From visions of the future. "I try to bring the reality to you. What the future will look like, you can figure out for yourself. " The professor of physics at the university of konstanz was a guest in bamberg yesterday. In the pack "verifiable figures without a vision of the future", as the scientist noted right at the beginning.
One of these figures: primary energy consumption worldwide. The curve shown by gantefor goes steeply upward. A second curve also rises almost identically with primary energy consumption.
It is the emission of carbon dioxide. According to gantefor, a third curve, which is not growing steeply but continuously, is responsible for the rise in the other two curves: the number of the world's inhabitants. Every twelve years it increases by a billion. More population inevitably means more energy consumption and more CO2 emissions. Carbon dioxide levels have only fallen once in recent years – in 2008. According to gantefor, this is not a consequence of energy-saving measures, but rather the effect of the financial and economic crisis.
Financial crisis and climate protection
"Financial crises have a very positive effect on climate protection, but they are still not very popular", says the physics professor suffisant and makes many of his 300 listeners from business and politics smile.
The economic advisory council of bavaria had invited the author of the book "climate. The end of the world will not happen" invited as one of the speakers to his economics day. In front of this economic forum, which this year chose bamberg as its venue, gantefor made it clear that what is being spread in terms of visions is, in his view, far removed from reality.
Motivation for the energy turnaround in germany was the fukushima disaster and climate protection. While fukushima led to the phasing out of nuclear energy, the consequence of climate protection was the switch to renewable energies. "A much more ambitious goal than phasing out nuclear power", says gantefor.
From biomass to uranium
Whoever talks about energy production must have in mind a rough order of one gigawatt, which corresponds to 1000 megawatts. "Only then could they have a say in electricity generation." Gantefor listed the four types of renewable energy that can compete in this gigawatt class: biomass, hydro, wind and solar.
Biomass as a form of energy had already existed in antiquity. Warmth was generated by burning wood. Grass was used to supply oxen, which served as a means of propulsion. In a second phase, the power drive by the water wheel was discovered, which made it independent of biomass. The same applies to windmills powered by the wind. The scientist spoke of a transformation from peasant self-management to manufactures. The industrial society, in a third phase, relied on coal, petroleum, natural gas and uranium. Productivity and standard of living had thus increased tenfold.
Using the example of biomass, gantefor showed that it would never be possible to supply an industry with sufficient energy. Otherwise, for example, in bavaria, a third of the state's land would have to be planted with energy crops.
Still a long way to go
"There is still a long way to go to achieve an energy turnaround", said gantefor and also made a comparison with the energy forms wind and sun. Photovoltaics has been "enormously expanded in the past five years, wind energy a little slower". Nevertheless, according to the physics professor's calculations, it would take 65 more years of wind energy and 55 more years of photovoltaics to achieve the goal of the energy turnaround at the current rates of expansion. If at all, the "energy turnaround can only be achieved in electricity". It is expensive, but feasible. In order to achieve climate protection, however, the change in electricity is not enough. But more is hardly possible. "The changeover in total energy is not feasible and not affordable according to the current state of the art", said the scientist.
Gantefor's alternative path relies on more affordable energy, which demands economic growth in order to ultimately tackle the main problem: stabilizing the world's population. According to gantefor, there is no way around a four-degree warming of the climate. At some point, however, we will have to use technical means to cool the climate.
"The nerve center of industry"
The absolute amount of electricity is not the problem, explained johannes teyssen, chairman of the executive board of the energy company eon. "The problem is that electricity is not available at all times and in all places." Security remains tense for the next few years. According to teyssen, electricity in germany has become "dirtier" in the past year because nuclear energy generation has been replaced by coal. "We have not yet won anything for climate protection. But that does not rule out the possibility that we will still succeed in doing so." Teyssen pointed out that eon is already among the world's top 5 in renewable energies. "We have the ambition to make renewable energy competitive."
"Energy is still the central nerve center of our industry," he said, peter-alexander wacker, chairman of the supervisory board of wacker chemie in burghausen, a very energy-intensive industrial group, warned. If the energy costs for the industry were increased, this would lead to migration.