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Several German cities halt use of e-buses following series of unresolved cases of fire

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | October 24, 2021

The potential risks of electromobility are being closely examined in Germany after a third major fire in a bus depot apparently caused by an electric bus. Public transport companies are taking action after the electric bus allegedly triggered a fire in Stuttgart last week, newspaper Die Welt reports.

The Munich public transport company, MVG, is taking eight similar e-buses out of service until the cause of the fire in Stuttgart has been clarified. The fire may have started while the bus was being charged in the depot, according to investigators, who assume that a technical defect may be the cause of the fire. The 30 September fire completely destroyed 25 buses in the depot, including two with electric drives, causing damage worth millions of euros.

The Stuttgart transport company, SSB, has also halted the use of electric buses in the city. The incident followed a similar fire in June in a bus depot in Hanover, which destroyed the hall and nine buses. E-buses were then recalled but are expected to resume service in November. In April, a fire at the Rheinbahn depot in Düsseldorf caused damages totalling several million euros. Investigators determined the fire had been triggered by a technical issue but could not clearly identify the cause.

While the number of electric buses in German public transport doubled last year compared to 2019, a recent survey found that 58 percent of Germans had doubts about the “environmental compatibility” of electric mobility.

October 24, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

I cannot do it anymore

In an open letter, an employee of German public broadcaster ARD is critical of one and a half years of Corona coverage: Ole Skambraks has worked as an editorial assistant and editor at the public broadcaster for 12 years.

BY OLE SKAMBRAKS | multipolar magazine | 14. Oktober 2021

I can no longer remain silent. I can no longer silently watch what has been going on for a year and a half now within my organization, a public service broadcaster. Things like “balance”, “social cohesion” and “diversity” in reporting are principles embedded in the statutes and media state contracts. Today, the exact opposite is happening. There is no true discourse and exchange in which all parts of society can come together and find common ground.

From the beginning, I felt that public service broadcasting should fill precisely this space: promote dialogue between advocates of measures and critics, between people who are afraid of the virus and people who are afraid of losing their basic rights, between vaccination supporters and vaccination sceptics. For the past year and a half, however, the space for discussion has narrowed considerably.

Scientists and experts who were respected and esteemed before Covid, who were given space in public discourse, are suddenly labelled cranks, tinfoil hat wearers or Covidiots. As an oft-cited example, consider Wolfgang Wodarg, a medical specialist in several fields, an epidemiologist and a long-time health politician. Until the Covid crisis, he was also on the board of Transparency International. In 2010, as Chair of the Council of Europe Health Committee, he exposed the influence of the pharmaceutical industry in the swine flu pandemic. At that time, he was granted the opportunity to express his opinion on public service broadcasting, but in times of Covid this is no longer possible. His voice has been replaced by that of so-called fact-checkers, who seek to discredit him.

Paralysing consensus

Instead of an open exchange of opinions, a “scientific consensus” was proclaimed, that must be defended. Anyone who doubts this and demands a multidimensional perspective on the pandemic, will reap indignation and scorn.

The same pattern is at work in the newsrooms. For the last one and a half years, I have no longer been working in the daily news business, which I am pleased about. In my current position, I am not involved in decisions about which topics are treated and how. Here, I describe my impressions from editorial conferences and an analysis of the reporting. For a long time I did not dare to leave the role of observer, the supposed consensus seemed too absolute and unanimous.

For a few months, I have been venturing out onto the ice, making some critical remarks here and there in conferences. This is often followed by a shocked silence, sometimes a “thank you for pointing it out” and every so often a lecture on why it is not true. This has never resulted in any reporting.

The result of one and a half years of Covid-19 is an unparalleled division in society. Public service broadcasting has played a major role in this. It is increasingly failing in its responsibility to build bridges between the camps and to promote exchange.

It is often argued that the critics are a small, negligible minority, which, for reasons of proportionality, cannot be accommodated to any great extent. This argument should have been retired at least with the Swiss referendum on Covid-19 measures. Despite the lack of free exchange of opinions in mass media in that country too, the votes cast went only 60:40 in favour of the government. (1) With a proportion of 40%, can you talk about a small minority? It also turned out that the Swiss Government had tied Covid-related financial support to the vote, which might have influenced some to tick “Yes” on the ballot.

The developments of the Covid crisis are taking place on so many levels, affecting all parts of society, and thus we clearly need more space for a free debate – certainly not less.

In this context, it is less revealing which topics are being discussed in public service media, than what is not being discussed. The reasons for this are many and need to be subject to honest internal scrutiny. It could be helpful to look at some titles published by the media scientist and former MDR broadcasting adviser Uwe Krüger, for example his book “Mainstream – Warum wir den Medien nicht mehr trauen” (“Mainstream — why we no longer trust the media”).

In any case, it takes courage to swim against the current in conferences where such topics are discussed. Often those who can put forward their arguments in the most eloquent way will get their message across but, if in doubt, the editorial team will decide, of course. Very early on, those critical of the Government’s Covid-19 measures were labelled right-wingers. Which editor will still dare to voice similar ideas?

Open questions

Thus the list of inconsistencies and open questions, which have gone largely unreported, is very long:

  • Why do we know so little about “gain of function research” (which aims at making viruses more dangerous to humans)?
  • Why does the new Infection Protection Act state that the basic right to bodily integrity and the inviolability of one’s home may be restricted henceforth – even without an epidemic situation?
  • Why must people who have already had Covid-19 still get the jab, even though they are at least as well protected as those who are vaccinated?
  • Why are we not talking about ”Event 201” and the global pandemic exercises held shortly before the spread of SARS-CoV-2 — at all, or only in the context of conspiracy theories? (2)
  • Why was the internal document from the German Federal Ministry of the Interior — a document which was known to the media and in which the authorities were asked to create a “shock effect” to underscore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on human society — not published in full and discussed publicly?
  • Why is the study by Professor Ioannidis on survival rates (99.41% for people under 70) not featured in the headlines, while the fatally flawed, inflated figures produced by Imperial College were (in the spring of 2020, Neil Ferguson foresaw half a million Covid-19 deaths in the United Kingdom and more than 2 million in the United States)?
  • Why does it say, in a document produced for the German Federal Ministry of Health, that Covid-19 patients stood for no more than 2% of the burden of hospitals during 2020?
  • Why does Bremen have the by far the highest incidence (113 as at 04/10/21) and at, the same time, by far the highest vaccination rate in Germany (79%)?
  • Why were payments of 4 million euro paid into a family account belonging to EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, who was responsible for concluding the first EU vaccine contracts with pharmaceutical companies? (3)
  • Why are people suffering severe vaccine injury not featured to the same extent as people with severe Covid-19 disease were in 2020? (4)
  • Why is no one disturbed by the irregular way of counting “breakthrough infections” in vaccinated people? (5)
  • Why does the Netherlands report clearly higher volumes of side effects of the Covid-19 vaccines than other countries?
  • Why has the efficacy description of the Covid-19 vaccines published on the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut website been changed three times in the last few weeks? From “Covid-19 vaccines protect against infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus” (on 15 August 2021), via “Covid-19 vaccines protect against severe forms of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus” (on 7 September 2021), to, finally, “Covid-19 vaccines are indicated for active immunization to prevent the Covid-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus” (on 27 September 2021). (6)

A couple of these points warrant a closer look.

“Gain of function” and “Lab leak”

As for “gain of function research” — research aiming at making viruses more dangerous, as was done at the Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, and financed by the United States — so far, I have not heard or read anything substantial. This type of research is done in so-called Biosafety Level 4 Laboratories, where work has been carried out for decades to see how animal viruses can be altered to make them dangerous to humans as well. So far, ARD and ZDF have given this topic a wide berth — despite the obvious need for a debate. One question worth exploring could be: Do we, as a society, want such research to be carried out?

There are numerous reports on the “lab leak theory” – the assumption that SARS-CoV-2 originated in a lab. It is worth noting that last year, this idea was immediately labelled a conspiracy myth. Alternative media investigating this were banned from social media such as YouTube and Twitter and the information was deleted. Scientists who supported this theory found themselves under massive attack. Today, the “lab leak theory” is at least as plausible as the bat transmission theory. The American investigative journalist Paul Thacker published the results of his meticulous research in the British Medical Journal. Commenting on this, Dr. Ingrid Mühlhauser, professor of health sciences at Hamburg University writes:

“Step by step, he [Thacker] reveals how members of an American lab group deliberately concocted a conspiracy theory to disguise their lab accident at Wuhan as a conspiracy theory. This myth is supported by respected journals such as The Lancet. Science journalists and fact-checker services accept the information without any reflection. Participating scientists keep mum, either out of fear, or to avoid running the risk of losing their standing or research grants. For more than a year now, Facebook has blocked posts that question the natural origin of SARS-CoV-2. If the lab accident theory is confirmed, then ZDF and other media will have defended conspiracy theories.”

Ivermectin and alternatives to vaccination

For months now, it has been clear that effective and cheap treatments do exist for Covid-19, but their use is not allowed. The data on this is unequivocal. But the pseudoscientific disinformation campaigns against these medications are indicative of the state of medicine today. Hydroxychloroquine is a drug known for decades and used routinely against malaria and rheumatic disorders. Last year, the drug was suddenly deemed dangerous. The statement by then-President Donald Trump that hydroxychloroquine would be a “game changer” did the rest to discredit the medication. The political reasoning no longer allowed a scientific debate on HCQ.

In the spring, the catastrophic situation in India caused by the spread of the Delta variant was widely reported in the media (then still referred to as the Indian variant). But the fact that India rather quickly brought the situation under control, and that the use of Ivermectin in large states such as Uttar Pradesh had a decisive role in this, was not deemed newsworthy. (7)

Ivermectin was granted a temporary authorisation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia for treating Covid-19 patients. This was at least reported by the MDR, albeit with a negative slant.

In its report on possible medications, Bayerischer Rundfunk failed to even mention Ivermectin. As for hydroxychloroquine, only negative studies were cited, omitting all studies with positive results.

In the summer of 2020, lab tests showed that the molecule Clofoctol was also effective against SARS-CoV-2. Until 2005, the antibiotic drug was sold in France and Italy under the commercial names of Octofene and Gramplus. The French authorities repeatedly blocked the Pasteur Institute in Lille from launching a study with Covid-19 patients. At the beginning of September, after several attempts, the first patients were recruited.

Why are the health authorities taking such a strong stand against treatments, which have been available since the beginning of the pandemic? I would have liked to see some investigative research by the ARD here! It has been made clear that the new Covid vaccines could qualify for emergency use authorisation (EUA) only because there was no officially recognised treatment for SARS-CoV-2.

This is not about celebrating any one Covid miracle drug. My aim is to highlight facts which have not been given due consideration. From the outset, the message given in public discourse was that vaccination was the only way out. The WHO even went so far as to change the definition of “herd immunity”, implying that it can only be achieved by vaccination and no longer by previous infection, as was previously the case.

What about if the road chosen is a dead end?

Questions on vaccine efficacy

Data from countries with a particularly high vaccination rate show that infection with SARS-CoV-2 also in fully vaccinated people is more rule than exception. Dr. Kobi Haviv, Director of the Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem, reports that between 85% and 90% of severe cases in his intensive care unit are patients who have had two jabs. (8)

As regards Israel as a whole, the journal Science writes: “On 15 August, 514 Israelis were admitted to hospital with severe or critical Covid-19 disease … out of these 514 persons, 59% were fully vaccinated. Out of those vaccinated, 87% were 60 years or older.” Science quotes an Israeli government adviser, who explains: “One of the great stories coming out of Israel [is]: ‘The vaccines work, but not well enough’.”

It is also now evident that, with the Delta variant, vaccinated people carry (and spread) the same viral load as unvaccinated people.

What has this data situation brought about in Germany? — A lockdown specifically for unvaccinated people or, put somewhat euphemistically: the “2G rule”. In fact, society is being divided into two classes. Vaccinated people regain their freedom (as they do not risk endangering others), whereas unvaccinated people (who do risk endangering others) must undergo tests, and pay for them out of their pocket, and will no longer receive sick pay if quarantined. Moreover, employment bans and dismissals on the grounds of vaccination status are no longer out of the question, and health insurance funds may impose less favourable rates on the unvaccinated in the future. Why this pressure on unvaccinated people? This has no foundation in science and is damaging to our society.

Antibodies produced by vaccination wane after only a few months. A look at Israel shows that after the second jab, there will be a third for the whole population, and then a fourth as recently announced. Those who fail to get a booster shot after six months will lose their status as immune and thus their “Green Pass” (the digital Covid-19 pass introduced in Israel). In the United States, President Joe Biden is talking about Covid-19 booster shots every 5 months. Marion Pepper, immunologist at the University of Washington, questions this strategy, explaining to The New York Times that repeated stimulation of the innate immune response can lead to a phenomenon called “immune fatigue”.

It is a little discussed fact that natural infection allows a person to develop clearly stronger immunity. “Ultrapotent antibodies” or ”super immunity” have been found in people who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 during the last year. These antibodies react against more than 20 different mutations of the virus and remain for longer than antibodies acquired via vaccination.

After all, Health Minister Jens Spahn has now declared that proof of antibodies is also to be accepted. But to be officially recognized as immune you still have to be vaccinated. Who can understand this logic? A CNN interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIAID (under the NIH, the National Health Institutes) clearly illustrates the absurdity of the situation. People with natural immunity are still not a consideration in the minds of the politicians!

I know a physician who is desperately trying to get an answer from the health authorities and the RKI to this problem: One of her patients presents an IgG antibody titer value of 400 AU/ml — clearly more than many vaccinated people. As her Covid-19 infection occurred more than six months ago, she has lost her immune status. The answer was: “Give her the jab!” — which the physician will not do, considering the titer value.

A lack of basic journalistic understanding

The way out of the pandemic touted by our politicians and the media turns out to be a permanent vaccine subscription. Scientists advocating a different Covid approach are not able to reach out via public service media, as demonstrated again by the sometimes defamatory reporting on the video action #allesaufdentisch. Instead of discussing the content of the videos with the parties concerned, experts were sought out to discredit the campaign. By doing this, public service commit the very same error which they hold against #allesaufdentisch.

Der Spiegel journalist Anton Rainer opined in the SWR interview about the video action, that these are not interviews in a classical sense: “In principle you see two people agreeing with each other.” Listening to the reporting by my broadcaster gave me stomach pains, and I was very annoyed by the lack of basic journalistic understanding of the need to let those with opposing views have their say. (9) I made my concerns known to those concerned and the editorial team by email.

A typical comment in conferences is that a topic has “already been covered”. For example, when I brought up the high likelihood of underreporting of vaccine side effects. Yes, sure, the topic was discussed with in-house experts, who – no surprises here – concluded that there was no underreporting. “Opposing views” will be discussed here and there, but are rarely given a human face in such a way that broadcasters actually speak with people who hold critical views.

Critics under pressure

The most vocal critics must count on house searches, prosecution, account suspensions, transfers or dismissal, or even referral to psychiatric care. Even if they hold opinions you do not share — this has no place in a state subject to the rule of law.

In the United States, it is already being discussed whether criticising science should be labelled a hate crime. The Rockefeller Foundation has announced a grant of 13.5 million dollars to censor misinformation in the health field.

WDR television broadcasting director Jörg Schönenborn declared that “facts are facts and they hold true”. If that was so, how is it then possible that scientists behind closed doors argue incessantly and even strongly disagree on some quite basic issues? As long as we are not making that clear, any assumption of supposed objectivity will lead to a dead end. We can only hope to edge closer to “reality” – and that is only possible with open exchange of ideas and scientific knowledge.

What is happening now is no honest fight against “fake news”. Rather, we are left with the impression that any information, evidence, or discussion deviating from the official narrative is suppressed.

A recent example is the factual and scientifically transparent video by IT specialist Marcel Barz. By analysing raw data, Barz was able to establish that the actual figures on excess deaths, hospital occupancy rates as well as infections did not correspond to those gleaned from the media and politicians in the last year and a half. He also demonstrates how you can present a perfect image of a pandemic using such data, and explains why he feels this is dishonest. After three days and 145,000 views, the video was deleted from YouTube (and reinstated only Barz after objected, and many others protested). The stated reason: “medical misinformation”. This begs the question: Who decided this, and on what grounds?

The fact-checker from Volksverpetzer dismissed Marcel Barz as “fake”. The verdict by Correctiv was a bit milder (Barz has given a public and detailed reply). He is proved right by the document produced for the German Federal Ministry of Health, which shows that Covid-19-Patienten stood for no more than 2% of the hospital burden during 2020. Barz went to the press with his analysis but was ignored. In a functioning discourse, our media would invite him for a debate.

Covid-related content has been deleted countless times, as shown by journalist Laurie Clarke in The British Medical Journal. Facebook and similar media are private companies and are thus free to decide what may be published on their platforms. But in doing so, are they also allowed to steer the discourse?

Public service broadcasting could have an important balancing role, by offering an open exchange of opinion. Not so, unfortunately!

Digital vaccine passes and surveillance

The Gates and Rockefeller Foundations drafted and financed the WHO guidelines for digital vaccine passes. These passes are now being rolled out everywhere. Only with these passes will public life be possible – whether you want to take the tram, have a coffee or get medical treatment. An example from France shows that this digital pass will stay even after the pandemic ends. MP Emanuelle Ménard demanded the following addition to the legal text: The digital vaccine pass shall end when the virus spread no longer presents a level of danger which justifies its use. Her proposed amendment was rejected. Thus we are but a small step away from global population control or even a surveillance state via projects such as ID2020.

Australia is currently testing a facial recognition app, to ensure that people stay at home when in quarantine. In Israel, electronic wristbands are used for this purpose. In one Italian city, drones are being tested to measure the temperature of beachgoers, and in France, the law is changed to allow large-scale drone surveillance.

All these topics must be subject to intensive and critical scrutiny within our society. This is not happening to a sufficient extent in the reporting by our broadcasting organisations and, indeed, was not an election campaign issue.

Blinkered vision

The way in which public discourse has been curtailed is indicative of the “gatekeeper of information”. A current example comes from Jan Böhmermann, who demanded that virologists Hendrik Streeck and Professor Alexander S. Kekulé be deprived of their opportunity to speak out, claiming that they were not competent to do so.

Even though the two physicians have very impressive CVs, Böhmermann has thus narrowed the field of vision even more. So, now we cannot even listen to people who present their criticism of government policy wearing kid gloves?

Public discourse has been curtailed so much that Bayerischer Rundfunk has more than once refrained from broadcasting speeches by members of state parliaments who take a critical view of the measures during parliamentary debates.

Is that what the new understanding of democracy looks like in public service broadcasting? Alternative media platforms thrive first and foremost because the established platforms fail to do their job as a democratic corrective.

Something has gone wrong

For a long time, I could say with pride and joy that I work in public service broadcasting. ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio have generated outstanding research, formats, and content. The quality standards are extremely high and thousands of staff members are doing great work despite increasing cost pressure and savings targets. But with Covid-19, something has gone wrong. Suddenly, I have become aware of tunnel vision, blinkers and a supposed consensus which is no longer questioned. (10)

The Austrian broadcaster Servus TV is proof that another way is possible. In the programme “Corona-Quartett” / “Talk im Hanger 7” proponents and critics are given equal space. Why is that not possible in German television? (11) “You cannot let every crank take the stage”, is the quick retort. The false balance, giving serious and dubious opinions an equal chance to be heard, must be avoided. — A killer argument, which also happens to be unscientific. The basic principle of science is doubt, questioning, checking. If this does not happen, then science has become a religion.

Yes, there is actually a false balance. It is the blind spot in our heads, which no longer allows true debate. We are throwing around apparent facts, but can no longer listen to each other. Contempt replaces understanding, fighting the opposing view replaces tolerance. The basic values of our society are thrown overboard, just like that. Here we go: People who do not want to get the jab are crazy, there we go: “Shame on the sleeping sheep”.

While we are busy fighting, we fail to notice that the world around us is changing at breakneck speed. Virtually all areas of our lives are being transformed. How this develops is essentially determined by our capacity for cooperation, compassion and awareness of ourselves and our words and deeds. For our spiritual wellbeing, we would do well to open the space for debate – while being mindful, respectful and with understanding of different perspectives. (12)

Writing this, I feel like a heretic — someone who commits high treason and must reckon with being punished. Maybe this is not the case. Maybe I am not actually risking my job, and maybe freedom of opinion and pluralism are not under threat. I really hope so and I look forward to constructive exchange with my colleagues.

Ole Skambraks
ole.skambraks@protonmail.com

About the author: Ole Skambraks, born in 1979, studied Political Science and French at Queen Mary University in London, as well as Media Management at the ESCP Business School in Paris. He was a Moderator, Reporter and Writer at Radio France Internationale, Online Editor and Community Manager at cafebabel.com, Programme Manager of the MDR Sputnik morning show and Editor at WDR Funkhaus Europa / Cosmo. He is currently working as an Editor in Programme Management/Sound Design at SWR2.

Further information from the author

PS: For fact-checkers and people interested in a multi-perspective, here are the counter-positions to the points discussed in the text:

ARD-ZDF-Studie
https://www.rnd.de/medien/kritik-an-corona-berichterstattung-von-ard-und-zdf-sender-wehren-sich-gegen-medienstudie-C3B4FEKAMNBFBNTKGO5EETMR3E.html

Prof. John Ioannidis
https://www.faz.net/aktuell/wissen/forscher-john-ioannidis-verharmlost-corona-und-provoziert-17290403.html

https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/what-the-heck-happened-to-john-ioannidis/

Imperial College Modelling
https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/10/07/covid-19-modelling-the-pandemic/

Gain of function research
https://www.gavi.org/vaccineswork/next-pandemic/nipah-virus

Hydroxychloroquin / Ivermectin
https://www.br.de/nachrichten/wissen/corona-malaria-mittel-hydroxychloroquin-bei-covid-19-unwirksam,RtghbZ4

https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-2019-nCoV-therapeutics-2021.2

https://www.forbes.com/sites/siladityaray/2021/05/11/indian-state-will-offer-ivermectin-to-entire-adult-population—even-as-who-warns-against-its-use-as-covid-19-treatment/

Immunity of the vaccinated
https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.23.457229v1

Immunity of the recovered
https://science.orf.at/stories/3208411/?utm_source=pocket-newtab-global-de-DE

https://www.businessinsider.com/fauci-why-covid-vaccines-work-better-than-natural-infection-alone-2021-5

Vaccination breakthroughs / Pandemic of the non-vaccinated
https://www.spektrum.de/news/corona-impfung-wie-viele-geimpfte-liegen-im-krankenhaus/1921090#Echobox=1631206725

https://www.mdr.de/wissen/covid-corona-impfdurchbrueche-sind-selten-100.html

Pseudo-experts / Science Denial / PLURV-Principle
https://www.ndr.de/nachrichten/info/82-Coronavirus-Update-Die-Lage-ist-ernst,podcastcoronavirus300.html#Argument

Notes:

(1) The exception was the coverage of the referendum, during which Swiss television was obliged to give both parties the same broadcasting slot.

(2) More Pandemic-Emergency exercises were “Clade X“ (2018), “Atlantic Storm“ (2005), “Global Mercury“ (2003) and “Dark Winter“ (2001). These exercises were always about information management.

(3) Panorama reported on the payments, but did not clearly portray Kyriakides’ role regarding the Corona vaccine contracts. Otherwise, the issue has not had much prominence in the media.

(4) For example, there was hardly any coverage on public radio of the British musician Eric Clapton, who developed violent reactions after vaccination and now regrets it.

(5) According to the RKI, a vaccination breakthrough is when a vaccinated person can show both a positive test and symptoms – for the unvaccinated, a positive test is sufficient. In this way, the unvaccinated are statistically more significant.

(6) Each under the heading “List of approved vaccines”; previous PEI website editions accessible via the Internet archive Wayback Machine.

(7) The WHO has even praised the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh for its corona policy, but without mentioning ivermectin. The vaccination rate in Uttar Pradesh is below 10 %.

(8) See also FDA meeting of 17 September 2021, at 5:47:25

(9) The fairest reporting comes from BR, although here too it was about and not with the makers. MDR offers a comprehensive and differentiated analysis on its media portal.

(10) I would not like to speak of an actual “unified opinion” of the public broadcasters. There have always been critical contributions and course corrections in reporting. But it is always a question of context, broadcasting time and scope how a topic is treated. My colleagues have also confirmed my observations.

(11) Fresh formats like ZDF’s “Auf der Couch” (On the Couch) give hope, even if I don’t think a Karina Reiß or a Wolfgang Wodarg will be taking a seat there any time soon.

Note: This text ist also available in German and in French.

October 16, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Biden signs ‘Havana Syndrome’ law, Berlin police report new ‘cases’ blamed on mystery weapons scientists say don’t exist

RT | October 8, 2021

As President Joe Biden signed a law funding the treatment of 200-plus US officials who claim to have been affected by so-called Havana Syndrome, German police said they were looking into more possible cases.

Berlin police confirmed on Friday they were investigating an “alleged sonic weapon attack on employees of the US Embassy,” in response to reporting by the tabloid Der Spiegel. The embassy declined to comment on the investigation.

Meanwhile in Washington, Biden signed into law the Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks (HAVANA) Act, passed unanimously by Congress last month, providing money for the treatment of more than 200 government employees who claim to have been affected by the mystery syndrome.

“Civil servants, intelligence officers, diplomats, and military personnel all around the world have been affected by anomalous health incidents,” Biden said in a statement. “Some are struggling with debilitating brain injuries that have curtailed their careers of service to our nation. Addressing these incidents has been a top priority for my administration.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the US government is “determined to get to the bottom as quickly as possible of the attribution and cause of these incidents,” with the intelligence community “in the lead on that.”

“They’re actively examining a range of hypotheses, but they have not made a determination about the cause of these incidents or who is responsible.”

US media and many members of Congress, however, seem convinced that the symptoms – which were first reported at the US Embassy in Cuba in 2016 – were the work of some kind of weapon, and have pointed the finger at Russia. About half of the Americans who claim to have been affected are employees of the Central Intelligence Agency.

CIA Director William Burns said in July that there was a “very strong possibility” the symptoms were caused deliberately, and pointed to a study by a National Academy of Sciences panel from December 2020 that listed “directed energy” beams as a plausible cause.

Last month, however, the State Department released a redacted version of the classified 2018 report by JASON, a scientific advisory group, that ruled out microwave or ultrasound energy, saying that the power requirements were prohibitive and pointing out that electronics were not affected.

The JASON report said that a third of the original reports were “most likely” caused by the noise made by a specific species of cricket – a conclusion a US Berkeley scientist reached independently in early 2019 – while others may have been of psychological origin.

October 9, 2021 Posted by | Russophobia, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 2 Comments

With blackouts looming, German government’s disaster preparation day promotes ‘cooking without electricity’

RT | October 1, 2021

High demand and the transition to green power has left much of Europe at risk of blackouts. In Germany, state authorities are teaching the public to heat their homes with candles and get used to “cooking without electricity.”

State authorities in North-Rhine Westphalia will hold their first ‘Disaster Protection Day’ on Saturday, with instructors in the city of Bonn teaching citizens how to get by “in the event of a long power failure.” An advert by the federal Civil Protection Office gives a hint of what’s in store, and features an elderly woman wearing several layers of clothing, heating her apartment with candles burning under an upturned flower pot and sealing her windows with reflective foil.

The Civil Protection Office on Friday unveiled an ad campaign focusing on all aspects of crisis preparation, and will soon release a targeted strategy addressing “stockpiling, extreme weather, power failure and emergency baggage.” Meanwhile, officials will present a new book entitled ‘Cooking Without Electricity’ at the event in Bonn on Saturday.

Based on these official communications, blackouts are coming to Germany soon. While the idea of the world’s sixth-most developed country being unable to power itself may seem ludicrous, the problem is Europe-wide, and is the result of a number of factors.

Germany relies heavily on natural gas for heat and power, and supplies were depleted following an unusually cold winter and spring. Globally, gas markets are tight, with increased demand in Asia and an upsurge in air-conditioner use during a hot summer in Europe driving prices to record highs.

Compounding the problem, wind-power generation fell this year, literally due to a lack of wind in Germany. Coal burning has increased to make up this shortfall, yet the cost of European Union ‘carbon credits’ on this fuel is passed on to consumers, with the end result being a spike in energy costs for ordinary Germans, who already pay the highest price per kilowatt hour in the world.

Both the EU and the German government want to rely more heavily on wind and other renewables for power in the future. The EU’s 2030 plan calls for 32% of all energy to be generated from renewable sources, and while Germany already exceeds this target with 44%, the German government plans on eliminating nuclear power by next year and coal by 2038.

Combined, nuclear and coal account for 39% of all electricity generated in Germany. Unless the country can dramatically expand its renewable sector, and count on the wind to power it, their elimination will likely result in even higher prices, and more ‘Disaster Protection Days’ in the coming years.

The same mismatch of supply and demand, coupled with a costly and unreliable transition to green power, has also been seen in other European countries in recent months.

October 1, 2021 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | 3 Comments

If YouTube’s block of RT’s German channels is about ‘misinformation’, when will MSNBC & CNN be banned for Russiagate conspiracies?

By Glenn Diesen | RT | September 30, 2021

Russia is locked into yet another standoff with an American tech company. This time, it’s YouTube, which has taken down two of RT’s German-language news channels and provoked a furious response from Moscow’s most senior officials.

The decision, understood to have been taken over allegations the broadcaster tried to circumvent a ‘community standards strike’ handed down over ‘medical misinformation’, has seen Russia’s regulators rally round RT DE and its sister account, Der Fehlende Part.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian federal executive agency responsible for overseeing the media, warned Google it would be fined if did not end the suspension. At the same time, RT’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, cautioned that this was “a declaration of media war against Russia by Germany,” and argued in favour of retaliatory restrictions against German media in Russia.

The closure of German-language RT channels should be seen in the context of growing censorship in the West and hostility to Moscow’s media outlets.

The rise of censorship in the West

Censorship has acquired a new dictionary over the past few years, with the rise of concepts such as safe spaces, cancel culture, and de-platforming – which are synonyms for striking down what people can and can’t say. Terms like hate speech and propaganda are defined increasingly loosely and censorship is therefore imposed on a wider and more inconsistent basis. The US government works hand in glove with the private tech giants to re-label censorship at platform policies.

There is especially a growing effort to legitimise censoring news and media related to Russia, which is usually conducted under the auspices of “countering propaganda.” We are constantly informed that Russia is launching a disinformation and propaganda campaign against the West to undermine its democracies. The response to this alleged threat by Western governments is a firm campaign of one-sided fact-checkers and efforts to out-propaganda the supposed propagandists.

The problem is that what is framed as counter-propaganda usually looks indistinguishable from propaganda, and merely undermines and ignores the arguments on the other side. Propaganda is the science of persuading an audience without reason by instead appealing to group psychology and emotional rhetoric. If propaganda entails “closing the mind to argument,” then countering propaganda implies appealing to reason by objectively presenting competing arguments.

British philosopher Bertrand Russell is known for arguing during the Cold War that countering communist propaganda did not necessitate simply censoring the Soviet Union, as such a move would merely give space for British propaganda. Instead, he envisioned counter-propaganda as facilitating all perspectives by, for example, organising a debate between Stalin and the Archbishop of Canterbury. By redefining propaganda as anything that presents Russia favourably – debates that give Russian arguments a platform and legitimacy are deemed dangerous and thus require censorship. Under this new definition of propaganda, even the Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine and Russian cartoons are considered propaganda.

It is only a year ago that Hunter Biden’s laptop scandal unfolded ahead of the US presidential election, purporting to reveal that now-US President Joe Biden was involved in corruption with Ukraine and China. Fearing that this revelation could cause Joe Biden to lose the election, the Biden campaign adopted the same Russiagate playbook as the Clinton campaign – blame Russia.

By labelling the entire scandal a Russian disinformation campaign, the media chose not to report on the matter while social media platforms outright censored the story from their platforms. Well, last week the evidence was in – the incriminating emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop were completely authentic and Moscow had absolutely nothing to do with it. Much like the conspiracy theories linking former President Donald Trump to the Kremlin and the tale of Russia placing bounties on US troops in Afghanistan – the disinformation came from the Western media.

In many cases, mainstream outlets have championed claims that were at the time unsubstantiated, and now fully discredited, without ever correcting themselves. American networks including MSNBC and CNN have played host to some of the most egregiously untrue Russia-gate conspiracy theories. Those, like Rachel Maddow, who unapologetically championed them, have never faced repercussions for their careers, and their sensationalist content still sits online proud as punch and without retraction or amendment. Accountability, it seems, is something reserved for other people.

Western states are also countering alleged Russian disinformation with ‘fact-checkers’. The problem is that these fact-checkers do not actually check facts, they check narratives, impose their own, and thereby operate as a Ministry of Truth.

Case in point, the EU fact-checkers label the reference to ‘coup’ to describe the events in Ukraine in February 2014 as Russian disinformation, as it was argued to supposedly have been a ‘democratic revolution’ and that former leader Viktor Yanukovich chose to leave the country voluntarily.

Actual fact-checkers would check objective facts: Did the OSCE characterise the election of President Yanukovich as free and fair? – Yes. Did the removal of Yanukovich from power violate the Ukrainian constitution? – Yes. Did the toppling of Yanukovich enjoy support from a democratic majority of the Ukrainian population? – No. Did the US and EU support the removal of Yanukovich? – Yes. Instead of fact-checking, the fact-checkers employ ambiguous and contradictory terms such as ‘democratic revolution’ to delegitimise the Russian position. Subsequently, these fact-checkers send an unmistakable signal to Western media that they cannot discuss the extent to which a coup occurred in Ukraine, as this can be considered peddling Russian disinformation.

Diversity of perspectives demands a diversity of media

The media landscape is polarising both domestically and internationally. Within the US, liberals who appear on conservative media platforms are chastised for their lack of loyalty to the group. Within Europe, the media polarises between pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit, or between pro-EU and anti-EU.

Groupthink is amplified and the subsequent polarisation implies that the nuances disappear as political questions are framed as a struggle between right and wrong, or good and evil. With the death of objective reporting, the solution for the audience to remain informed is a diversity of media – both CNN and Fox News, both The Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, both Haaretz and Al Jazeera.

The Western media acts in conformity with a heavy anti-Russian bias that reflects the alliance system and security architecture of a divided Europe. Those interested in Russian politics should by no means limit themselves to RT as the sole arbiter of truth, but RT is an important contribution to a severely polarised media landscape.

The Western media has exceptionally poor reporting on Russia, as it is ideologically constrained from recognising Russian security concerns. All political questions are filtered through the simplistic and outdated binary stereotypes of ‘democracy’ versus ‘authoritarianism’ that provides little if any heuristic value to understand the complexities of the socio-economic, political, and military conflicts.

The inability to recognise that the West can threaten Russian security makes it impossible to have any reasonable analysis of Russian foreign policy. By neglecting external threats and limiting the analysis of Russia to its internal characteristics, Russian policies can only be explained by referencing Putin’s belligerent personality or nostalgia for empire.

The information space is becoming a key battleground in great power rivalry, and for the sake of an informed population, we have to hope what some see as propaganda is countered with reason – not just more propaganda.

Glenn Diesen is a Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal.

September 30, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Russia will take ‘zero tolerance’ approach to US tech giant YouTube’s ‘censorship’ of RT’s German-language channels

RT | September 29, 2021

YouTube has violated Russian law by taking down two German-language channels run by RT, the Kremlin has insisted, cautioning that the American tech giant will face serious consequences unless it urgently reinstates the accounts.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary said that “there are of course signs that Russian law has been broken” after the platform moved to ban RT DE and Der Fehlende Part from its site. “In fact, it has been broken very brazenly,” Dmitry Peskov added. “Because of this, it is a case of censorship, and of obstructing the dissemination of information by the media, and so on.”

Peskov added that “there must be zero tolerance for such violations of the law,” insisting that “if our regulators deem this is a violation of legislation then we can’t exclude the possibility we will take measures to force this network to comply with the law.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Moscow’s media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, published a letter sent to YouTube’s parent company, Google, demanding all restrictions be lifted from RT’s channels. The purportedly permanent deletion was imposed after the German-language broadcaster allegedly attempted to circumvent a ‘community guidelines’ strike, handed down for ‘medical misinformation’ in four videos. The details of the purported breach are not yet clear, but RT’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, has said that it amounts to “a declaration of media war against Russia by Germany.”

Roskomnadzor went on to tell Google that, if the site does not comply with the order, “legislation allows us to take measures including completely or partially blocking access to it.”

Moscow’s Foreign Ministry has also announced that it is considering taking steps against German news outlets in retaliation over the decision. “Adopting reciprocal measures against the German media in Russia which, by the way, has been repeatedly shown to have interfered in our country’s internal affairs, seems not only appropriate but necessary,” it said in a statement.

Officials went on to say that such restrictions are “the only possible way to focus our partners’ attention on a constructive and meaningful dialogue around this unacceptable situation.” According to the diplomats, YouTube acted not out of adherence to its community policies but with the “obvious connivance, if not the insistence,” of German authorities.

Berlin has denied involvement in the decision and insists that the matter is one for YouTube alone.

September 29, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

YouTube deletes 2 channels of RT DE with 600K subscribers over ‘community guidelines’ violation

RT | September 28, 2021

YouTube has permanently deleted two of RT’s German-language channels, the news outlet has announced. RT DE was listed among top News & Politics channels on the social media platform, with hundreds of millions of views.

The Google-owned video service “has deleted the RT DE channel, as well as our second channel DFP [Der Fehlende Part, “the missing piece”], without the right to restoration,” Dinara Toktosunova, head of RT in Germany, announced on her Telegram channel on Tuesday.

The main RT DE channel was barred from live-streaming and uploading videos for seven days since September 21, on the basis of a strike over “community guidelines” violations, for alleged “medical misinformation” in four videos. YouTube did not elaborate on what specifically was questionable in the clips. The videos, some weeks while others months old, focused on the Covid-19 crisis. They featured, among others, an interview with German epidemiologist Friedrich Puerner, who was critical of the governmental ways of battling the pandemic.

The strike was due to expire on Tuesday, but YouTube removed the channel. The social media platform said in a statement: “We have reviewed your content and found severe or repeated violations of our Community Guidelines. Because of this, we have removed your channel from Youtube.”

The same thing happened with DFP, which had no strikes and posted RT DE content. A YouTube representative later confirmed that publishing material on the DFP was, according to the tech giant, a violation of the strike handed to RT DE’s main channel. As a result, both channels were deleted.

RT DE was among the top five German-language channels in YouTube’s News and Politics category, based on Tubular Labs data for August, with over 600,000 subscribers and almost 547 million total views.

In recent months, RT DE has faced mounting pressure in Germany, including over its plans to launch a TV broadcast later this year. In mid-August, Luxembourg denied RT’s application for a German-language broadcast license. Chancellor Angela Merkel denied pressuring the neighbouring country to do so, despite multiple German outlets reporting that representatives from Berlin met with Luxembourg officials to discuss the issue.

Ahead of the planned TV launch, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said some German media outlets had waged “an outright information war” against RT. The same month, Die Welt – owned by the Axel Springer conglomerate – published two opinion pieces that German courts later found contained false claims about RT DE.

Earlier this year, Commerzbank abruptly and without explanation announced that it was shutting down accounts associated with RT DE. When the outlet reached out to other German banks, its inquiries about doing business were ignored or rejected.

September 28, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Facebook censors German anti-lockdown movement under new rules to prevent users from organizing & amplifying ‘harmful’ ideas

RT | September 17, 2021

No longer content to go just after bots and trolls, Facebook has established a new category of “social harm” posted by genuine users, starting with purging pages and Instagram accounts of a German anti-lockdown group Querdenken.

Facebook’s head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher announced the action on Thursday, saying that his team has been working for months to “expand our network disruption efforts so we can address threats that come from groups of authentic accounts coordinating on our platform to cause social harm.”

The closest his post comes to defining “social harm” is content that “calls for violence or to discredit medical science.”

Gleicher says his group has removed a network of Facebook and Instagram accounts, pages and groups “for engaging in coordinated efforts to repeatedly violate our Community Standards, including posting harmful health misinformation, hate speech and incitement to violence.”

Sharing their domains on Facebook and Instagram has been blocked as well, he added, but noted that “we aren’t banning all Querdenken content.”

The Querdenken – German for “lateral thinking” – movement is “linked to off-platform violence and other social harms,” Gleicher wrote, adding that the content posted on the banned pages “primarily focused on promoting the conspiracy that the German government’s [Covid-19] restrictions are part of a larger plan to strip citizens of their freedoms and basic rights.”

According to Facebook, the group “typically portrayed violence as the way to overturn the pandemic-related government measures limiting personal freedoms.” The group “engaged in physical violence against journalists, police and medical practitioners in Germany,” Gleicher claimed citing “public reporting.”

Police officers scuffle with a demonstrator during a protest in Berlin, Germany, on August 1, 2021. © Reuters / Christian Mang

There have been multiple mass protests against coronavirus lockdowns in Germany, with the authorities denouncing them as the work of the “far-right,” neo-Nazis and other extremists. While the UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer raised concerns about police brutality in dispersing the demonstrations, last month, Berlin police responded that violence is “still part of our legal system.”

“Direct enforcement is violence. Violence harms. Violence hurts. Violence looks violent,” Berlin police spokesperson Thilo Cablitz told DPA last month.

Facebook has cracked down hard on “debunked” and “false” claims about the Covid-19 pandemic, loosely defined as anything that contradicts the guidance by the World Health Organization or national health authorities. It stopped censoring the claim that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China back in May, however, citing “new facts and trends” that emerged.

September 16, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | 1 Comment

German Pathologist: Fatal Consequences of Vaccinations Underestimated

German pathologists like Schirmacher dare to question the official script on vaccine safety
21 Wire | August 4, 2021

Dr. Peter Schirmacher, who serves as Director at the Pathological Institute of the University of Heidelberg, is sounding the alarm on fatal vaccine injuries after performing over forty autopsies on people who had died within two weeks of receiving their COVID shot.

The German daily, Augsburger Allgemeinereports:

“Schirmacher assumes that 30 to 40 percent of them died from the vaccination. In his opinion, the frequency of fatal consequences of vaccinations is underestimated – a politically explosive statement in times when the vaccination campaign is losing momentum, the Delta variant is spreading rapidly and restrictions on non-vaccinated people are being discussed.”

Right on cue, a flurry of criticism has moved on Schirmacher, including from inside Chancellor Merkel’s administration, calling his findings “incomprehensible.”

Schirmacher, who also leads a state-subsidized autopsy project on people who have ‘died from Covid-19,’ recently expanded his work to include the autopsies on people who died after being vaccinated.

Germany’s Federal Association of German Pathologists has stepped up to defend Schirmacher, supporting the urgent need to perform more autopsies on deceased vaccinated people.

August 5, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Editor-in-Chief of Germany’s Top Newspaper Apologizes For Fear-Driven COVID Coverage

By Paul Joseph Watson | Summit News | August 3, 2021

The editor-in-chief of Germany’s top newspaper Bild has apologized for the news outlet’s fear-driven coverage of COVID, specifically to children who were told “that they were going to murder their grandma.”

In a speech delivered to camera, Julian Reichelt said sorry for Bild’s coverage which was “like poison” and “made you feel like you were a mortal danger to society.”

Reichelt directed his main sentiment towards children who have been terrorized by fearmongering media coverage which has caused child depression and suicides to soar across the world.

“To the millions of children in this country for whom our society is responsible, I want to express here what neither our government nor our Chancellor dares to tell you. We ask you to forgive us,” he said.

“Forgive us for this policy which, for a year and a half, has made you victims of violence, neglect, isolation, and loneliness.”

“We persuaded our children that they were going to murder their grandma if they dared to be what they are, children. Or if they met their friends. None of this has been scientifically proven.”

“When a state steals the rights of a child, it must prove that by doing so it protects him against concrete and imminent danger. This proof has never been provided. It has been replaced by propaganda presenting the child as a vector of the pandemic.”

Reichelt noted how moderate voices who attempted to offer calmer perspectives on the pandemic “were never invited to the expert table” and urged viewers “don’t believe this lie,” when encountering alarmist proclamations from the government.

The journalist called on authorities to open schools and sports halls instead of polling stations, warning that those who imposed brutal lockdown measures, “will have on their conscience and will leave in the history books, a multitude of innocent souls.”

Bild has a daily circulation of 1.24 million copies and is the best-selling newspaper in Europe, adding even more weight to this story.

As we highlighted yesterday, Germans protesting against plans to impose domestic vaccine passports were brutalized by police during demonstrations that took place in Berlin.

The ugly scenes prompted the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer to put in a request for eyewitnesses ahead of a potential investigation.

Germans were protesting against plans to ban unvaccinated people from a plethora of different venues, including restaurants, cinemas and stadiums.

As we previously highlighted, Germany’s domestic spy agency is monitoring anti-lockdown protesters, claiming they are potentially involved in a plot to subvert the country.

August 4, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

The Triumphant March Toward 100% “Renewable” Electricity: Germany and California

By Francis Menton – Manhattan Contrarian – July 28, 2021

As a state or a country, if you want to have any status in the ranks of the climate virtuous, the key metric is your commitment to get most or all of your energy from “renewables” (mainly wind and solar) by the earliest possible date. Everybody is doing it, and you are nobody if you don’t get in on the bidding. Just a couple of weeks ago (July 14), according to Reuters, the European Commission entered a bid of 40% of final energy consumption from “renewables” by 2030. Back here in the US, the most recent bid from the Biden administration (from April 28) is a goal of 80% of electricity by 2030, which is ambitious on its own, although electricity is a minority of final energy consumption. Congress has yet to consider the Biden administration bid.

Within both the EU and the US, there are national and state champions that are far out-virtuing everybody else. In the EU, it’s Germany. Germany adopted its “Energiewende” way back in 2010 to transition its energy sector to wind and solar. Since then Germany has repeatedly ramped up its renewable energy targets. Most recently, in December 2020, Germany adopted by statute a binding goal of 65% of electricity from renewables by 2030. Here in the US, our champion is California. In California the governing law is the famous SB 100, enacted in 2018, which sets mandatory targets for the electricity sector of 60% from “renewables” by 2030 and 100% by 2045.

As readers here know, the Manhattan Contrarian from time to time has expressed a high degree of skepticism as to whether these mandatory targets are achievable in the real world. Indeed, I have often noted that at somewhere around 40 – 50% of electricity from “renewables,” it becomes impossible as a practical matter to increase the share of electricity from renewables just by adding more renewable capacity. As far as I am aware, no large jurisdiction to date has gotten its percentage of electricity generation from “renewables” up above 50% for any extended period of time. (If a reader can point me to an example, I will be very interested.)

But maybe I’m just a crank. Surely these geniuses in Germany and California must know what they are doing. So let’s check in on the latest news.

Germany

The website No Tricks Zone has a report on July 27 covering electricity output in Germany for the first half of 2021. The No Tricks Zone post is based on data compiled at a German website called Die kalte Sonne.

And the answer is that in the first half of 2020 Germany achieved the level of 50% of its electricity from “renewables.” But in 2021 that level fell back to 43%:

“The share of renewable energies in gross electric power consumption in the first half of 2021 fell from 50% to 43% compared to a year earlier,” Die kalte Sonne reports.

What happened? The wind just didn’t blow as much:

“The production of onshore and offshore wind energy decreased by 20%.” . . . The reason for the steep drop, according to the findings, was due to unfavorable weather conditions. “This year, especially in the first quarter, the wind was particularly still. . . .”

So did solar energy then pick up the slack? Unfortunately, no:

“[T]he sun output was low. . . . Solar energy output . . . rose a modest 2%.”

So how did Germany make up the difference? The answer will not surprise you:

“Coal energy saw a renaissance. Brown coal [lignite] power plants produced 45.8 terawatt-hours of the net power – that is the power mix that comes out of the outlet.  That’s a strong increase of 37.6% compared to 2020, when only 33.6 terawatt-hours were produced. The net production by black coal power plants also increased, by 38.9% to 20.4 terawatt-hours after 14.4 terawatt-hours in 2020.”

Basically, Germany has hit the limit of what can be achieved by adding capacity of wind and solar power sources. To get to the higher levels of “renewable” market share that they have committed to, they will need to add large and rapidly-increasing amounts of grid-scale storage. So far, they have barely begun that process.

California

Perhaps you remember the excited headline from the LA Times from April 29: “California just hit 95% renewable energy.” April 29 was just the very day after President Biden had announced his goal of 80% of US electricity from “renewables” by 2030. Now California was already showing the world that they were way ahead and basically all the way to home plate:

Something remarkable happened over the weekend: California hit nearly 95% renewable energy. I’ll say it again: 95% renewables. For all the time we spend talking about how to reach 100% clean power, it sometimes seems like a faraway proposition, whether the timeframe is California’s 2045 target or President Biden’s more aggressive 2035 goal. But on Saturday just before 2:30 p.m., one of the world’s largest economies came within a stone’s throw of getting there.

(Emphasis in the original.). But maybe we shouldn’t get too excited just yet. First, although the author (Sammy Roth) says this was “95% renewable energy,” it turns out as you read further that he is only talking about electricity, which is only about 30% of energy consumption. And for how long did the renewables provide the 95% of electricity consumption?

Saturday’s 94.5% figure — a record, as confirmed to me by the California Independent System Operator — was fleeting, lasting just four seconds.

So what’s the real picture over the course of multiple months or a year? For that you’ll have to ignore the cheerleading reporters at the MSM, and try to find some aggregate statistics. Here are the figures from the California Energy Commission for the full year 2020. The total contribution to electricity supply from “renewables” is claimed to be 33.09%. Oh, but that includes 2.45% from “biomass,” 4.89% from “geothermal,” and 1.39% from “small hydro.” Take those out and you’re left with a big 24.36% from wind and solar. And since electricity is only about 30% of final energy consumption, that means that wind and solar are only contributing around 8% of total energy consumption in California.

Over at the website of California’s Independent System Operator (“CAISO”) they provide a chart for every day’s electricity production that dramatically illustrates the problem. California’s peak electricity demand is around 40 GW, generally occurring around 6 – 8 PM. The large majority of their “renewable” production is from solar. Their current solar capacity, on a sunny mid-summer day like today, provides around 12 GW from about 9 AM to 5 PM — and nothing the rest of the time, including at the time of peak usage. In the winter, the output is more like 8 GW from 10 AM to 4 PM, and nothing the rest of the time. So far, they have almost nothing in the way of grid scale energy storage. In the evening, they ramp up the natural gas plants, and import power from Arizona and Nevada — mostly natural gas, nuclear, and coal. Close to 30% of California’s electricity comes from imports from neighboring states.

Is California going to meet its statutory mandatory goal of 60% of electricity from renewables by 2030? I know which way I’m betting.

July 31, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment