The Hypocritical Oath – Save Yourself – Blame the Media

The leading energy company Vattenfall and it’s owner has been under attack recently. Einar Du Rietz tries to sort out the mess.

Channel IconOne of the largest energy companies in Europe, Swedish state owned Vattenfall has come under heavy media attack recently, and so has the responsible minister for industry, Maud Olofsson. The main reason is that Olofsson failed to disclose details from a deal with the German government in connection with the latest nuclear power project. Under the insurance agreement, Vattenfall would go completely bankrupt if there were a serious nuclear accident.

Let’s start there. Nuclear power is a blessing in many ways a blessing. It’s clean, non polluting, and – yes – it’s safe. Relatively. All energy production carries hassles of some sort. But, and that’s important, if the horrible happens, the results can be devastating. The risk with today’s reactors is very tiny, but in case of a major catastrophe, isn’t it fair that those responsible have to pay?

Vattenfall has for years now tried to come across as a green company (  Vattenfall Song also above with the air guitarr man). One of the difficulties lies in the fact that some of the major activities in Germany are not nuclear, but brown coal mines and burning. Nothing intrinsically wrong with that either, but I’d prefer if they did it on their own turf. One of the major atrocities was committed already under the German Social Democrat and Green government, when the last village of the Sorb minority- including the village church – was destroyed. Current prospects include kicking at least 3 000 people out of their homes. Naturally with fair compensation. How a fair price can be determined in a similar situation remains to me a mystery.

The current situation is that Vattenfall is trying to save face. The CEO was replaced and the green commercials intensified. The Swedish government is also trying to save face while the German government pretends it’s business as usual.

A couple of suggestions: Stop the hypocrisy about beeing Green. Stop destroying people’s homes. Apply strict responsibility for Vattenfall’s  activities, as for all industrial activities, without hiding behind the ministers’ skirts. In other words, privatize!

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About the Author: Einar Du Rietz

Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.