After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, Chancellor Merkel of Germany announced a complete nuclear phase-out in Germany by 2022, while President Hollande of France assured the French government of his commitment to nuclear energy. Fossil fuels, notably lignite and coal, dominated the German energy sector with 47.9% market share of total energy production in Germany; nuclear energy is the leading energy source in France with a market share of 80.9% in 2013. The difference between natural resources’ abundance in Germany and France shaped the development of energy policy in both countries. Huge lignite and coal reserves in Germany continued to sustain Germany’s growing economy, while France, lacking fossil fuel deposits, pursued nuclear energy to gain economic and energy independence after the 1973 oil crisis. Anti-nuclear movement in Germany succeeded in mass mobilization and gained major political representation in both federal and state governments through the Green Party and Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The French anti-nuclear movement faced a strong centralized French government and failed to gain public support, and political isolation prevented any influence on French energy policy.

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© 2015 Jie Ming Chong

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