Germany: The Race Is On

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By Kalte Sonne

The Race Is On. This refers to the race for places in the Expert Council for Climate Protection of the Federal Government. The Handelsblatt states:

“The Climate Protection Act published in the Federal Law Gazette in December 2019 comprises only nine pages. A term appears in the law, for which Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) had to fight for a long time, in 22 places: the term “expert council”. The conclusion that the panel will play an important role in the implementation of the law is therefore obvious. This makes the question of who will be a member of this Expert Council on Climate Issues all the more exciting.

The five-member Council is appointed by the Federal Government, with the Environment Department in charge. Officially, the press office of the ministry states that “at least one member with outstanding scientific knowledge and experience from one of the fields of climate sciences, economics, environmental sciences and social issues” should be represented in the expert council.”

Whether Claudia Kemfert, apparently the only energy expert based on her media presence, will belong to this council is still open. She had recently attracted attention with nice oaths in the ZDF documentary Blackout. She shot three goats there. We would have “still and no” storage, we only need smart systems (which do not yet exist), then the volatility of renewable energies would not be a problem and dark doldrums occur only for a short time in January. We reported. Excellent scientific knowledge is clearly not. In the case of Kemfert, the Handelsblatt continues:

“Claudia Kemfert, Head of the Department of Energy, Transport and Environment at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and member of the SRU, is also considered a candidate for the Expert Council. The media-savvy economist is very present in the debate on climate protection and the energy transition, but is not without controversy in the professional world. Kemfert is regarded as an advocate of an uncompromising course in climate protection policy. She courageously brushes aside doubts or criticism.

Only at the end of last year, for example, in an article published on the website of “Capital”, she referred to criticism of the implementation of the energy transition into the realm of “myths”. Criticism that the energy transition is too expensive, green electricity too fidgety, the sun too weak, the wind too quiet, the storage space too scarce and the grid too holey, she described in her text without further ado as the “complaint staccato of the opponents of the energy transition”.

Her critics see the article as a prime example of a narrowed view. Science should not be “so irresponsible as to advertise previous political approaches without the necessary critical distance, which is characterized by pure wishful thinking, whose successes are obviously limited and whose costs are unquestionably extremely high,” says Christoph M. Schmidt, RWI President and outgoing Chairman of the German Council of Economic Experts, with a view to Kemfert’s essay.”

One who strongly criticized Kemfert is the Düsseldorf economist Justus Haucap. On his blog, he dissects an essay by Kemfert in the magazine Capital. It puts one slap after another for Kemfert’s statements. They make it easy for themselves, whenever there is criticism of the German energy transition, Kemfert calls it a myth, but without refuting it cleanly. But Kemfert prefers to forget such things as the market premium and thus huge sums are missing in her bill.

“What is particularly remarkable about the contribution in Capital is that right at the beginning of the contribution, the promotion of renewable energies is equated exclusively with the feed-in tariff according to the EEG Act.

“Since the beginning, the funding amount has amounted to 167 billion euros, since 2005 it has been 152 billion euros,” says the article, referring to the Federal Statistical Office. Every connoisseur of the energy transition rubs his eyes in amazement here, because it is known that since 2012 the promotion of renewable energies has by no means only consisted of the fixed feed-in tariff, but increasingly of remuneration according to the so-called market premium model.

However, Claudia Kemfert only takes feed-in tariffs into account in her calculation. In 2018, this amounted to 11.68 billion euros, the remuneration according to the market premium model of around 13.9 billion euros for 2018 is simply swept under the table. Taken together, however, it would not be 11.7 billion euros, but 25.6 billion euros, i.e. for 2018, more than half of the remuneration will simply be omitted.

This is not mentioned and therefore not justified and is at least a gross faux pas. Such an erroneous presentation of the EEG subsidy must not be undermined by an expert, because everyone knows that the EEG subsidy is currently around 25 billion euros per year.”