Potsdam. In view of the energy crisis, the climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer sees particular difficulties for the winter after next, 2023/2024, and not for the upcoming one. The director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) called for more consistent gas savings.
“The big challenge will not exist in winter 22/23, but we must also master winter 23/24. That will be a bigger challenge,” said the climate economist at the German Press Agency in Potsdam.
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“In order to get through the winter well, we would have to save around 15 percent at the European level.” In the next few years, Germany will have to save 30 percent compared to the pre-war level if the failed Russian gas imports are to be replaced. Savings must be made above all in the household sector in order to prevent industry from relocating production or cutting jobs.
Reduce subsidies on gas to incentivize savings
“We will only be able to master the current energy crisis with a social balance,” Edenhofer continued. The federal government should therefore set up an administrative channel for the winter of 2023/2024 through which direct payments can be made to socially disadvantaged households in order to relieve high energy prices. He does not consider the reduction in VAT on gas to be the right way.
Edenhofer also called for subsidies on gas to be reduced in order to increase the incentive to save gas. Together with other economists, he proposes a fund model at European level with which EU member states can receive a savings premium if they have reduced gas consumption. “So far, the European member states have de facto subsidized their gas consumption, for example by reducing VAT and abolishing natural gas taxes,” said the climate economist. “This is a dangerous situation and contradicts the incentive to save energy at a time when gas savings are necessary for climate and geopolitical reasons.” This subsidy race must be stopped as a matter of urgency.