While Germany and the U.S. faced similar challenges in the 1950s, 1960s, and the beginning of the 1970s, various political realities, geographies, and especially a variance in energy security risk perception have led the two countries on two very different paths. Germany has constantly addressed new challenges and realities, while the U.S. has largely made do with a continuation of the status quo that only recently changed with expanded gas production. Today there is more that divides than unites German and American energy policy and especially their energy security risk perception. Germany’s ambition makes it a pioneer on a number of levels and though its plans include risks of their own, Germany will face these on its own terms within its European framework. America and its car commuters are now feeling comparatively much more pain at the gas pump in large part due to the lack of active policy action in the energy security policy field. Though enhanced oil and gas recovery methods, including hydraulic fracturing, may offer short-term solutions, the time will come when the U.S. will need to seriously reevaluate its energy policy and take more active measures to mitigate against the weakness and significant risks posed by its continuing addiction to fossil fuels.
Aki Kachi is a Project Manager at adelphi, an environmental consultancy in Berlin, Germany.