Energy policy: Heating law: Experts see climate goals in danger

Climate researcher Gunnar Luderer considers the heating law passed to be inadequate.

Energy policy: Heating law: Experts see climate goals in danger

Climate researcher Gunnar Luderer considers the heating law passed to be inadequate. “This means that it is actually impossible for us to achieve our climate goals in the building sector by 2030,” said the head of the energy systems working group at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research of the German Press Agency.

The calculations of the Copernicus Ariadne project, which he leads, show that the installation of oil and gas heating systems must be brought to almost zero within the next few years in order to keep the goal of climate neutrality affordable and achievable.

However, the passed law does not create sufficient incentives to move away from fossil fuels for new purchases by 2026 and 2028. "We have a very, very big problem and it is unlikely that the Building Energy Act in its current form will solve the problem."

“Renovations are complex and expensive”

Kai Bergmann from the environmental and development organization Germanwatch also emphasizes that the law is not enough. “The climate goals cannot be achieved this way.” In addition to changing the heating system, it is also essential to insulate the houses better so that not so much energy is released to the outside. “But the state would have to raise more money for this, because renovations are complex and expensive.”

Germany wants to become climate neutral by 2045, meaning it no longer wants to emit any gases that are harmful to the climate. “For me, the biggest concern when it comes to climate neutrality is the undesirable developments in buildings,” said Luderer, who is also a professor of global energy system analysis at the Technical University of Berlin. 600,000 new oil and gas heating systems are still being installed every year, and currently even more.

Heaters are used for around 20 to 30 years. During this time, fossil heating creates a lot of CO2 emissions, says Luderer. "That's a lot we can no longer afford." The heaters currently installed threaten to prevent Germany from achieving climate neutrality.

Demand for a CO2 price

Luderer does not believe that the solution is to use biofuels or hydrogen for heating homes on a large scale. “Fuels will be limited and expensive until at least 2040 or 2045,” he explains. "If you use them for houses, you create gaps elsewhere where they are actually needed more urgently, for example in industry."

According to the climate researcher, in order to encourage consumers to switch to climate-friendly heating systems, in addition to regulation and support measures, a CO2 price that speaks the ecological truth is also needed. If this reversal is not successful, a large number of heaters will soon have to be removed and replaced prematurely - at significant additional costs for the owners.

Another scenario is that politics and society weaken their own climate goals. “I think this risk is very high,” he said. The Expert Council for Climate Issues recently gave the federal government an “unsatisfactory” rating with regard to its climate policy.