07 Mar 2022, 14:28
Benjamin Wehrmann

Environmental groups urge Germany to present binding plan to end gas use by 2040


Clean Energy Wire

Several environmental groups are calling on Germany’s government to quickly present “a binding phase-out path for fossil gas” by 2040 in order to enable the country’s complete decarbonisation and reduce reliance on Russia as a trade partner. In an open letter to Green climate and economy minister Robert Habeck, umbrella organisation DNR and others said the “epochal change” triggered by Russian president Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine has “put many things into question and reshuffles priorities.” The war must end as quickly as possible and measures to avert a climate breakdown go hand in hand with this, the groups said. “From a climate as well as a peacemaking policy perspective, ending the dependence on fossil fuel imports must become a priority,” they wrote. Diversification of supply routes can only be a short-term remedy, whereas more efforts in renewables expansion, energy efficiency and “an honest sufficiency-policy to maximise savings” had to be at the heart of a long-term solution.

“Natural gas is defined as a bridge technology in the coalition treaty. Unfortunately, a clear path to a fully renewables-based energy system beyond the power sector is lacking,” the letter stated. To avoid this leading to greenwashing and locking-in natural gas infrastructure, a plan for ending gas in the power and heating sector as well as in industry would be indispensable. The government should refrain from funding infrastructure such as the planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, and instead focus on hydrogen projects as well as making it a requirement for new gas projects to assess whether these could be replaced with renewable power sources, the NGOs said.

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