima crisis.

Environmentalists welcomed the shift, although some demanded a faster phase-out, hoping it would spur a shift to renewable energy which they view as less harmful by avoiding radioactive waste.

But analysts say the move will also see an increase in planet-warming greenhouse gases equivalent to the annual emissions of Slovakia, as Germany uses gas and coal to plug a power generation gap, both of which are more carbon-emitting than nuclear power.

That calculation implied some skepticism with the coalition's assertion it would cut power demand and expand the use of renewables such as wind and solar power.

Deutsche Bank analysts estimated an extra 370 million tones of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through 2020, compared with Societe Generale's extra 406 million tones.

Matteo Mazzoni, analyst at Italy's Nomisma Energia, estimated an extra 20-29 million extra tones of CO2 per year.

Photo shows an aerial view of steam billowing from the cooling towers of a coal power plant in the western town of Neurath December 4, 2009. Credit: Reuters/Ina Fassbender

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