11/13/2008 CBC's The Fifth Estate News Clip: The Gospel of Green
In the face of predictions, rhetoric and warnings about the planet's environmental crisis, one man stands alone as a revolutionary who is transforming a country. And it's likely you've never heard his name.
Hermann Scheer is a German parliamentarian who has turned ideas into practical solutions. Because of the laws that bear his name, Germany is now a solar-paneled, windmill-building, job-producing green powerhouse of the industrialized world. Fifteen per cent of Germany's electricity now comes from renewable energy systems. Scheer predicts that, if his country continues on this course, that number could be 100 per cent by 2030.
In The Gospel of Green, the fifth estate's Bob McKeown travels to Germany to meet Scheer and find out how this green miracle has been accomplished. What he finds is a man with an evangelist's fervour and economist's drive for practical applications. It was Germany's renewable energy act - now known as Scheer's Law - that launched the country as a world leader in green power.
He first proved it could work, ten years ago, when he promised to install solar panels on 100,000 homes, offering contracts that paid a premium to the homeowner for the electricity produced by the panels. Even Greenpeace thought that too ambitious, but Scheer finished the project a year early.
In the course of the documentary, you'll also meet a young Ontario manufacturer of solar panels whose business was days away from closing when he received a call from, who else, German authorities offering him tens of millions of dollars to move to Germany and build a factory there which he has done successfully.
The Gospel of Green then turns to Canada and asks: if one man can transform a country whose economy is so similar to that of Ontario, why can't, and why isn't, that province embracing Scheer's gospel of green? the fifth estate's investigation shows that after initially embracing the philosophy of renewable energies, the pace of change has faltered. The answer to why may lie in the power of Ontario's traditional energy giants