ZEIT “Energy & Climate Protection” conference in Berlin
Berlin. Staged shortly after the German elections, this year’s ZEIT “Energy & Climate Protection” conference focused primarily on the new government’s energy policy. There was a call for pragmatic approaches so that Germany can still achieve its climate protection targets long term. That’s because one thing soon became clear: Germany will be one of just five EU countries to fall well short of the targets it has set itself if it continues to pursue the path it has taken so far.
“Germany would have to reduce CO2 emissions a lot more. It hasn’t managed to do that in the past years, despite intensified expansion of renewables,” stated Ludwig Möhring, Managing Director of WINGAS, in front of numerous representatives from business, politics and the media. “To really protect the climate, we now need pragmatic solutions, such as clear CO2 reduction targets instead of only targets for expanding the use of renewable energies.”
In a panel discussion with Julia Verlinden (member of the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary party), Claudia Kemfert (German Institute for Economic Research, Berlin) and Klaus Müller (Executive Director of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations), Möhring affirmed the importance of the heat sector in protecting the climate. Up to now, policymakers have mainly discussed new buildings, yet they account for just one percent of residential properties. It was important to find technology-neutral, practical solutions for renovating existing buildings. It was necessary to examine on a case-by-case basis what is the cheapest and more climate-efficient solution for the specific property. Natural gas heating systems could make a major contribution here.
The WINGAS Managing Director also believes that electrification is not the sole solution for the transport sector. “Given that there are around 45 million registered cars in Germany, we need an approach that can quickly solve environmental and climate-related problems. Even with the most optimistic of forecasts, electromobility will not achieve that in the near future. That means clean combustion engines, such as those offered by natural gas technology, will still be required.”