by Winand von Petersdorff
In mid-April of this year a group of scientists, journalists, and environmentalists went public with the Ecomodernist Manifesto. It is a call for a pragmatic, technology-oriented politics of environmental protection. The authors break away from the romantic perception of human lives in sustainable harmony with nature. Instead, the key is to decouple the environment and humans. The simple, good idea is to intensify agriculture, energy and human settlement so that humans require less land. Land productivity becomes a holy duty in order to protect parts of nature from human influence.
There is a solution for this kind of highly-intensive, emissions-free energy supply. It's called nuclear power. "Most forms of renewable energy are, unfortunately, incapable of doing so," argue the Manifesto authors. The scale of land use and other environmental impacts that are associated with biomass and many other forms of renewable energy arouse major doubts that they can bring the world closer to a solution.
The major exception is a new generation of highly efficient solar cells in combination with new storage technology. This all may be difficult to swallow for large portions of the German environmental movement. They prefer to stay in their ideological antinuclear backwater.
Note: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is one of Germany's top newspapers, with the second largest national circulation. The original article is in German. Thanks to Marian Swain for translation help.