15 Apr 2021, 14:03
Sören Amelang

Germany's natural gas infrastructure plans violate Paris Agreement – report


Germany will violate its Paris Climate Agreement obligations if it sticks to current infrastructure plans for natural gas, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) has warned. The researchers say the country must rapidly exit the fossil fuel, instead of continuing its plans for new natural gas power stations, import terminals and the pipeline project Nord Stream 2. The authors, which also include researchers from Berlin's technical university, environmental NGO Climate Action Germany (DUH) and a consultancy, also question current demand forecasts and investment incentives. As an example, they cite support for combined heat and power plants running on natural gas, which prevents the use of renewable energies in district heating systems.    

The researchers say natural gas should not be considered a "bridging technology" on the way to climate neutrality. "When it comes to natural gas we are approaching a scenario similar to coal, which was also once considered a bridging technology," the DIW's Claudia Kemfert told newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. She added that new investments will push up the costs of a fossil fuel phase-out: "Gas infrastructures run the risk of high compensation payments, similar to coal, and corrections will be expensive for the taxpayer." She also said current plans for the construction of import terminals were based on outdated and exaggerated demand forecasts that would turn them into stranded assets. 

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