Clearing up misconceptions
Is there an unfortunate misunderstanding about German politics and history among some Taiwanese?
After two of us had to clarify the path Germany took to abolish the death penalty, (“Real deal behind abolition,” March 17, 2011, page 8), we now have to clarify a misrepresentation of the anti-nuclear stance of Germany’s Green Party (“Anti-nuclear protesters confronted by Taipower ‘thug’ police: DPP lawmaker,” Sept. 10, page 3).
Contrary to allegations made in an article on Taipower’s Web site, the German Green Party was partly founded by people emerging from the popular anti-nuclear movement formed during the 1970s. It always had a staunch and unwavering anti-nuclear platform, and, most importantly, has been a key factor in pushing Germany toward a path of sustainable energy based on clean renewable energy and away from dirty coal and potentially calamitous nuclear fuel.
Germany is now a world leader in producing and installing renewable energy, such as wind power, thanks in large part to the Green Party’s insistence of giving clean energy a chance during its stay of power in German’s national government in the early 2000s.
Moreover, it was the current center-right German government which officially ended the use of nuclear power in Germany after the Fukushima accident struck because, according to various opinion polls, almost 80 percent of the German population supported an abolition of all nuclear power.
Consequently, the conservative government under Chancellor Merkel felt that it had no other choice but to withdraw its support.
Therefore, it is laughable to suggest that the German Green Party lost elections because of its anti-nuclear stance. Rather, it won several elections because of it, including a historic win in Baden-Wurttemberg in March last year which ousted the ruling pro-nuclear center-right coalition after six uninterrupted decades in power.
There are many arguments to be made against nuclear energy (“Nuclear is no answer,” March 28, 2011, page 8) which we do not want to rehash here.
Just one reminder: More loss of land and suffering of people was caused by the Fukushima disaster than could ever be gained by winning sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), which take up so much of the media’s attention at the moment — but then the media’s attention is always easily diverted.
What we hope for is that all the nations of the world, including Taiwan, will embrace the path toward clean energy adopted by Germany, Denmark and other countries which clearly illustrates that countries can gain energy independence and security while being economically successful without having to pollute the planet for centuries or even millennia to come.
David Reid,Taradale, Australia