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by Alexander Christiani

The famous, but regrettably not uncontroversial, German Economist, Hans- Werner SINN gave a fascinating talk on 14 December at the Österreichische  Nationalbank (ONB) on invitation by its Governor.

To cut it short: In Germany, still the economically most important country in Europe, Sinn labels the (famous) energy efficiency law ( “Energieeffizienz-Gesetz”) rather as a de-industrialization law (“Deindustrialisierungs -Gesetz”).He sees the world-wide efforts for de-carbonization as doomed. He underpins his message with numerous highly vivid examples (slides) – the most salient are enumerated below:

  • The energy mix in Germany in 2020 consisted of more than 50 % in oil/gas and only 9% in renewable energy.
  • A recent survey in Germany shows a big majority of 79% in rejection of a ban of oil/gas-based heating.
  • Worldwide, 434 nuclear plants are currently in service, 62 in construction, 111 in planning and further 326 in the state of pre-planning.
  • China and India are at present building hundreds of new coal-fired power plants.
  • China alone emits more CO2 than all OECD countries together.
  • Oil, which European countries ban, is being delivered at falling prices to other countries in the world, where it is burned.
  • For generating electricity, needed for electric engines and heat pumps, coal will have to be burned as well, which otherwise could have been banned in Europe. As a consequence, world-wide output of CO2 is rising.
  • CO2 emissions world-wide stem from China at 33%, US 13%, 34% from so-called “green countries” (post- Paris), other countries 23%, India 7% and the remainder 1-2% by the shipping-industry, Saudi Arabia and others.

Hans-Werner Sinn draws two main conclusions in fighting CO2 emissions:

  • First: Going alone is completely worthless.
  • Clima-clubs, in contrary, function.

My own conclusion:

  • Green fundamentalists, wherever they are active,have to be viewed and treated with a good portion of scepticism.

The ABS is looking forward to receiving your views and comments!

About the author

Former Ambassador Dr Alexander Christiani is the Vice-President of the Austro-British Society and leads the ABS Expert Group which releases high-quality Policy Papers with first-hand background information on current political developments. Dr Christiani is a member of the board of the Austrian Society for Foreign Politics and the United Nations. His professional career led him to the hotspots of political developments all over the world (e.g. to the Middle East, South Africa, New York and many others) where he contributed reasonably to Austria’s excellent diplomatic reputation in the world.
The views expressed in this article are entirely his and reflect in no way the opinions of the ABS.