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Germany’s energy transition “biggest challenge since World War II”
How much should Germany’s “Energiewende,” a move towards ramping up renewable energy, cost? That question was the main sticking point at a lively debate on Wednesday between German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier (a member of the governing Christian Democratic Party) and the Green Party’s first state premier in Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann. The discussion at the Hertie School of Governance was part of an ongoing series of events called “Re:Thinking Tomorrow.” The events are co-organized by Deutsche Welle, which is also a media partner.
The energy transition which involves phasing out nuclear and fossil fuels has sparked huge international interest and remains a hot-button issue in the country. In an interview with Global Ideas, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said the transformation of Germany’s energy system “is the biggest challenge since the Second World War.” “It means a complete transformation of the backbone of Germany’s economy and business,” he added.
Altmaier went on to speak about the technical and financial challenges in scaling up renewables and phasing out nuclear energy as well as how Germany can build on its reputation as a pioneering power in green issues.
All about the German energy turnaround (Energiewende) – statement Peter Altmaier @ Hertie School from DW_Global Ideas on Vimeo.
Both Altmaier and Kretschmann are considered political heavyweights when it comes to climate and environmental issues, which made for some amusing and lively verbal exchanges. Kretschmann began by accusing Altmaier of unsettling voters. “People already mix up millions and billions,” he said, adding “and now you are talking about trillions!” That elicited quite a few laughs from the audience. A few weeks ago, Altmaier had said Germany’s energy transition would cost energy consumers up to one trillion Euros if certain measures weren’t taken such as putting brakes on electricity prices.
Both participants agreed that Germany’s energy transition has to be an ecological and economic success if it is to find wide acceptance both within Germany and beyond. Germany may only be responsible for three percent of the world’s CO2 emissions, they argued. But if it managed to successfully pull off its ambitious energy transition project and move towards a low-carbon economy, it could offer vital lessons for big polluters such as China. That’s why, they stressed, it remains important not to jeopardize the energy project.
Kretschmann said the energy transition had already led to green growth with jobs and opportunities generated in the renewables sector. To keep things this way, Environment Minister Altmaier said brakes had to be put on electricity prices. The turnaround has to stay affordable for everyone, he added.
Kretschmann underlined the positive effects of the energy turnaround in the future. In the long run, consumers will pay less for electricity, Kretschmann argued, saying “the sun, after all, doesn’t send you any bills.”
DateMarch 14, 2013
Tagsaltmaier, baden württemberg, berlin, discussion, energiewende, energy task, energy transition, energy turnaround, forum, Germany, green party, hertie school, kretschmann, stuttgart
Brazil’s new forest law
As the world tries to find ways the reduce global emission in Durban, Eco, a publication of Climate Action Network CAN at COP17, is reporting on Brazils plans of igniting a real carbon bomb. A bill to change the country’s Forest Law is supposedly about to be approved, resulting in the increase of deforestation. The proposed bill, they say, will be sent to President Dilma Roussef for final cinsideration in coming weeks. One of the foreseeable consequences is that an area almost the size of France and Great Britain combined will loose legal protection, according to estimates presented by the Brazilian government itself. Since Brazil will be hosting the Rio+20 con fence next year, the situation is even more delicate.
In the corridors at Durban, these developments are causing considerable consternation. It is expected that Brazil President Dilma Roussef will send a clear message to the world that the country will meet all commitments announced previously in fighting climate change and protecting the Brazil forest.
DateNovember 30, 2011
TagsBrazil, CAN, carbon, climate, climate action network, cop17, Durban, forest, forum, South Africa, world climate conference
Fossil of the Day Award
It’s been a bad day for Canada at the COP17 yesterday – since it’s been awarded the first Fossil of the Day Award in Durban. The Climate Action Network, a worldwide network of roughly 500 Non-Governmental Organizations, said there were credible reports saying that before the end of the year, Canada is going to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. Canada even won second place following statements by their environment minister, who said, that Canada came to Durban “to play hardball” with the developing countries. The 3rd place fossil of the day had been awarded to the UK, following revelations “that UK ministers have done a deal with the Canadian government to support the entry of tar sand into the European fuel supply chain”.
The Fossil of the Day award were first presented at the climate talks in 1999 in Berlin, initiated by the German NGO Forum.
DateNovember 29, 2011