1) A kilowatt of electricity costs three times as much here as it does in the United States, supercharged with high taxes to discourage use and to help fund renewable energy development.
2) A 50 percent "eco-tax" has sent the price of gasoline soaring to $8 a gallon.
3) To manage costs, the family of three unplugs all their appliances but the refrigerator at night, avoids driving and limits steam baths -- a favorite German custom. "We have no choice," said Andreas Pokropp, a former coal refinery worker. "We have to be green, even if we can't afford it."
4) Yet the Pokropps have also reaped rewards from Germany's fight against global warming. After years of looking for steady work in this moribund coal region, Mariola Pokropp found it in 2006 at Eickhoff, a 145-year-old manufacturer of mining equipment that has reinvented itself in green times, retooling its assembly lines to make 30-ton gearboxes for wind power generation. It is part of a heavily subsidized industry that has generated hundreds of thousands of jobs, paid for by consumers through higher energy bills.
5) Europe's most populous nation represents a test case for what happens when a major economy sets down a greener path.
6) Germany, which exports more than China and climbed out of the global recession faster than the United States, has been able to cut emissions without damaging its overall economy. Concerns are mounting that stricter measures coming into effect in 2013 may yet force an exodus of jobs. But as new markets have emerged for efficient building materials and renewable energy, even some of the harshest critics of Germany's green policies concede that they have created more jobs than they have cost.
7) The renewable sector alone, including one of the world's largest solar industries (in a nation where the sun often hides), employs 260,000, one-quarter the size of the country's auto workforce.
8) Yet as Germany has ramped up alternative energy generation, Gelsenkirchen and surrounding cities have witnessed a rebound in jobs, with thousands coming from companies that started building solar panels at old steel mills and churning out $15,000 heat pumps in industrial parks on the city's edge.