The war in Ukraine will boost low-emission technologies

BERLIN (AP) — A senior German official predicted on Tuesday that the war in Ukraine and its impact on world fossil fuel prices would give a “massive boost” to the means and measures needed to curb climate change.

Patrick Graichen, Germany’s deputy energy and climate minister, said rising global oil, gas and coal prices will accelerate the uptake of low-emission technologies that simultaneously reduce countries’ dependence on imports by originating from Russia.

“The core technologies for becoming independent of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and advancing climate protection are the same,” he told reporters in Berlin.

“It’s renewable energy, it’s efficiency and electrification,” Graichen said. “These three are now going to get a huge boost.”

Graichen spoke at the presentation of the annual report on Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions, which rose sharply in 2021 after a pandemic-induced decline the previous year.

Preliminary figures show that Germany released the equivalent of 762 million metric tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere last year. This is 33 million tons, or about 4.5%, more than in 2020.

Germany has failed in its efforts to reduce its emissions by 40% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. The government has admitted that a huge efforts will be needed to halve emissions by 2030 and reach “net zero” by 2045.

Among the measures currently promoted by the government is the replacement of oil or gas furnaces for home heating with high-efficiency electric heat pumps.

The head of the German Environment Agency, Dirk Messner, has suggested that emissions from the transport sector could also be greatly reduced if drivers limit their speed to 100 km/h (62 mph) on motorways and 80 km/h (50 mph) on major extra-urban roads. Germany currently does not have universal speed limits on its Autobahn network, and the issue of introducing such is politically controversial.

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