The climate debate is dominated by two species. On the one hand there are the climate deniers who flatly deny that there is any human-caused global warming. But the good news is this species is on the verge of extinction. Still, it’s not possible to sit back and relax.
They lead the world behind the spruce. And they do it with a double purpose:
1. They want to fake energy. Her halo does not shimmer golden as in the adoration of Mary, but green.
2. They hope to score emotionally with the younger generation, with shareholders materially and politically with the voters with their flaunted ambition.
Why is this relevant? Because these people, companies and parties sound like revolutionaries but are in fact impostors. The day the scam is discovered is usually outside of their term of office or their tenure as CEO.
The whole thing is also risky: Because today’s unreal promises produce tomorrow’s disappointments. Here the idealistic ideals of youth are played with. This is how you breed activists – and in the worst case even climate terrorists.
Microsoft has promised to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2030. By 2050, the company even wants to have removed all the CO₂ pollutants from the atmosphere that it has been emitting since 1975. Thunderstorm, one thinks. If that doesn’t sound visionary. This is how climate marketing works.
Amazon has also promised to reduce the company’s emissions from the server farm to the global van fleet to zero by 2040. A precise plan was never presented.
Instead, new diesel vehicles are being purchased for the fleet of Amazon parcel drivers. The US head of Greenpeace Special Projects, Rolf Sklar, told the news portal Axios: “There are serious questions about the seriousness of such promises.”
The truth is: the zero CO₂ promise of Microsoft and all other Big Tech companies in Silicon Valley can only be achieved with a massive expansion of battery production. According to calculations by the International Energy Agency, this expansion requires the opening of around 50 additional lithium mines around the world. The World Bank is warning of a dangerous feedback loop if that ever happens.
Because such an expansion of the mines is only conceivable due to the massive damage to people and the environment who live in the mining regions.
The ban on combustion engines in Europe from 2035 will not change the fact that in large parts of the world, wherever money is not so easy, the combustion engine will continue to dominate for the rest of this century.
Alternative fuels could offer a quicker way out than electrifying all vehicles worldwide. With their help, the global fleet of around 1.4 billion old cars with combustion engines could be made CO₂-free. Wolfgang Reitzle, the former chairman of the board of directors of the gas manufacturer Linde, proposes this approach particularly for the developing and emerging countries, where hundreds of millions of cars with ancient engines have a particular impact on the climate. But nobody walks it. Reitzle has an idea why: “Politics have obviously declared the internal combustion engine to be an enemy of the state and the climate.”
European politics ignores the development of their southern neighboring continent. It is preparing to enter the age of fossil energy only now. Sociologists call this catch-up industrialization.
600 million Africans currently have no access to electricity. They want him. And they will get it. A significant part of this African electricity will come from Chinese coal-fired power plants, which China is currently installing at a rapid pace in Africa.
After all, Africa is the substitute market for all of the world’s major fossil powers if the western industrialized countries actually get out of coal and gas. Professor Hans-Werner Sinn writes: If we threaten existing producers with radical exit scenarios that will ruin their business, they will forestall the threat and only promote even faster. And they connect those regions to their dirty raw materials that were previously undersupplied. He calls this “the green paradox”.
The yield of wind and solar energy is minimal in winter and can never find its way to the user due to the lack of storage technologies – which so far only store from night to day, but not from summer to winter. Added to this are the missing overhead lines that would have to transport the wind harvest from north to south and from west to east.
According to the Federal Network Agency, more than 12,000 kilometers of new lines should be built. Of these, however, only around 2,100 kilometers have been completed so far. 9,000 kilometers are in the approval process – or about to be.
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EON boss Leonhard Birnbaum: “An approval procedure for a 110 KV line takes ten years if things go well, 20 if things go badly.”
This creates the unfortunate circumstance that Germany, along with Poland, operates the dirtiest energy production in Europe and is dependent on nuclear energy from France and liquid gas from Qatar and the USA for the survival of its industry – and remains so.
The 80 percent target for renewables by 2030 and the 100 percent target by 2050 are illusory given the current and foreseeable state of the art. Even with a massive increase in the commissioning of photovoltaic and wind power plants, as proclaimed by the traffic light coalition.
The reason is so simple that people hesitate to name it: In Germany there is not enough wind and the sun shines too rarely. The so-called dark doldrums, the disappearance of the sun and the easing of the wind, characterize the situation of renewable energies in Germany.
A look at the power generation over the last few days shows that the sun and wind cannot make a significant contribution in winter, despite the fact that capacities are already significantly higher. The dark doldrums is not just a word. It is our daily reality.
Conclusion: unreal reduction targets of the companies and political promises of salvation of the politicians function, like a religion, as opium for the people. They don’t solve the problem. But they dampen the outrage.
The media – infatuated with big promises and bold headlines – are playing these tactical games, climate change is not. This is why the most important species for a functioning transformation, the climate realists, are hardly heard in the public debate.
The uncomfortable truth that Germany will never generate significantly more than 50 percent from renewable energies and that the remaining 50 percent will remain dependent on base load energies, i.e. modern gas-fired power plants and nuclear energy, is something that no member of the government and no active CEO wants to say. It is politically incorrect to describe the coalition’s goals as illusory.
When Christian Lindner wanted to introduce the climate realists to the debate with the remark that climate protection is something for professionals, there was no applause, but boos. The impostors don’t like the professionals because they could destroy their business model. The untruth scales better. Or to paraphrase Mark Twain: “A lie has walked the earth three times before the truth puts on its shoes.”
Gabor Steingart is one of the best-known journalists in the country. He publishes the newsletter The Pioneer Briefing. The podcast of the same name is Germany’s leading daily podcast for politics and business. Since May 2020, Steingart has been working with his editorial staff on the ship “The Pioneer One”. Before founding Media Pioneer, Steingart was, among other things, Chairman of the Management Board of the Handelsblatt Media Group. You can subscribe to his free newsletter here.
There is a risk of power outages in south-west Germany. This is according to “Bild” in a confidential paper to the Baden-Württemberg Minister of the Environment, Thekla Walker. There could be dramatic consequences for companies. Reasons for this are found in France.
The Bavarian state capital Munich has banned all climate sticker protests on important streets in its urban area for four weeks. The ban was imposed by general decree to prevent danger and is valid from December 10th to January 8th.