High tech against climate change

First reactions to the 3rd Partial Report of the IPCC

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The most massive impacts of climate change can still be avoided this is the conclusion of the third partial report of the IPCC. The effective climate protection by a global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions even seems affordable and economically sound. According to the UN report, energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and the capture and storage of carbon are crucial. Nuclear energy, on the other hand, plays a lesser role.


The current UN climate report makes it clear that climate protection is feasible. Inaction we can not afford! The price would be many times higher than it is a wise investment in climate protection, "Federal Research Minister Annette Schavan commented on the IPCC report, which was presented Friday in Bangkok. "For this, we need research and the right technologies that effectively reduce the emission of climate-damaging gases in the crucial areas of our everyday lives and the economy." The UN climate report identifies energy supply, transport, buildings, industry, agriculture, forestry and waste management as key sectors.

High-tech strategies as a solution

"At the Climate Research Summit in Hamburg, we took the right steps to bring together partners from business and science who can develop and implement green technologies. We have started a binding process that will culminate in a high-tech strategy for climate protection by the autumn, "explained Schavan. Representatives from science and industry have identified concrete technologies.

These include, for example, photovoltaics, CO2 capture and storage at power plants with fossil fuels, low-emission manufacturing processes of material management, artificial photosynthesis, thermal insulation in buildings, new drive technologies and energy storage for motor vehicles. Germany already plays a pioneering role in the development of environmentally friendly products, services and processes. With the high-tech strategy, the Federal Ministry of Research intends to further strengthen this role and make German technology an export hit in these areas. display

Necessary - and affordable

Several international studies have shown that the necessary steps to limit global warming would cost less than one percent of the global gross national product. As the most conservative estimate, the IPCC claims costs of three percent. "Even under the more pessimistic assumption, the economic costs of climate protection are still sustainable, " explains Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

The cost estimates of the IPCC are essentially based on a relevant study by the Potsdam Institute. The new UN report cites the work of the research group led by Edenhofer when he emphasizes that with an active climate protection policy, the economic costs of climate protection sink, as it stimulates technological change and thus makes it cheaper. "In order to meet the 2-degree target, we only expect climate protection costs of one percent of the world's social product. That would mean that economic growth will be delayed by only about three months by 2030, "says Ottmar Edenhofer.

Nuclear energy: only slight increase expected

Renewable energy could already account for 30 to 35 percent of global electricity supply by 2030, and could be upgraded, according to the study by the IPCC. At the same time, natural gas could be used instead of coal ("fuel switch") to further reduce CO2 emissions. A much smaller role in the solution strategies played by nuclear energy, which was discussed in detail for the first time in the Climate Council. Although the IPCC expects that more nuclear power plants will be built in the coming decades. However, according to the report, their contribution to global electricity production is expected to increase to a maximum of 18 percent from today's 16 percent. This also applies to the assumption that it will cost € 50 / t CO2 eq. should come - today's price is 1 euro.

(BMBF, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, 07.05.2007 - AHE)