We Don’t Need Speed Limits for Rockets

When I wrote about EU Energy Commissioner’s proposal of a “speed limit for renewable energy” a week ago, I thought I made a mistake. I was following a link on Twitter and did not notice that it pointed to an older article. I have updated my post, pointing out that mistake.

Since then reader Thomas Armstrong kindly informed me by mail that Oettinger used that “speed limit” metaphor again in a recent interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung. Which means I was wrong thinking I was wrong, or in other words, I was actually right. I am pleased to see that happen every once in a while. 🙂

Now, I disagree with Oettinger about the speed of renewable deployment. And I agree with former Japanese Prime Minister Noda, who said what Japan needs is a “rocket start” for renewable energy.

So, to counter Oettinger’s metaphor, let me just mention that you won’t get your rocket up to escape velocity with a speed limit attached.

And we won’t get renewable up to speed fast enough to save the world from complete destruction over global warming if we listen to people like Oettinger.

Also, we already have a speed limit in place for renewable energy in Germany. It is written down in Article 1 of the Law on Priority for Renewable Energy, and it says that at least 35% of electricity and 18% of energy must come from renewable sources by 2020, and that an 80% share of electricity must be reached by 2050. That speed limit requires with legally binding force a minimum speed.

Nothing wrong with that kind of speed limit.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

3 thoughts on “We Don’t Need Speed Limits for Rockets

  1. Wow! I just read this post and now realised we used the same metaphor from former PM Noda 🙂 Sorry I did not notice this when I responded to your comment on my blog. I totally agree with you that a “speed limit” is not necessary beyond the targets set up by law. The world needs to move quickly and decisively to head off the disaster of climate change. We need more rockets!


  2. Your “language intelligence” (Joe Romm) beats mine on this point. You came up with the metaphor on your own, while I was just commenting that I like Prime Minister Noda’s idea. 🙂


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