Researchers from Ariadne, a government-funded network of more than 25 research institutes, assert that Germany can simultaneously pursue significant climate action and strive for long-term energy sovereignty as it seeks a solution to its present energy issue. Energy saving is crucial to this, especially in the short term, they noted. In the years to come, the researchers predict that Germany will have access to around 600 terawatt hours (TWh) of gas per year through imports from dependable suppliers and local production. That implies a 30% reduction in consumption from the years prior to the crisis. The researchers asserted that the theoretical savings potential for gas in the relevant sectors is considerable in theory, despite the fact that Germany needs a “strong rebound” in the building and energy sectors to ensure that it is really utilized.
The researchers stated that reducing gas consumption by 250 TWh would result in a decrease of CO2 of 50 million tonnes per year compared to the average for the years of 2017 through 2021, citing the climate targets. While switching to coal or heating oil is associated with some of the gas reduction, the additional emissions that occur are capped by the European emissions trading mechanism (EU ETS). Naturally, efforts to weaken the ETS should be discontinued in light of this. Ottmar Edenhofer, head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), stated that maintaining the ETS’s integrity will be one of the main concerns of the upcoming weeks and months.
The researchers cautioned that the present gas supply issue could lead to an excess in a few years, as market participants are increasing production in response to the shortage. Gunnar Luderer, leader of the Energy Systems Group at the PIK, stated, “In the second part of this decade, we must avoid a scenario in which decreased gas prices force an oversupply to find demand on the market due to insufficient climate policy.” He stated that, on the medium to long term, a strong climate policy remains important.