German scientists are pushing for greater political efforts for an energy transition. "The critical time at which Germany and Europe can create the conditions for achieving the Paris climate goals will soon have passed," says a discussion paper published on Monday by the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in Halle. Scientists such as the climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer and Veronika Grimm, who is one of the five economic wise men, recommend open-technology strategies that create incentives for investments.
"The need for action is great and urgent," says the paper: "It is now important to significantly intensify and expand efforts and to create the conditions for a successful transformation through consistent decisions at national and European level."
A future energy system based on renewable energies will rely to a large extent on electricity, the experts write. Because the energy yield from sun, wind and water fluctuates and storage technologies have only had limited capacities so far, material energy carriers have to play a central role, especially hydrogen. For a transitional period, however, the energy supply would have to be based on natural gas for a longer period of time.
The discussion paper is entitled "Don't miss the critical point in time". According to the news magazine "Spiegel", its publication was originally planned for a research summit at the end of the month. It was brought forward in order to reach those responsible in the federal government at their closed meeting, which was to end on Monday afternoon at Meseberg Castle near Berlin.
Above all, the scientists consider clarifying the framework conditions for investments and their reliability to be of central importance. At the same time, they believe that incentives and specifications should lead to more efficient energy use. A broad social participation and discussion process is also an important prerequisite for the success of the energy transition, the authors write in the foreword to their paper.
They recommend involving all scientific disciplines in the transformation of the energy system, including economic, social, behavioral and political science. In the technical sciences, the organization of the interface between research and industrial use is of crucial importance.
From the point of view of the authors, the second phase of climate policy must begin with a drastic reduction in emissions parallel to the first phase. In this second phase, unavoidable emissions would be removed from the atmosphere. Sufficient incentives for innovation would have to be created, and a framework at European Union (EU) level would be needed for the certification of the technologies.
Instead of protectionist elements, cooperation within the EU and with third countries should be intensified. "The priority of climate policy should be the accelerated expansion of European emissions trading into a uniform, transparent, long-term sustainable control framework that encompasses all emissions," says the paper.
"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, among others, or directly via RSS feed.