jueves, 12 de diciembre de 2013

Germany’s coal mine 'ghost town'

Chancellor Angela Merkel has massively reduced Germany's dependence on nuclear power, but other forms of energy have had to be used more extensively to fill the deficit.

Self-study activity:
Watch this short BBC clip and answer the questions below about it.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

1 What has happened to the cemetery in Immerath?
2 What source of energy has replaced nuclear energy in the last two years?
3 What result has Angela Merkel's energy policy had for consumers?
4  Where are the people standing in the new village built to replace Immerath?
5 What is the percentage of wealthy people in Germany?

To check your answers, you can read the transcript below.

Welcome to Immerath, or rather, what remains of it: A ghost town, where the streets have no life, where most of the graves in the cemetery have been dug up and moved elsewhere, moved because Immerath is to be destroyed to make way for a coal mine, itself the size of a small town.
When Angela Merkel abandoned nuclear energy two years ago she said renewable fuels would fill the gap. One day they should, but for now coal is still needed.
Angela Merkel has led a massive push in Germany to get it using more solar power and wind power, and yet her critics say her energy policy is a mess that has resulted only in higher energy prices for consumers across Germany, a country that is still dependent on coal.
A lot of windmills around here…
Green energy revolution has cost a fortune in subsidies, costs that are passed on to energy consumers like Georg. Will that affect how he votes?
All the persons who will need energy have to pay much more for the energy because of the change.
What do you think overall about the way Germany has been run at the moment?
It’s a good life, yeah.
People are happy, they want to continue with all they have?
Yeah. And therefore I think if you see the election, it wouldn’t change because they have no reasons.
In the village built to house those expelled to make way for the coal mine, they were blessing the ground where one day the new church will stand. Most are now positive about the move. Some, however, are less optimistic about their country.
They don’t care anymore, so in a lot of people are not choose not to go for vote, which I find this very…  it’s a pity.
At the moment in Germany only a minority is wealthy, more and more people are becoming poor, and that’s building up problems for the country. Put simply, people won’t be able to survive on the minimum wage or on their pensions.
Back in abandoned Immerath, a solitary Angela Merkel poster hangs outside the old church. She’s likely to win this election, even though here there is no one to vote for her.

Matthew Price, BBC News, Immerath.