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Climate protection: That is what Ex-Environment Minister Töpfer said
Climate protection: That is what Ex-Environment Minister Töpfer said
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Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer, former Federal Minister for the Environment, Executive Director of the Institute for Climate, Earth System and Sustainability (IASS), Potsdam, demands: "Do not cut funding!"

Mr Töpfer, on the one hand the government is asking builders and buyers to do more for climate protection, and on the other hand it is cutting subsidies. Does that fit together?

“Homeowners are indeed facing massive increases in energy prices. This makes investments in energy-efficient buildings more urgent and even pays off in cash. In order to accelerate the energetic renovation of buildings, the public sector must exempt funding from cuts, despite all budget constraints."

Is politics sufficiently committed to the use of renewable energies?

“Anyone who travels through Germany with open eyes will see the great upswing that wind and solar energy in particular has already achieved - thanks to the Energy Feed-In Act and other subsidies. Research and development must now be given further impetus to reduce the costs of these energies. That is the crucial requirement."

Can we, as private builders and house owners, contribute to climate protection, or is it a matter of politics, industry and economy?

“Every private builder and house owner can participate in climate protection measures - and he should do it for his own economic interest. As a suggestion, I recommend one of the information brochures with specific cost calculations, such as the German Energy Agency dena (www.dena.de)."

How should modernizers invest to make their contribution to sustainability?

“Homeowners should inform themselves well in advance. The individual advice is more helpful than some summary assessment without knowledge of the building. Financial burdens can also be better assessed against the background of energy savings. We should also be aware of our social responsibility.”

Which renewable energies do you use yourself?

“My wife and I invested in solar energy at our own house in a rural region of Germany. The energetic renovation of the building has been started. Certainly: one could act even faster and more extensive. But the start has been made well and we hope to soon live in an energetically exemplary house.”

Which Cancun results do you rate as particularly positive?

“In Cancun we have achieved that all countries in the world have recognized global responsibility to protect the global climate as an obligation and that the negotiation process continues within the framework of the United Nations. But: we should not wait for the outcome of these negotiations, we should take immediate action. The economy also recognizes that a commitment against climate change bears economic fruit - a great opportunity for Germany."

What do you say about the decision to continue operating the nuclear power plants? Do you feel anger?

“It has long been my belief that we have to invent a future without nuclear energy. We are on a good, reliable path with renewable energies. A future without nuclear energy requires investments in new line networks and in electricity storage."

How do you rate the current climate debate in Germany? In your view, could more be done?

“In Germany there is a very committed, knowledgeable discussion about the causes and consequences of climate change. It certainly remains a challenge to reduce the distance between science, civil society, politics and business."

Environmentalists often say laconically: Energy prices should continue to rise so that a rethink takes place. Do you see that as someone who has been keeping climate protection high for decades?

“Rising energy prices have social consequences. Therefore, we should cope with the ecological necessities in such a way that no social upheavals or economic crises arise from them. This is exactly why it makes so much sense to make renewable energies fully competitive through research and funding.”

Will we, as private owners, necessarily have to become 'self-sufficient'?

“Renewable energies, combined with intelligent power grids and attractive decentralized supply models, will make it possible to significantly reduce dependency on large energy providers. In Germany there are demonstrable examples of how decentralization can be promoted, for example in cooperative organizational forms. However, the central energy supply will have to make its contribution in the future as well.”

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