Claus P. Baumeister: List of Demands Energy Transition & Climate Protection

A new contribution to the Curator Channel. Today by EUROSOLAR curator Claus P. Baumeister.

EU Taxonomy
The German government has unfortunately failed to put up adequate resistance to the factually nonsensical, purely economically motivated declaration of NPPs and gas as “sustainable” in the EU taxonomy, perhaps also because the previous government, which agreed in individual members, negotiated the NPP-versus-gas deal with France. Now the only way is to stop it via ECJ action (as Austria is seeking) or a majority of common sense in the EU Parliament. We should work on this, all sections.
Even though it should be common knowledge: Gas is hardly less harmful to the climate than coal because of the undesirable methane emissions during extraction, transport and compression, and it increases dependence, especially on Russia. However, fracking gas by tanker from the USA or Qatar is not really an alternative either. We must therefore not consume more gas, even in the transformation phase, both in terms of climate protection and for geopolitical reasons. The long overdue rejection of Nord Stream 2 is now finally included in the sanctions package against Russia and the “dismantling” of the Gazprom-Putin-Schröder-Schwesig connection perhaps begins with the dissolution of the unspeakable lobby “foundation”, which was to be financed by Gazprom with a MV-Landesalibian share of 200 T€ with 20 plus announced 40 million €.

By the way: German gas storage facilities, which are supposed to guarantee reliability, were not owned by Gazprom even before the Ukraine invasion. And in times of extreme price increases and supply uncertainties, it stands to reason that business and some politicians immediately call for state support and question investments in the energy transition. This has to be described as completely perverse. Right now, massive investments in RE would be in order to free ourselves from the “stranglehold” of Putin’s Russia. If we had reacted adequately in the oil crisis of 1971, the energy transition would have been completed long ago.

Nuclear power plants are by no means climate-neutral and not really controllable, they leave behind dangerous contaminated sites and are far too expensive. A GW of PV power can be bought today for well under a billion euros (wind power is even cheaper). A nuclear power plant costs – with a strongly increasing tendency already during the long construction times – several billions during construction, a multiple of it during dismantling and incalculable much during accidents and the “eternity costs” of the long-term disposal.

Hydrogen economy
The dreams of a hydrogen economy must be grounded. H2 is not a primary energy and leaves so many losses when produced by electrolysis (and only this comes into question for green hydrogen) as well as reconversion (e.g. by fuel cell) that the overall efficiency falls close to 20%. Therefore H2 is definitely no alternative to direct electricity use with efficiencies above 90%, wherever this is possible, e.g. definitely in passenger road transport and for heat generation, ideally by heat pump. Conversely, H2 must be reserved directly or indirectly (Power2X, synthetic fuels) exclusively for those applications that cannot be electrified in the medium to long term, e.g. aviation and chemical/steel industry, but not for inefficient fuel cell passenger cars (with the need for an additional resource- and cost-intensive H2 filling station network).

It can be concluded that H2 should be generated exclusively with (temporary) excess electricity from RE plants before 100% RE supply. And viewed vice versa: Excess amounts from PV or wind power that cannot be stored battery-electrically (storage and cascaded load management are the key to the energy transition) must basically be prevented or converted into H2, heat or other energy sources by adequate load management and dynamically connectable or controllable loads at each level (low voltage in the domestic grid, medium voltage in the regional distribution grid and high voltage in the transmission grid). The smart meter gateway-controlled balancing of RE plants, which is practiced today and is even increasingly envisaged for the future, is absolutely absurd in terms of energy policy, generates idle costs and is frustrating for plant operators and completely non-transparent for small PV plants.

Electricity market, PV and EEG
Something is fundamentally wrong when even representatives of renewable energies use the terminology of their opponents. One example is the BEE study “New Electricity Market Design for the Integration of Fluctuating Renewable Energies”, which has two cardinal errors in its title: The term “fluctuating” is used here as the opponents’ “killer argument”. This negative characteristic would be largely eliminated with consistent use of storage (no plant without storage!). And why do renewables have to be integrated into the electricity market design? At the moment they supply about half and by 2030 they are supposed to be 80% of the electricity generation. Doesn’t it rather have to be: What does a RE electricity market look like and how can conventional energy sources be temporarily integrated into it? Hopefully not with a separate “Conventional Energies Act”, but in an integrated Energy Industry Act that maps the deviations at the relevant points. This would be particularly easy to do if the regulatory framework were suitably decluttered and small private plants were almost completely exempted.

At the moment, everyone is talking about “unaffordable” energy costs. For whom? Hardly for everyone, but for citizens living at the subsistence level. It is imperative to help them, but not in the form of subsidized or EEG- and CO2-tax-free energy, but in general in the face of galloping inflation. After all, energy prices themselves should have a steering effect, i.e. they should also encourage financially weak consumers to save. Completely counterproductive here are also reductions or abolition of electricity tax and/or value added tax on energy, from which consumption-intensive wealthy as well as enterprises would profit again much more than needy families. The allegedly beleaguered industry should also save energy or generate renewable energy itself and not just complain about rising costs.

The EEG urgently needs a fundamental amendment or better its abolition and integration of the ballast-free regulations into the EnWG. The abolition of the EEG surcharge is not sufficient by far and is not feasible due to millions of existing contracts. At best, it would be possible to shift the burden of financing from the electricity consumer to the taxpayer. This makes no sense at all in terms of energy and climate policy, but only serves to reduce the cost of electricity for populist reasons, which will presumably end up in the pockets of the energy companies because it is not passed on. In any case, energy costs are not suitable as an instrument for social compensation or for establishing corporate competitiveness. There are truly more suitable methods for that. If energy costs are lowered or capped in a targeted manner, it would be possible to dispense with their deliberate increase in price, e.g. through CO2 pricing.

Conversely, we experience the curiosity that RE plants are also burdened with an EEG levy. After all, the levy is intended to promote RE plants. What sense it then makes to charge them for their own promotion remains the secret of the legislator. Of course, conventional energy would otherwise become more expensive, but this is exactly the desired incentive effect. It would then be – and already is – counterproductive to ease the burden on large industrial consumers. Competitiveness must be achieved in other ways. There are many proposals for this – including imposing tariffs on “dirty” energy-intensive cheap imported goods (e.g. steel, aluminum, etc.). In times of urgently needed climate protection, free world trade cannot mean that the worst supplier defines the bar.

It is of no use to rid the EEG of some of the deformations of the last decade, to change and add paragraphs, and to further complicate the law with additional, sometimes completely illogical exemption conditions. The distinction between ground-mounted (in the home garden, as agri-PV etc. perhaps without further sealing of the surface), rooftop or in-roof systems alone is just as absurd as that of own consumption or tenant electricity.

Even with the hopefully uncapped future expansion of PV, there are serious doubts as to whether the envisaged measures will have the desired effect. After all, we are not talking about a few percent increase here, but at least a tripling. Can the buttery-soft solar roof obligation for new commercial buildings and the “should” regulation for new private buildings turn things around here? Apart from the “obligation”, which can be interpreted generously, with what already feels like countless exceptions, the existing buildings are left by the wayside. Much more would be possible here with retrofitting.

To unleash PV, small private systems must be freed from all unnecessary formal and financial burdens. This is because they deter many private investors from investing in their own PV, despite technical and economic feasibility. A PV system must be as easy to procure as a new refrigerator or washing machine. The in-house grid and the DC side of PV is purely a private matter, from which the state and grid operators have to keep out – regardless of who consumes the in-house electricity (owner or tenant). In any case, small private systems with storage will lead the PV addition calculations ad absurdum, because generation and consumption, including sector-coupled heat and mobility, will become more and more intermixed at the prosumer and ultimately only appear externally as a reduction in consumption. In this respect, the MStR of the BNetzA also becomes obsolete, because it only reflects the generation side of the prosumers.

It is time to have the constitutionality of the factually unjustifiable encroachment on private property and the violation of the principle of equal treatment (e.g. in comparison to solar thermal energy) reviewed. Legislators and grid operators are only interested in “what comes out at the end”, i.e. the maximum feed-in power at the transfer point to the public grid and the remuneration, however designed, for the generally available RE surplus of the object. The ultimate goal is always the most efficient, grid-compliant and administratively minimized use of self-generated electricity in the private domestic grid. It does not matter whether the electricity is used by the owner of the facility itself, by tenants, or by the raccoons living in the attic. If the owner sells it, he should pay tax on it as income tax or rental income. That’s it.

Otherwise, a private PV system has no tax relevance, but is a climate-friendly “hobby” like your own vegetable garden – and not only by opting 5 years after commissioning. The initial claiming of an entrepreneur status with business registration, pre-tax and sales tax declarations etc. is pure occupational therapy for plant operators, tax offices and tax advisors, who eat a considerable part of the revenue early. It is downright ridiculous to make such an effort when, for example, a 10 kWp system with high self-consumption can barely generate 3,000 €/yr.

While this is “peanuts” in absolute terms, a small private PV system can achieve returns that are hard to top at present for similarly safe investments. Even with less than 20% self-consumption, which can easily be driven to well over 50% with sector coupling of heat and e-mobility, and even over 90% with storage, and e.g. 5 ¢ minimum feed-in tariff, a PV system practically finances itself. Therefore, a new plant does not need any subsidies anymore. And if one wants to stimulate the expansion, one should consider a purchase subsidy as an effective start-up subsidy (this is also possible for electric vehicles, heat pumps, etc.), instead of determining an appropriate remuneration for the electricity yield over two decades from “the crystal ball” and thus regularly under- or rather over-subsidizing without triggering an initial purchase incentive.

Energy sources wind power, biogas and wood
In the case of wind power, any (not only the completely abstruse Bavarian 10H rule) rigid distance rule must be dropped and replaced by relevant physical parameters (freedom from cast shadows and dbA limits taking into account topography and main wind direction at nearby residential quarters), as well as excessively lavishly dimensioned distances to military and air traffic safety installations must be reduced. Sensory protection from bird strikes is always possible. Environmental regulations, which are currently being instrumentalized by the eternal naysayers more against the environment, are to be completely revised and expert costs as exorbitant upfront investments to be socialized or reversal of evidence to be introduced. Plaintiffs would then have to prove a relevant harmfulness of a plant, not plant builders through 100 expert opinions their harmlessness. This is the only way to realize reasonable investment risks and planning times of less than 1-2 years. In any case, the arbitrary confrontation between wind power and nature conservation must be resolved. Wind power as RE is an implicit contribution to environmental and species protection.

Changes to new plants according to the technical state of the art during the planning and approval phase may only lead to the forfeiture of the approval if the changes would be demonstrably relevant to it. This also applies in particular to the repowering of old plants, which should not be hindered under any circumstances, but explicitly promoted.

Certainly unpopular, but nevertheless correct: If necessary, small settlements of up to n (?) houses must also make way for a planned wind farm site and their owners must be compensated. After all, it was and unfortunately still is possible to sacrifice entire villages to dirty open-cast lignite mining.

Biogas has the advantage of acting as a grid-serving flexibility and (coupled) generating process and/or local heat for housing estates. The capacity can be drastically increased in the short term through the wider use of biowaste and the surplus liquid manure produced in agriculture, even without planting more corn monocultures for this purpose. However, the heat component must not be overestimated or even lead to coercive measures. It makes no sense to force a new housing development to have a local heating connection. Only houses with a high energy standard (primarily passive houses) should be built there, whose heat demand is so low that a local heating supply would not be feasible at all, both ecologically and economically.

According to EU law and the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), burning wood is considered CO2-neutral and therefore worthy of support. Even “ecologists” see it that way. They also still believe in Santa Claus on the reindeer sleigh (although he has been driving a snowmobile for a long time). Double CO2 emissions per kWh compared to fossil natural gas, by no means CO2-neutral harvesting and processing, and massive pollutant emissions. Private fireplaces and wood heaters alone emit more particulate matter than the entire car traffic. And now energy companies like Vattenfall and RWE are coming up with the brilliant idea of exploiting the wood-burning subsidies on a somewhat larger scale by converting entire power plants to wood fuel. There is plenty of it in the climate-damaged forests and in huge monocultures with poplar or Miscantus energy plants – isn’t there?

There is an urgent need for action both in Germany and at the EU level with regard to the completely wrong approach to the “digitization of the energy transition”, which is being driven forward without sense or reason by corresponding EU regulations and the German law of the same name from 2016. It enforces lobbying interests of utilities, grid operators and metering industry, disadvantages prosumers in particular by interfering with private property, unjustified deregulation, profiling data collections and higher costs for smart meters, metering point operation, more elaborate meter cabinets, etc.. Ultimately, the approach of wanting to control everything centrally will fail completely in realitas with millions of installations and make the grids vulnerable.

Conversely, resilient networks can only be realized through maximum decentralization. But grid operators only want to do this with regard to private investments in decentralized plants without losing control. That’s why the path currently being taken leads to a recentralization of the power supply through the back door of digitization. There will be a rude awakening in a few years.

The shutdown of small decentralized plants makes no sense at all as long as there is a shortage of renewable energy. Instead, excess quantities must be stored in the best possible way (no more PV without storage!), absorbed by fast-switching loads (“flexibilities”) or converted into H2 or heat. Load management must be done locally by building control systems and only then in the district or distribution network of the municipal utilities with metering and large-scale storage from the last transformer from 10,000V medium to 400V low voltage. The goal must always be consumption as close to the consumer as possible or, better, generation as close to the consumer as possible.

Counterproductive are also the virtual power plants “shooting out of the ground”, which are purely economically motivated, but generate a huge technical and administrative control overhead and additionally burden distribution and transmission networks, if e.g. a producer in Hamburg sells to a consumer in Munich. Also, the resulting volatile prices create an unreasonable effort in metering and billing as well as intransparency (because only algorhitmically, but no longer comprehensible by the prosumer) to achieve small price advantages of a few €¢ at a davongalloping electricity price beyond 30 ¢/kWh. In addition, the trend, not only in Internet and communications, is moving in exactly the opposite direction toward flat rates. No one wants to deal with complicated and difficult to understand individual bills anymore.

So: the 2016 law and the smart meter rollout that has been underway since 2020 are not a contribution to the energy transition, but a gigantic stimulus program for industry with millions of new “smart” meters and gateways, as well as an invitation to data-driven business models by network operators and third-party users. It completely disenfranchises prosumers, ensures a recentralization of the decentralized energy transition through the backdoor of digitization, creates absolutely vulnerable networks through IoT networking of everything with everything and AI-supported BigData handling, which no one can really want.

Digitization is not an end in itself, and to that extent a law for that purpose is completely obsolete. It is a tool with which system components in a building can interact meaningfully and design local load management (via BMS) with grid-serving minimized volatility at the transfer point to the public distribution grid. Expensive expansion of the distribution and transmission grids thus becomes largely unnecessary. Consequently, the law is not only superfluous, but downright counterproductive. The smart meter obligation, which is also highly questionable in terms of data protection, must be repealed immediately.

Further comments on the digitization of the energy transition follow. With regard to the pressure of digitization in general, it should be noted that in practice it often leads to useless quick fixes that no longer reveal any advantage, but – contrary to all euphemistic “promises of salvation” – in any case to more energy consumption. Here, too, all efficiency gains of ICT and CE hardware are cancelled out by more intensive use and ever higher access frequencies, data volumes and bandwidths.

The share of buildings in total energy demand and CO2 emissions is highly relevant at almost 30%. At the same time, the necessary reduction is proceeding extremely slowly because – as in other sectors – efficiency gains are overcompensated by increasing numbers and floor areas per person, too little and too faulty refurbishment is being carried out, and new buildings are already in need of energy refurbishment when they are occupied. This in turn is due on the one hand to still inadequate building standards, including their regular undercutting in actual execution (only planning data with no control), and on the other hand to inappropriate subsidies for buildings and heating systems, e.g. when replacing an oil heating system with a gas boiler that is also fossil-fuelled.

Now BMWi and Climate Minister Habeck has at least cashed in on the KfW “efficiency house” subsidy (even if he has rowed back a little after protests from the construction industry) – unfortunately not out of insight into the misguided subsidies, but because of empty subsidy pots and because buildings are largely built according to KfW55 anyway. The former sends the wrong signal, and in the case of the latter, the wish is the father of the thought. That believes namely only someone, which never entered a building site. This standard does not even apply to the majority of building applications, which are often glossed over, and certainly not to the construction work, the energy performance of which no one really checks in realitas (the energy certificate is a farce).

The only building standard worthy of support would be the passive house standard, which has been consistently defined in technical and physical terms for more than three decades and has now been more than adequately tested in practice, with thermal-bridge-free insulation of the outer skin, including triple-glazed windows with noble gas insulation to minimize transmission heat losses, and tight design with mechanical ventilation, including heat recovery, to minimize ventilation heat losses. In addition, generous glazing is limited to the southeast to southwest façade as far as possible, whose passive solar yield, together with waste heat from people and technology, ensures largely passive coverage of the minimized heat demand. Hence the name Passive House (PH).

The juxtaposition of the so-called active house standard by some prominent “solar” architects is gross nonsense. The PH is about minimizing the heat loss in such a way that the active components (PV system, BMS, load management, etc.), which also make sense here, enable the best possible supply of the monovalently powered building along with sector coupling (mobility). Instead of wasting the possibly self-generated electricity for heat generation, excess quantities should be used on site, stored, converted, made available to neighbors or to the distribution grid. So it makes no sense to turn a poorly insulated new building (other than retrofits) into a nominal plus-energy house with just sheer PV size. What is the use of a solar obligation if, for example, a 10-kWp PV with a yield of about 10 MWh/a exclusively compensates for 10 MWh/a of nonsensical thermal consumption in terms of the balance sheet? We no longer have the choice of either-or, but have to turn all the screws at the same time.

Competent planning keeps the additional costs of a PH well below 5%. For many new buildings, this corresponds almost exactly to the KfW55 subsidy, which would be more sensibly invested in PH in order to finally implement climate-friendly construction. However, the general price increases of construction and especially land costs in recent years amount to a multiple of this. Has this prevented anyone, with low interest rates, from building and treating themselves to a luxurious bathroom and a prestigious kitchen instead of energy efficiency?

So, make solar building in development plans possible in principle, promote passive houses or even prescribe, in addition a PV system without bureaucracy, but necessarily with storage (for self-consumption optimization with grid-serving reduction of volatility), residual heat coverage and hot water monovalent with electricity by (preferably geothermal) heat pump, efficient LED lighting, systems and household appliances. In addition, doing away with architecture with unfavorable O/V ratios as well as tilt-up windows (otherwise you will never get rid of this nonsensical ventilation method) and many small optimizations could lead to truly efficient buildings and thus a relevant contribution to energy transition and climate protection. The icing on the cake is a building control system with building automation for demand-based and load management for generation-compatible control of all consumers.

This sector has contributed even less than buildings to energy demand and CO2 reduction. Unfortunately, it does not look as if this will change significantly under the current regulations and those planned for the near future.

Rail expansion and reactivation of disused lines, public transport and bicycle infrastructure continue to languish, and supposedly climate-friendly alternatives to the car are increasingly proving to be a burden, because e-bikes and e-scooters, for example, which also contribute to urban littering, are mainly used for fun instead of replacing the car for short-distance functional trips. In the process, they consume additional electrical energy, much of which is still obtained from the general electricity mix with a high fossil content.
When it comes to the “sacred” subject of cars, everything is unfortunately going wrong – at least for the climate, but not for the profits of the corporations and dividends of the stakeholders, which are currently only being held back by chip shortages, supply chain problems and geopolitical upheavals. In the meantime, the focus is on e-drives, but they continue to build all the nonsense that they have already put on the road with internal combustion engines. Hardly any e-car looks like one (filigree with different proportions and better size-use ratio), but continues the “arms race” of the burners electrically. The cars are getting bigger from generation to generation, at least up to mid-range (otherwise they don’t fit into the infrastructure), appear mostly as superfluously high and heavy SUVs and are oversized motorized. Below 300 kW (for e-cars, the long-dead unit of horsepower should finally be buried), one can hardly keep up in terms of power. Consumption in kWh is incomprehensible or even irrelevant to most people, at least as long as the over-subsidy of about 10,000 € compensates for the manufacturers’ lunar prices and the savings are communicated as a positive feature of their products (“environmental bonus”).

Politicians are pushing the transformation to e-mobility, but have so far failed to ensure that it is covered by “green” electricity and that all owners use it alone. Instead, it overpromotes e-cars and even subsidizes plug-in hybrids with token e-drives, which are predominantly driven as internal combustion engines, exposing the manufacturers’ embellished mixed consumption figures as fakes. What sense does it make to discuss a short-term combustion engine ban and at the same time to promote such still until 2025 with almost 7,000 € from tax funds. Subsidizing the automotive industry and its suppliers for the preservation of “dead” jobs, while at the same time qualified skilled workers are lacking in solar and wind power, by the way, is not only ecological but also economic nonsense.

The continuing misguided subsidies for diesel fuel, the (increased) commuter allowance and the company car privilege are not even worth mentioning. On top of all the misguided regulation, the only thing left to do is to reduce energy taxes in order to avoid any steering effect in the direction of energy transition and climate protection, thereby damaging the common good and frittering away public funds instead of making savings for meaningful transformation contributions.

Nobody likes to eliminate the over-subsidization of domestic wallboxes either. These are – even thanks to subsidies – far too expensive, in most cases superfluous, and with high charging power neither battery-saving nor grid-serving. In everyday short-distance traffic, a few kWh need to be replenished in the e-car’s storage unit every day or even every week. This can easily be done overnight or during the day at the workplace with a normal single-phase socket at 10 A with about 2 kW charging power.

But it gets even worse with the missed traffic turnaround. Not even a general speed limit applicable in all civilized countries (here perhaps to a moderate 130 km/h) is being considered. This is the responsibility of the “free-for-all” party in the coalition. It can only be seen as shameful that this simple and free regulation with many positive side effects beyond climate protection (reduction of serious accidents and the forest of signs as well as better traffic flows and less congestion) is obviously seen as sacrilege in our country because it acts as a high-speed driving fun killer and allegedly harms the German car industry – whatever the reason that most horsepower, sorry, kW-strong bolides from German production sell in countries with rigid speed limits (USA, China, UAE, etc.) of all places. A speed limit would benefit everyone and – unlike the seat belt or airbag – would also protect foreign life and health, just like the CoVID vaccination. Nevertheless, even the only self-protective seat belt obligation was accepted after a short protest more than four decades ago.

Perhaps NGOs such as Greenpeace, Deutsche Umweltstiftung or EUROSOLAR should consider suing the German Federal Constitutional Court for a speed limit. At the same time, interest-driven misguided subsidies that clearly work against climate protection could be fought by taking legal action. If it was possible for FFF and Greenpeace to successfully make the government run for its money with relatively vague demands for serious climate protection via the BVerfG, it should be even more possible in such concrete cases of adverse legislation. In any case, this would be more effective than suing VW for its continued strategy of using internal combustion engines, which other manufacturers unfortunately also advocate with even less progress in electric vehicles, as long as the legislation allows it.

Finally, air and sea transport would still have to be considered here. Prompt progress – due to the still far from available RE quantity for H2 and synthetic fuels as well as the long development and operation time for airplanes and ships – can only bring reduced use, even if this represents a spectre for air, cargo ship and cruise companies, which are not only playing catch-up after two years of Corona, but are greedy for additional growth. Therefore, not only is voluntary abandonment of air travel, cruises and overseas goods with long cargo routes called for, but also legislative intervention. A ban on short-haul flights and the use of heavy fuel oil instead of marine diesel as well as compulsory shore power are just as much a part of this as modulating interventions with a steering effect, e.g. a tax on kerosene at long last, so that air traffic cannot act as an unfair competitor on a permanent basis alone without energy taxes and ticket prices – especially those of low-cost airlines – inevitably have to become more expensive.

Agricultural and food turnaround
In this paper, we want to focus mainly on the technical aspects of the energy transition and therefore have to largely exclude this topic. However, it is obvious that there is an extreme need for action here as well, but also plenty of opportunities to reduce the burden on the environment and climate. Of course, we need more biodiversity, more animal welfare, less meat consumption, less liquid manure and nitrate in the soil and groundwater. By the way, surplus liquid manure can be used to produce biogas, which in turn can be used to generate electricity and local heat, while providing a readily controllable flexibility in the grid.
It is also a matter of removing subsidies with modest or even counterproductive steering effects, as well as misguided legislation. EU agricultural subsidies have recently been tied to ecological requirements to the tune of a “whopping” 25% and are otherwise ineffectively or even senselessly scattered according to area size. Instead of curbing food waste by law, as in France, the reactivation of usable food in the waste (“containerizing”) is prosecuted as a criminal act of theft.

There is a lot of need for action in all sectors, but also opportunities, both through targeted regulation and the reduction of unnecessary overregulation, both through technical solutions and intelligent financing models. Why do people talk almost exclusively about the alleged costs of the energy transition instead of mobilizing billions of euros for sensible RE investments or their promotion by consistently eliminating misguided subsidies (in all sectors, see above)? Unfortunately, an army of highly remunerated consultants has nothing better in mind than to grab subsidies in a way that makes no sense and/or is an end in itself or a windfall profit.

The downright schizoid use of control instruments must be stopped immediately, e.g. no ban on combustion vehicles, while the expensive subsidization of thick hybrid SUVs with powerful combustion engines and alibi e-motors with a battery range of 40 km is maintained. But to gold-plate the coal phase-out with €50 billion for compensation and infrastructure measures, while one has stealthily destroyed 120,000 jobs in the PV and wind power industries in the last decade, is surely the worst way to deal with tax subsidies.

Even in hitherto unimaginable times of war in Europe, climate change does not stop – on the contrary. The blind destructiveness of the Russian army will also have a negative effect in this respect. But at least the attack on Ukraine may serve as a wake-up call, for the cohesion of free democracies and the (unfortunately late) realization that we can only free ourselves from energy policy dependencies with RE. Despite the current dominance of foreign and security policy with almost breathtaking about-turns, something similar must happen with regard to the energy transition. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to save a ton of CO2 on the good initial mood of the three traffic light coalition partners with their diffuse “awakening” and “renewal” of the Federal Republic alone – not even through digitalization, no matter how much it is invoked.

Our basic problem as to why we are not effectively combating climate change and remain dependent on dangerous autocratic systems (primarily Russia and China) probably goes back to the dominant economic orientation. Half a century after the Club of Rome’s “Limits to Growth” (published on March 2, 1972), humanity has unfortunately still not really learned anything in this regard.