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.
“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.