War-fuelled energy crisis must not erode climate action – govt advisor
Climate action must not be eroded as governments focus on Russia’s war against Ukraine and its effects on the economy, the head of Germany’s environment agency (UBA), Dirk Messner, told news group Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland in an interview. “It will be a Herculean task for the government to maintain the high level of investment in climate protection,” said Messner. He added that the country would likely use more coal to replace gas in power stations in the short term, but that it was important not to change climate targets. As technologies are “mature and cheap,” Germany is in a good position to progress with the energy transition and become less dependent on Russian fossil fuels at the same time. “If a war situation had caught us ten years ago, we would have gone back to fossil fuels even more massively and seen even higher electricity prices,” said Messner. The UBA head criticised the government’s decision to subsidise diesel and petrol as prices had risen in recent months, and instead spoke out in favour of stricter speed limits and slightly lower room temperatures to save energy and money.
The outbreak of war in Ukraine has reshaped the energy transition debate, as the country aims to end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels and grapples with rising energy prices. The government coalition sees the move to renewables as a key solution to the crisis and ministers say it can and should happen much faster in light of the war.