29 Jun 2023, 12:38
Sören Amelang

Gas industry welcomes Germany’s compromise on phasing out fossil fuel heating

Welt / Clean Energy Wire / Zeit / taz

Germany’s gas industry has welcomed the coalition government’s compromise on the transition to climate-friendly heating, while some media commentators and environmental NGOs warned the agreement could actually delay emissions reductions instead of speeding them up. "Hydrogen and green gases will be fixed components of the future heating market," Gerald Linke, head of gas and water industry association DVGW, told newspaper die Welt. The agreement allows the continued operation of gas boilers if they use 15 percent biogas from 2029, 30 percent from 2035, and 60 percent from 2040, which DVGW called “a strong sign that the value of the grids for supply security have been recognised and that there is no way around technology openness." Industry association BDI also said the compromise “opens up the required breadth of solutions on the way to a climate-neutral building sector,” as it also allows “renewable solid, liquid and gaseous fuels without discriminatory requirements.”

Environmentalists have called hydrogen and so-called green gasses “sham solutions” that delay effective climate action. Environmental Action Germany (DUH) said the compromise showed that “the gas lobby obviously continues to succeed in brutally sabotaging the heating transition.” Some media commentators were also highly critical of the compromise. Petra Pinzler wrote in a commentary for Zeit that the agreement “is an impressive victory for the gas industry, whose business will probably be secured for many more years to come […] their lobby has obviously succeeded in ensuring that gas can be burned for much longer than originally planned.” She added the compromise could actually delay the transition to climate-friendly heating because it creates “maximum confusion” among citizens. In a commentary for newspaper taz, Jasmin Kalarickal called the reforms a “communication disaster” that unsettled citizens and undermined their trust in politics.

Germany’s three ruling parties finalised a deal on a controversial heating law to phase out gas and oil heating, which allows the installation of “hydrogen-ready” gas boilers if they run on an increasing share of biogas.

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