The current crisis has again shown that the energy transition is about climate protection – but also about security policy. We need to develop renewable energies if we are to meet global climate protection targets and combat global warming and its negative impacts. At the same time, the energy transition is impacting geopolitical structures. Renewable energies create independence from fossil fuel producers. Yet the risk of new dependencies emerges, such as on raw materials needed to manufacture batteries or solar panels. These issues are the focus of the 8th Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue which begins today with the motto From Ambition to Action. Foreign and Energy Ministers from more than 50 countries are to enter into dialogue on the global energy transition with experts from business, research and civil society, as well as with leading representatives of international organisations. As Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock emphasised at the opening of the conference:
Climate protection and the energy transition do not just define the future of our planet and the future of our families and our children but, as we are learning the hardest possible way, they also define concrete security interests and geopolitics in the 21st century. The brutal war of aggression, President Putin’s war on Ukraine in contravention of international law, alongside all the horrific suffering it is causing to millions of people, also drives home that we have to become completely independent from Russian fossil fuel imports.
Driving the energy transition forward
The climate crisis is the central challenge of the 21st century. Even today more than 3 billion people live in regions that are hugely threatened by climate change. At the same time, the climate crisis is exacerbating existing conflicts, for example those resulting from ever scarcer resources. The international community has pledged to limit global warming to 1.5 or a maximum of 2 degrees taking climate protection measures. To meet these targets, we need to rapidly shift energy generation to net zero alternatives and increase energy efficiency. That is why Germany is committed to the global energy transition. That is why the Federal Government is also helping other countries to forge ahead with their own energy transition, which is the aim and object of the new hydrogen diplomacy offices in Nigeria, Angola and Saudi Arabia. Foreign Minister Baerbock underscored:
Energy and security are intertwined. Climate policy is the geopolitical challenge of our time. Today, increasing renewable energies is not just a reality, but an absolute necessity. It will also – this is my perspective as Foreign Minister – shift the international balance of power […]
We have huge potential here stretching from Norway to the United Arab Emirates but this is a race we need to run not against one another but together. Together with international researchers, with partners and with a strong foreign trade and investment policy […] seeing it not as our national interest but as a shared international task. […]
We have to ensure that our energy supplies are clean but also that we help millions of people around the world escape from energy poverty.
In South Africa alone, Germany is providing 1.2 billion euro to promote many projects ranging from energy efficiency to green hydrogen. The aim here is also to cushion the social impact of the energy transition, caused for example by job losses in the coal-mining sector.