How to Make Germany’s CO2 Record Look Worse

I was somewhat surprised to read this recent tweet by Rod Adams:

Since 2010, German CO2 up by 12%. Seems like the wrong direction to me. “Renewables” not making up for loss of 8 nukes.

That’s because I wrote about “Great German Failure” and “Great German Success” only about a week ago, based on the latest figures released by the German government at the time.

They did not show something as remarkable as a “12 percent increase” from 2010. So, while I am used to getting American Fossil Nukes all kind of things wrong about Germany, I was wondering how Adams could possibly be off so far.

The solution to the riddle is that he compared the CO2 emissions in 2010 (826 million tons) with the CO2 equivalent of 2012 (931). That does work out to a 12.7 % increase, but it is obviously based on the error of comparing different things in the first place.

I assume an honest mistake.

But if someone was intent on making Germany look worse than its real record in bad faith, this would be an excellent way to confuse people not familiar with the situation.

Update: Adams kindly replies with this and this tweet, confirming my impression that this was an honest mistake.

Published by kflenz

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

4 thoughts on “How to Make Germany’s CO2 Record Look Worse

  1. “I assume an honest mistake.”

    Although that is kind assumption to make, I assume that it was not an honest mistake. Atomic Rod has a long track record of misinformation regarding energy issues. His job as a propagandist is to make nuclear look good and other energy sources look bad. Honesty is not a perquisite of for the job.


  2. @Karl

    It was an honest error. As soon as I finish here, I will continue looking for a good number for CO2 only in 2012.

    I need to find a source – in English, or at least on a web page that can be translated to English – that uses a consistent method for calculating the emission level. The numbers available from the Energy Information Agency can be counted on to use a consistent method, but they can also be relied upon to be several years late in being published. (The most recent numbers are for 2010.)

    Contrary to Kevin’s characterization, I am paid to be honest about nuclear energy. My bosses would have it no other way; one of the fastest ways to lose a job as a nuclear energy technologist is to be found to be dishonest – even one time.

    My presence on the web is not compensated in any manner other than the fact that I am passionate about sharing what I know about the most important energy development of the past 100 years.


    1. Thank you for your comment.

      While I disagree with you about the potential for solar and wind, I don’t doubt your integrity in any way. And I appreciate the fact that you are actively engaging in discussions with people disagreeing with your views.

      Even if someone is paid for lobbying (as for example Christine Todd Whitman for the pro-nuclear side), that fact in itself is not relevant when judging the merit of their positions. If anything, someone getting paid presumably contributes something worth getting paid for.


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