Mr. Fischedick, why is it so important for industry in particular to limit greenhouse gas emissions? Industry is responsible for about one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, including the indirect emissions caused by the energy consumption of the sector. This is also the case in Germany. If one follows the German climate protection targets, each sector must make a corresponding contribution; this also applies to industry. The German government's climate protection plan provides for a reduction in emissions for the industry of around 50% by 2030 (compared with 1990).
How can industry actively and cost-effectively help with decarbonisation? There are a number of ways for industry to reduce emissions. From a cost perspective, the first priority is to exploit the possibilities for increasing energy and material efficiency as far as possible. However, this alone is not enough to achieve a complete reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Additional necessary measures include the further development of new processes, the gradual closure of material cycles through the reuse of materials (re-use and recycling) and - if necessary - also the separation and storage of CO2 as well as the use of CO2 as a raw material for the chemical industry. This not only requires an increase in innovation dynamics, but also international cooperation and protection against carbon leakage abroad.
What is the current situation in America and Europe, especially in comparison with Asia? The dynamism with which China is driving the development and implementation of new technologies forward is very remarkable. The driving forces here are not only climate protection, but also massive problems with air quality in the cities and the reduction of dependence on imports. In the future, it is to be expected that the momentum will increase even more and that appropriate political framework conditions will be set. A good example of this is the introduction of quotas for electric mobility. Nevertheless, Germany and the USA are still world market leaders in many areas. However, in competition with China, these two countries must be careful not to lose this position in the central, globally growing climate protection technology markets in the short to medium term. The withdrawal of the USA from the Paris Climate Protection Agreement and the expected significant failure to meet the German climate protection target for 2020 have led to a considerable loss of credibility internationally. This has led to corresponding disadvantages in the markets.
About Prof. Dr.-Ing. Manfred Fischedick studied process engineering and obtained his Doctorate in the field of energy technology. At the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, he deals with strategies for CO2 reduction, research and technology policy, 'technology forecasting' and sustainable urban infrastructures. He was the coordinating lead author of the 'IPPC Special Report Renewable Energies', member of the Energy and Climate Council of North Rhine-Westphalia and is currently chairman of the virtual institute 'Transformation - Energiewende NRW' (Transformation – Energy Turnaround NRW). He is also Vice President of the Wuppertal Institute.