Key strategies towards decarbonized energy systems: GJETC presents three new studies with policy recommendations

Berlin/Tokyo, April 7, 2022. In its role as a provider of research on key issues of the energy transition, today the German Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) publishes three studies that have been conducted during the past nine months. The German and Japanese scientists have been working on research concerning a comparison of long-term scenario analyses up to 2045/2050, the decarbonization of the steel industry, and the role of batteries towards carbon neutrality. The findings from the studies form the basis for GJETC recommendations to policymakers. The studies are freely downloadable from the GJETC website.

(Copyright: Nuno Marques, Unsplash).


Both countries have now adopted goals for achieving net carbon neutrality by 2045 (Germany) and 2050 (Japan). However, the economic recovery after the 2020 recession due to Covid-19 pandemic led to increases in greenhouse gas emissions in 2021. The key question is, how these rebound effects can be curbed and what are key pathways towards achieving these goals of decarbonized energy systems.


“In 2021, more CO2 is being produced than ever globally and also Germany wasn’t on track of its ambitious climate targets. At the same time, the Russian aggression against Ukraine has put the urgent reduction of fossil energy dependency high on the agenda. This calls for intensified efforts on international knowledge exchange to speed up the energy transition and to generate synergies of climate mitigation and less import dependency” says Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke, the German co-chair of the GJETC, “From the results of our studies, we can derive recommendations for political decision-makers in Germany and Japan in this regard that can help achieve the climate targets and energy security alike.”


The Japanese co-chair of the GJETC, Prof. Tatsuya Terazawa, says: “There is still room for our two countries to reach their full potential as reflected in the results of our studies. Reducing the energy demand in all sectors and implementing stronger efficiency measures remains the first pillar of a successful energy transition. It is especially noted that the use of innovative technologies for decarbonizing fossil energy and alternative fuels in industry are important. In addition to the continued focus and expansion of renewable energies, pilot projects, such as for the use of battery systems for the sustainable storage of electricity, are necessary to drive energy transition efforts. At the same time, taking the current Ukraine situation into account, we will have to reemphasize the importance of energy security. In light of this, we need to diversify the energy types and sources as well as to ensure realistic transition of the energy mix consistent with the necessary timeframe.”

Study 1: The decarbonization of the steel industry
This study shows that governments and major companies in both Germany and Japan have adopted similar goals for the decarbonization of the steel industry, and how these may be achieved. Both countries focus on full decarbonization mainly through new direct reduction processes using hydrogen as fuel in primary steel making and the further expansion of secondary steel use through electric arc furnaces. Policy recommendations that can be derived include, among other things, fostering the use of clean hydrogen, the use of innovative technologies for steel production, the generation of CO2-neutral electricity and an acceptance of decarbonized steel on the market.


Study 2: Long-term scenarios for achieving climate neutrality by 2050

This study analyses scenarios of several studies that examine the achievement of climate neutrality in Germany and Japan. For both countries, the scenarios underscored the importance of energy efficiency and of a forced market introduction of renewable energies as key strategies. They go hand in hand with expanded electrification of the building and transport sector, the increased use of clean hydrogen and synthetic fuels, and technical carbon sinks to compensate residual (“hard to abate”) greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the GJETC discusses shortfalls that the respective technology focussed scenarios have with respect to, e.g., social acceptance or missing integration of circular economy strategies. Additionally, an adequate contribution of both countries to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees has to be developed. The GJETC thus opens the subject up for further specific research.


Study 3: The role of batteries towards carbon neutrality – How can distributed electricity storage contribute to balancing supply and demand in power markets as well as in power grids?
This study examines three different battery systems for electricity storage and their potential for stabilizing the power markets and grids: Grid-Integrated large storage systems (LSS), Home, Commercial, or Industrial Storages (HSS/ISS), and Battery-electric Vehicles (BEV). The GJETC sees HSS/ISS and BEV in particular as having great potential. To improve conditions for the use of battery systems as a flexibility resource, the GJETC advises a clear definition of storage as an own element of the electricity system; removing any double charging with levies, fees, or taxes of electricity during storage charging and feed-back to the grid; and the use of smart meters and smart pricing.

The GJETC’s third council phase ended last month. Another, fourth council phase is planned to continue the exchange between German and Japanese scientists intensively in the future. New formats are being discussed for the dialogue: An Innovation Lab will further encourage the exchange with the young researchers in particular, and an Innovation Hub will create a space for deeper communications with the industry in developing solutions.

Government changes in Germany and Japan: GJETC discusses consequences for climate mitigation policy at the 12th Council Meeting

Berlin/Tokyo, 25 February 2022. The German-Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) met for two days in hybrid form in Berlin and Tokyo. The Council Meeting focused on the changes of government in both countries and the consequences for Germany’s and Japan’s climate mitigation policies. Studies on the decarbonization of the steel industry, long-term scenarios for achieving climate neutrality and the role of battery systems in the energy transition were also presented. Through its work, the GJETC is making an important contribution to German-Japanese cooperation on climate protection issues. Through bilateral knowledge exchange on energy and climate policy challenges, the preparation of studies and recommendations to the governments of both nations, the GJETC promotes an ambitious energy transition policy.

Ⓒ-JDZB

“The targets for expanding renewable energies and foster energy efficiency have been increased significantly in both Japan and Germany. Nevertheless, existing potentials have not yet been exhausted and the request by the COP 26 in Glasgow, to keep 1.5 degrees within reach, remains a huge challenge for both countries. In this respect, the bilateral exchange of knowledge between two leading industrialized countries and the signaling effect of possible pioneering roles is more important than ever,” explains the German Co-Chair of the GJETC, Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke.

In March 2022, the GJETC’s third council phase will come to an end. After many years of successful work with a broad study program, several outreach events, innovation roundtables and stakeholder dialogues that provided a platform for information exchange and discussion among policymakers, scientists, industry and society, the GJETC is willing to continue its work in a fourth phase. Especially the cooperation with the German-Japanese Energy Partnership can raise synergies between policy, industry and research and open new channels for knowledge exchange.

Prof. Tatsuya Terazawa, the Japanese Co-Chair of the GJETC, emphasizes: “We clearly want to continue the GJETC beyond March 2022. We have already collected initial ideas on the format, activities and suggestions on possible study topics for this in recent days. Particularly in view of the challenges of the coming years, namely achieving the self-imposed climate targets of many industrialized nations, especially Japan and Germany, we are creating an important level for knowledge-based dialogue with the GJETC.”

GJETC Outreach Event: Heading for carbon neutrality – Key strategies for Germany and Japan

The challenges posed by the increasing global climate crisis call for more substantial actions. COP-26 has brought new momentum towards achieving climate neutrality. At the GJETC Outreach Event “Heading for carbon neutrality: Key strategies for Germany and Japan” on Thursday, 25th November 2021 Dr. Karsten Sach, Director-General of Climate Policy, European and International Policy Department at the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety/Germany and Prof. Jun Arima, Professor for Energy & Environmental Policies at the University of Tokyo and GJETC Council Member, shared their impressions and conclusions from COP 26 in Glasgow.

The German and the Japanese study teams of GJETC gave insights into the ongoing comparative study on long-term scenarios assessing the different strategies and approaches of reaching carbon neutrality by 2045/50 in Germany and Japan.

Program

Press release

German long-term scenarios

Japanese long-term scenarios

We would like to say thank you to all the participants. Please find below some of the answers to the questions
posted in the chat by the participants.

Question 1: Working for leading Japanese companies covering among others decarbonization of industry I had the most fruitful discussions with operators and researchers involved in actual CCUS/hydrogen utilization projects.  This gives a good insight view of the possible realization of scenario considering TRLs, market developments etc.  I hope it will be possible soon to have direct exchange of view again with experts in Japan as well as visit promising projects in Japan and Europe. (Ralf Eyssen Japanese-European Environment & Energy Center)

Answer by the German study team:

Dear Ralf Eyssen, thank you for your comment. As we have already announced, we are planning to present the results of our studies upon finalization in February 2022 on the occasion of the next Council Meeting. The complete studies will then be published on our website in March 2022.

Concerning the direct exchange of views, we are planning to continue Outreach Events. Recently, we have also started Innovation Roundtables that aim to enhance the dialogue between suppliers and users as well as science and industry to stimulate innovations and find solutions, among others for the decarbonization of industry. The first Innovation Roundtable was held on November 5th.

Question 2: Are you trying to achieve these carbon neutrality goals while eliminating nuclear power plants in Germany? In order to build a hydrogen society, the question is how to produce hydrogen cheaply, in large quantities, and without carbon. In Japan, there is a debate about whether to import blue carbon or to procure hydrogen from a nuclear power plant called FTTR. Will Germany be able to procure the required amount of green hydrogen alone? How will you secure the power to regulate the connection of renewable energy to the grid if you abolish fossil fuel-fired power generation? Can all of this be provided by pumped storage and storage batteries alone? It is inevitable that fuel prices and electricity bills will rise if we go carbon free. And if the cost rises further due to carbon pricing policies, will Germany be able to maintain its international competitiveness? (Fujio Mitsui)

Answer by the German study team:

Following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011 the German government has decided the nuclear phase-out, which will be realized in 2022. While some people in Germany argue that nuclear power would be needed in order to reach climate-neutrality, the owners of nuclear power plants have come to the conclusion that nuclear power, in Germany, is not profitable anymore. All scenarios assume the phase-out of nuclear energy as well as the coal phase-out (differing in the year) and conclude that reaching carbon neutrality by 2045 would be technically and economically feasible, given a considerable increase of renewable energies, increasing energy efficiency, and electrification, to name the three most important strategies.

While the studies acknowledge a rise of electricity prices, economic feasibility as well as aspects of social justice (“just transition”) are also been discussed. The assumed increase of the supply of green electricity is driven by the higher demand of electric power in all sectors, especially for E-mobility, heat pumps and electricity-based process transformation in industry. Rising costs can be partly compensated by energy cost savings due to increased efficiency – it is ultimately energy bills that matter, not the price per kWh. Some scenarios (e.g. BDI) calculate an amount of total energy costs in 2045 comparable to the reference case (see also answer to question 5) To ensure social justice and public acceptance, the studies also discuss mechanisms to compensate for higher energy costs for vulnerable households.

Concerning the international competitiveness of Germany’s industry, the necessity for transformation and decarbonization can also be considered as a huge opportunity to further develop innovative technologies (“GreenTech”) for global “lead markets” (e.g. energy and resource efficiency, sustainable mobility, renewables) enabling decarbonization strategies all over the world and by that potentially create competitive advantages.

Question 3: German energy mix in 2045 is almost 100pecent renewable with hydrogen. How intermittency can be dealt with? Hydrogen is good or abundant enough? How much does energy cost (Masakazu Toyoda, Former Co-Chairman of the GJETC)

Answer by Stefan Thomas (from the chat on Nov 25th)

To Mitsui-san and Toyoda-san: demand response and vehicle2grid have potential for flexibility too. Scenarios also assume 5% of power from green hydrogen. Most hydrogen and synfuels are assumed to be imported, but this is a point in which different scenarios are analyzed, because the potential and cost of imports is not very clear today. About the incremental cost of 100% renewables (incl. ca. 5% of green hydrogen) in the power system: the BDI study estimated it to be 0.6 ct./kWh compared to the reference scenario; and no increase vs. 2020; see our presentation slide no. 20.

Question 4: Is geothermal Energy in Japan not possible due to stark vulcanic activity? (Sebastian Ortlieb)

Answer by Hideaki Obane:

Thank you for your question. In Japan, geothermal power potential exists in national parks, where Japanese law regulates the construction of power plants. Moreover, hotel owners of hot springs also sometimes oppose to the construction. Hence, social consensus must also be considered.

Question 5: While the average temperature rise is a global approach, why aren’t funds dedicated to reduce GHG applied to investments with the highest carbon reductions globally. Limiting these investments to our own countries are not the best utilization for money to reach the global goal. (Hisham Alsharif)

Answer by the German study team:

In our view this position can be counterproductive because it does not reflect on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.” Industrialized countries have a historical and per capita responsibility to reduce their high energy and resource consumption by domestic decarbonization strategies. On the other hand, they should help the global South by capital and know-how transfer to leap-frog to advanced technologies and to protect especially vulnerable countries against the damages of climate change. Thus, the pledge of $100bn annual aid by rich countries for poor countries should be implemented earlier than 2025.

Question 6 to all speakers: The Glasgow Climate Pact adopted at COP26 calls on countries to phase down coal and to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels. Again, the background of Japan already having a new government and Germany is about to have one, what are your expectations regarding coal and fossil fuel finance? (Florentine Koppenborg)

Answer by the German study team:

The debate on phasing out coal as early as possible under the specific frame conditions of Japan (e.g. security of supply as an Island country) and Germany (e.g. probably strong regional impacts in two coal regions) is ongoing. In Germany, decarbonization scenarios up to 2045 show that a complete phase out of coal should be reached in 2030 at the latest. Thus, “ideally” this target was accepted by the new government. The implication of this decision is of course a strong signal to the financial sector to stop external financing of coal. Japan is also heading for tightening rules for foreign coal-fired power stations and ending government funding for projects. The debate on the use of natural gas is ongoing in Germany. There seems to be a consensus that natural gas is needed for a certain transition period. But e.g. the necessary build-up of gas power plants as a flexibility option and to stabilize security of fluctuating supply from renewable sources should not lead to lock in effects. Thus, newly built gas power plants should be constructed “hydrogen ready”.

Answer by the Japanese study team:

Japan has declared carbon neutrality in 2050 and direct burning of coal shall be diminished until then. Private sectors have already started moving toward the direction and this movement may become faster and stronger in the future. Japan is also seeking new technologies to make coal power plants decarbonize e.g. like CCUS. Japan is open to any type of decarbonization options to prepare for an uncertain future.

GJETC focuses on intensified climate change

Berlin/Tokyo, September 14, 2021. The German-Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) has decided to further develop its study program. The background is the risks of increasing weather extremes and unabated climate change, but also the potential economic opportunities of a climate neutrality strategy. The more ambitious climate protection goals of countries such as the USA, China, the EU, Japan and Germany, as well as the agenda of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, make new focal points of the study program necessary. At its eleventh Council meeting, held in hybrid form in Berlin, the GJETC deliberated on the current situation and agreed on additional studies on decarbonization of industry, battery systems and long-term scenarios, among others.

“The year 2021 has so far been marked by severe weather anomalies that have been felt all over the world. Added to this are new scientific findings from the IPCC and the agenda now available for the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow in November 2021. The geopolitical environment has changed with a higher level of ambition from leading countries on climate change and the return of the US to the Paris Climate Agreement. That is why GJETC strategy and study program is rapidly increasing in importance,” explained new Japanese co-chair Prof. Tatsuya Terazawa. “New insights into the increasing risks of climate change, as well as the opportunities for a socio-ecological transformation toward climate neutrality, mean new scientific challenges regarding the goals and implementation steps of climate change policy. The GJETC will include related fundamental strategy issues in its planned German-Japanese scenario comparison,” Terazawa added.

Following the retirement of Prof. Masakazu Toyoda in July 2021, Prof. Tatsuya Terazawa has been appointed as the new Japanese co-chair of the GJETC. Tatsuya Terazawa has been CEO of the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ) since July 2021, which has done research work for the Japanese Ministry of Economy (METI) for decades and has been a major supporter of the GJETC’s founding. Previously, Prof. Tatsuya Terazawa served as a Vice-Minister to several Japanese governments. He covered various responsibilities including industrial policy and energy security.

“With Prof. Tatsuya Terazawa, we have an outstanding expert on energy supply strategies as a new discussion and cooperation partner. I look forward to constructive work with him and am certain that together with the GJETC we will contribute to solution approaches for increased climate protection. At its core, this continues to be about finding scientifically robust pathways towards a low-risk energy system of the future as well as a just socio-ecological transformation. Ambitious climate protection is not an economic burden but increases competitiveness in the global lead markets for energy, environmental and climate protection technologies”, said the German co-chair of the GJETC, Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke.

Hennicke himself was awarded the “Order of the Rising Sun” by the Japanese government in May for his ongoing commitment to the GJETC. This is one of Japan’s highest honors for individuals who have made a significant contribution to Japanese culture and society. The official presentation of the Order took place following the GJETC Council meeting on September 13, 2021 at the Embassy of Japan in Berlin.

Increasing the Ambition Level of Climate Mitigation – New Challenges and Opportunities for International Cooperation on the Energy Transition

First Young Scientist Stakeholder Dialogue of the German-Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC)

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021
09:00 – 12:15 CET / 16:00 – 19:15 JST

The German-Japanese Energy Transition Council seeks to contribute to the acceleration of energy transitions by fostering the binational exchange between German and Japanese researchers investigating energy matters related to Japan and/or Germany. While also considering the security of energy supply, social well-being and the international competitiveness of the economy, the council intends to develop energy solutions and policies that are in line with the ambitious climate change mitigation commitments of both countries.

To widen its perspective and intensify the dialogue among researchers engaged in that research field the GJETC invited 8 young scientists to present their current research activities which possibly stimulate new research fields within the Council and discuss this term’s study topics of the GJETC.

Agenda of the First Stakeholder Dialogue with Young Scientists

German GJETC Chairman receives “Order of the Rising Sun” from Japanese Government

Berlin/Tokyo, 10 May 2021: On 29 April 2021, the Japanese government awarded the Co-Chair of the German Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC), Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke, with the “Order of the Rising Sun Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon”. This is one of Japan’s highest awards to individuals who have made a significant contribution to Japanese culture and society. Prof. Hennicke receives the Order for his ongoing commitment and work for the GJETC. The official awarding ceremony of the Order is planned for the next GJETC Council meeting in September 2021 at the Embassy of Japan in Berlin.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Toshimitsu Motegi conveyed his congratulations to Prof. Hennicke, who expressed his gratitude for the award: “I feel this honourable order as a great encouragement for the GJETC’s work to intensify our cooperation. The award shows that we have jointly created an international role model for scientific cooperation. Despite different framework conditions and energy policy priorities, we have managed to establish a continuous, science-based exchange of knowledge and joined pathways in search for ways to achieve climate neutrality for our countries.”
The award of the Order to Prof. Hennicke by the Japanese government is an expression of appreciation for the GJETC’s work and its policy recommendations. The Council was founded in 2016 and is composed of 16 renowned German and Japanese energy experts. Together, the GJETC established science-based cooperation between the two countries on issues of global warming and the energy transition. Since its founding, the Council has produced numerous analyses, held Outreach events in Berlin and Tokyo and formulated recommendations on the energy transition to the Japanese and German governments in support of the German-Japanese Energy Partnership.
“The new global climate policy dynamics, driven by more ambitious GHG reduction targets of the EU, China and now also the USA, are opening up encouraging perspectives and new opportunities for the German-Japanese Energy Partnership,” Prof. Hennicke continues. “My colleagues in the GJETC and I consider this as an obligation to contribute as much as possible to accelerated climate protection as well as to develop pathways to a low-risk energy system and a just socio-ecological transformation.”

Source: Wuppertal Institute/S. Michaelis

GJETC presents new studies: Digitalization, decarbonization options for the industry and impact of the Corona pandemic on climate policy

Berlin/Tokyo, April 30, 2021. Today, the German Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) publishes three studies prepared during the last year. The Council, consisting of renowned scientists from Germany and Japan, is committed to science-based cooperation on issues related to global climate heating and energy transition. The studies deal with key questions for the energy transition in both countries: How can Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data be utilized to optimize power grid operation? To what extend can Carbon Capture and Usage (CCU) and Hydrogen contribute to the decarbonization of energy-intensive industries? And which impact of COVID-19 can be observed on energy consumption, social behaviour and climate policy? From the individual studies, the GJETC has also derived recommendations for policymakers in Germany and Japan.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the energy transition is making progress worldwide, and with the return of the USA to the Paris climate agreement, achieving more ambitious global climate targets seems more realistic again. In this process, countries can benefit from cooperation on climate policies, create climate-friendly development models, and advance a balanced transition of their energy systems while ensuring a secure energy supply. This is also indicated by the latest results of studies conducted by the GJETC.

Prof. Masakazu Toyoda, the Japanese Co-Chair of the GJETC, puts the findings into context: “The results show that Japan and Germany have the opportunity to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and aim at carbon neutrality by 2050 with the help of various country-specific approaches. Our studies find that the consistent use of new technologies, innovative methods to use and store carbon dioxide, and active and future-oriented climate policies after the COVID-19 pandemic play an important role in achieving these goals.”

The German Co-Chair, Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke, adds: “The COVID-19 pandemic has provided us with an example of how we can achieve unprecedented impacts through decisive and rapid policy actions. Policymakers around the world should use the global stimulus programs as an ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to initiate and foster a more ambitious economic structural change in the direction of sustainability. As GJETC, we accompany this change scientifically and provide guidance and orientation through our studies.”

Study 1: Digitalization and the Energy Transition – Use of digitalization to optimize grid operation utilizing AI and Big Data collected from DERs

This study deals with the use of smart grid technology and other digital technologies to harness Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) in order to enable integration of a higher share of Variable Renewable Energy Sources (VRE) in the distribution grid. Use cases, technical solutions particularly based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), business models, and experiences in both countries are discussed, but also needs for regulation that will enable their roll-out.

Study 2: Carbon Capture Use and Storage (CCUS) and Hydrogen Contributing to Decarbonization of Energy-intensive Industries

This study explores policy directions and possible technologies to decarbonize the industry sector in Germany and Japan because it would be difficult for both countries to achieve the carbon neutrality by 2050 without the sector’s efforts of reducing CO2. In particular, hydrogen direct use, blending hydrogen with natural gas, and CCUS were the subjects studied. Hydrogen direct use and CCU were found most promising for both countries and their potential cooperation on R&D, policy frameworks, and international sustainability and safety standards for hydrogen.

Study 3: Energy and Climate Policy in the Post COVID-19 era – Comparative Analyses on Germany and Japan

This short and preliminary study focuses on Germany and Japan and tries to identify possible impacts of COVID-19 on the economy and related energy consumption/CO2-emissions and on possible induced long-term structural and behaviour changes. It analyses the recovery programs and their possible impacts on sustainable structural change and on the style of policymaking. Finally, it suggests setting up a more comprehensive German-Japanese research project that compares the long run effects of the COVID-19 crisis for both countries.

New highlights of the German-Japanese cooperation on energy transition research

Berlin/Tokyo, March 12, 2021. The German Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) looks back on four years of fruitful international cooperation. During today’s meeting, results of three studies that the Council has recently conducted were presented. In addition to the topics of hydrogen use and digitization of the energy sector, one study also looked at the impact of Covid-19 on energy transition efforts. Thus, the GJETC continues the preparation of scientific studies and policy recommendations and seeks broad technical and societal exchanges to accelerate energy transitions.

Source: iStock

Challenges of safe and decarbonized energy production for Japan and Germany are growing. On the one hand both countries are facing the consequences of climate change and belong to the states with highest Climate-risk-index. On the other hand, both countries can benefit from ambitious climate change policies, create climate benign growth patterns, and drive a just transition of their energy systems while ensuring stable energy security. The Covid-19 pandemic also triggers the discussion on “green recovery” particularly in Europe and how to invest in a more sustainable future. Thus, international cooperation is more than ever important to exchange good practice and create innovation partnerships.

“The long-term scenarios for the future direction of energy policy are still being intensively discussed in both Germany and Japan. We greatly appreciate cooperation and technological knowledge transfer between nations that operate on an equal level and share the same goals and values,” stated the Japanese co-chair of the GJETC, Prof. Masakazu Toyoda at today’s meeting.

At the council meetings, results of ongoing research on digital applications for grid optimization, on carbon recycling and other technologies to decarbonize energy intensive industries, and on long-term effects of the Corona pandemic on the energy transition process in both countries were presented. In addition, the members discussed possible further research topics such as long-term scenario analyses up to 2050 or the energy and climate nexus of the circular economy.

“Various crises, such as climate change and the Corona pandemic, must be addressed through political action. Devastating economic damage from the pandemic and advancing climate change can be mitigated through support programs, preferably with intensive international cooperation. This would also be an important signal to the public in terms of ambitious policies and actions,” said Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke, German co-chairman of the GJETC.

Due to the ongoing global corona pandemic, the GJETC’s council meeting was held virtually. In the 3rd phase of the council’s work, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) takes over funding for the GJETC from the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU).

Participation of GJETC representatives in the 11th German-Japanese Environment and Energy Dialogue Forum

The 11th German-Japanese Environment and Energy Dialogue Forum (EEDF) took place online from 16th – 18th February 2021. Presentations and lively discussions on the topic of “Preparing the Industry for Tomorrow: Decarbonization as Industrial Policy – Political, Technical and Social Pathways and the Role of Hydrogen” attracted almost 300 participants each day.

Representatives of the GJETC also contributed to the Forum’s topics. In session 2, Council Members Prof. Jun Arima and Dr. Felix Matthes contributed to the question of “How to reach GHG-neutrality in the industry sector?” and presented key technologies for the decarbonization of the industrial sector as seen by recent studies. In a Networking Session titled “Covid-19 and the long-term effect on economies and GHG emissions”, Co-chair Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke and IEEJ researcher Dr. Ichiro Kutani provided an input on Covid-19 impact on the economies and emissions and compared the recovery programs in both countries.   

Program and presentation download: https://gj-eedf.org

Background of EEDF: The German-Japanese Environment and Energy Dialogue Forum is a renowned platform for the information exchange between experts from industry, academia and politics of both countries on current environment and energy related issues. The 11th edition was organized by the German Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the German Ministry of Economy and Energy and the New Energy (BMWi) and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) in co-operation with the Japanese Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of the Environment (MoEJ).

Networking Session with Co-chair Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke and IEEJ researcher Dr. Ichiro Kutani about the Covid-19 impact on the economies and emissions in Japan and Germany

GJETC calls for integrated programs against the corona pandemic and for climate protection

Berlin/Tokyo, 2 July 2020. The German and Japanese members of the German-Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC), in today’s outreach event at the end of the second phase of the Council, issued a joint statement calling for linking the fight against the effects of the coronavirus with the fight against global warming. They also presented the results of the Council’s work over the past two years and ten urgent recommendations to policy-makers. The Council members call, among other things, for ambitious energy and climate targets and the promotion of energy efficiency. Both the Covid-19 crisis and climate protection require immediate, global and long-term action.

“In view of the corona pandemic, governments around the world have taken comprehensive emergency measures in recent months to contain the disease and its effects. This is an unprecedented signal for collective action in the face of a global crisis. We are also calling for this determination in the fight against progressive climate warming as an indispensable part,” said the Japanese co-chair of GJETC, Prof. Masakazu Toyoda. The emphasis of national economic stimulus packages on a secure, affordable and sustainable energy system transformation can therefore help to mitigate the economic and social consequences of the pandemic and at the same time trigger new fields of innovation and employment.

GJETC Report_Cover

“Even though estimates for global CO2 emissions are predicting a significant reduction for 2020, this is not the time for complacency. After all, this reduction is not the result of efforts by governments or companies to combat global warming, but is due to the shutdown of economic activity and the economic impact of the corona pandemic. Forecasts assume that without a climate-friendly course of global economic recovery, the original or even higher CO2 emission levels will be reached”, added the German co-chair of GJETC, Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke.

In order to finance the economic stimulus packages against the consequences of the Corona crisis, a substantial increase in new public debt is inevitable. However, the more new investments and business areas for climate protection technologies are promoted, the lower the future financial burdens on the budget and the more positive the employment effects. Gearing the unprecedented global economic aid towards combating climate change is therefore also a historic opportunity to drive forward ecological modernization through state incentives. By contrast, to use the economic stimulus packages to continue to support inefficient and carbon-rich projects would mean not only losing many opportunities for innovation and decarbonising business fields, but possibly losing the fight against global warming, the GJETC said in its statement.

The full GJETC statement can be downloaded here

Study results and policy recommendations

In addition to the statement on the Corona crisis, GJETC also presented the results produced in the second phase of the Council’s work during the virtual outreach event. In the context of the study on the “Hydrogen Society”, GJETC examined the different strategies of Japan and Germany with regard to the use and establishment of hydrogen in society to reduce emissions. The study “Digitalization and the energy transition” dealt with the use of Virtual Power Plants (VPP) as well as the benefits of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) electricity trading and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Furthermore, the results of the four working groups (Energy Efficiency in Buildings; Transportation and sector coupling; Climate & Energy policy, Targets, Plans and Strategies: The role of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms; Integration cost of Variable Renewable Energies) were presented.

The final discussion on the results took place in a virtual council meeting on 22 June. In order to achieve climate neutrality, Germany and Japan must review their emission reduction targets set so far, grade up their ambitions in the implementation of climate targets, drive technological and social innovation and solidify the overall commitment of the projects.

The GJETC Report 2020 as well as the results of the studies and working groups of the second phase can be found at www.gjetc.org.