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08 May 2019, 13:46
Julian Wettengel

Digitalisation vital for climate protection – German environment minister

Clean Energy Wire

Digitalisation has immense negative effects on the environment, but – steered in the right direction – it can create new opportunities for climate action and the global energy transition, says a new position paper by German environment minister Svenja Schulze. “We need a turnaround. Digitalisation needs rules, then it can become a driver of wealth, justice and the environment,” said Schulze, speaking in Berlin at re:publica, Germany’s largest internet and digital society conference. Her position paper lists ten theses, including a call for publicly available and transparent environmental data, environmentally-friendly digitalisation, and a systematic use of artificial intelligence for the good of the people and the environment. The paper names the Fridays For Future student climate protests as the most recent example of how participation and access to political decisions change through digital interconnectivity. Schulze aims to present an environment policy digital agenda by the end of 2019.

Information and communication technology is revolutionising Germany’s energy sector. The country needs a more flexible and efficient electricity system based on millions of wind and solar installations that can also power cars and heating. Digitalisation will be crucial for this next phase of Germany's energy transition, the Energiewende, because it offers enormous potential to speed up the decarbonisation but the shift will likely upend many existing business models and fuel concerns about data privacy and cyberattacks.

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