Science Platform for Climate Protection submits report to German government

02/18/2022 - Today, the Science Platform on Climate Protection' delivered its first annual report to the German government. Sabine Schlacke, Director of the Institute for Energy, Environmental and Maritime Law at the University of Greifswald, and economist Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, presented the group's insights at the Federal Press Conference. Their recommendations were well received by Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger and the State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate, Patrick Graichen.
Science Platform for Climate Protection submits report to German government
Presenting the experts' report at the Federal Press Conference. From left: Economist Ottmar Edenhofer/Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, State Secretary Patrick Graichen from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate, Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger, and law scholar Sabine Schlacke/Greifswald University. Photo: WPKS
"The Policy measures so far presented by the German government point into the right direction. However, they're unfortunately not sufficient to achieve the climate targets set by the policy-makers," said Sabine Schlacke. "For one thing, the policies are patchy. For example, more needs to happen in agriculture and forestry. Wherever land-use practices  result in carbon sinks, hence binding greenhouse gases for example by growing forests or by wetland preserving and careful agriculture, this should be rewarded financially. Wherever greenhouse gases are released, like maybe in livestock production or land clearing, polluters should pay."

"Second, and just as important, the federal government's climate policy has a problem in getting accepted. Citizens therefore should not be treated as objects but as subjects of change," said Schlacke. "We must aim at not changing their lives, but at supporting them in changing their lives themselves. Citizens must be mobilized as 'prosumers' with regard to climate mitigation measures, as is done by installing solar systems. Local energy cooperatives must also be encouraged, as well as small businesses, cities and towns, to make them winners of the transformation as well. This is not easy. Yet it is only together that we can achieve the climate turnaround."

Edenhofer: first, pricing CO2 emissions; second, importing clean energy; third, carbon capture and storage

"The new German government must now take bold steps to achieve its goal of greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045," Edenhofer said. "First, we need a credible CO2 price in Germany and in Europe. This could relieve low-income households when energy costs rise, because with the revenue there is money for social compensation. If Germany wants to achieve its climate targets, it must also help succeed the additional second European emissions trading scheme which aims at expanding CO2 pricing from the energy sector and industry to transport and heat for buildings."

"Second, Germany needs imports of clean energy, especially hydrogen, and a plan and infrastructure for this," Edenhofer said. "Third, the long-despised issue of CO2 removal from the air and underground storage needs to be addressed. We need this to bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 while there will be residual emissions from for example agriculture, both in Germany and worldwide. That's the only way we'll get a grip on climate risks."


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