Expert survey on the German Energiewende: Mapping the targets

05/19/2014 - The targets of the German Energiewende are much debated. For the first time, scientists published a comprehensive mapping of these targets – from climate change mitigation to energy security and the creation of jobs. The analysis is based on anonymized interviews with 54 high-ranking experts from policy, business and science. 80 percent of them say that emissions reduction is the highest priority – but there is a bulk of additional and contradictory targets.
Expert survey on the German Energiewende: Mapping the targets

“There seems to be no clarity about the targets of the Energiewende,” says author Fabian Joas, a political scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Resarch (PIK) and at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC). While most interviewees consider climate change mitigation to be the most important target, the majority of them pursues targets which are well beyond the classical energy policy triangle. So it is surprising that at the same time, two thirds of the interviewees said that the Energiewende would be worthwhile achieving even if climate change would not exist.

“This finding is not necessarily good news for climate change mitigation,” says Michael Pahle, another author of the study. In fact this shows that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not the primary target but just one of many. Yet without a clear prioritization, the European emissions trading might not get the necessary public support. Subsidizing renewables, currently the main instrument of the Energiewende, in this regard is no alternative. The authors conclude that “a pluralistic Energiewende with many targets” and “a strategic Energiewende that advances ambitious climate change mitigation” are hardly compatible.


Article (in German): Joas, F., Pahle, M., Flachsland, C. (2014): Die Ziele der Energiewende: Eine Kartierung der Prioritäten. Ifo Schnelldienst 67 (09), 06-11

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