National energy policies of the Federal Republic of Germany and Canada in the 1970s and 1980s: are economic and/or environmental concerns responsible for change?
Pfleger, Anita Angelika.
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The thesis presents a comparison of the national energy policies of the Federal Republic of Germany and Canada from 1973 until the late 1980s. The purpose of this paper is to analyze whether economic and/or environmental concerns were responsible for changes in the· West-German and Canadian national energy policies. Furthermore, the feasibility of implementing a soft energy path in West-Germany and Canada is examined. For better comprehension of the policy-making process and implemented changes in the national energy policies of the two states, the West-German and Canadian parliamentary systems and the political cultures were compared. For the analysis, several events with international impact were taken as guidelines. Furthermore, based on statistical data, the West-German and Canadian energy production and consumption were analyzed. With reference to these results the degree of the de facto changes in the national energy policies were analyzed. In addition, the thesis discusses the possibilities which a soft energy path offers to both national governments to renounce themselves from the dependencies on a few energy resources. The thesis reveals that changes in the West-German and Canadian national energy policies, in their energy production and consumption are correlated to various world events. In particular, governmental reponses security of energy supply by the two international oil crises of 1973 and 1979/1980 demonstrate that changes in the West-German and Canadian national energy policies were implemented in reaction to economic concerns than environmental ones. With the policies "away from oil" and "off oil", the West-German and Canadian government implemented the i i substitution of oil through various diverse energy supply resources. However, energy savings concepts and policies were initiated through the first oil crisis in 1973. The world recessions in 1975 and 1982 had no 'profound impacts on the agenda of West-German and Canadian energy policies. As a consequence of the stagnation or the negative growth of the world economic market, changes in their energy production and consumption can be perceived. However, the West-German and Canadian energy production and consumption intensified with the augmentation of the world economy. During the period of study, environmental concerns were taken into account in the energy policy agendas of the Federal Republic of Germany and Canada but they were not of primary concern. wi thin the decade of. the 1980s notably more environmental considerations were taken into account in the energy policies of the two states. The two nuclear reactor accidents in 1979 and 1986 sharpened to various degrees West-German and Canadian public discourse of present energy supply mix and attitude towards energy production and consumption. The statistical data reflects yet no changes in the energy policies in regard to the position of nuclear power. However, in the next several years possible changes can be observed through statistical data, because the planning, the construction and possible phase out of nuclear power requires several years. Finally, the thesis reveals that the implementation of a soft energy path requires profound changes in the consumer behaviour. As several studies indicate, a soft energy path is technological and economically feasible for the Federal Republic of Germany and Canada, its implementation remains to be a political decision.
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