In this project on behalf of the German environment association NABU (Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union), the WI is investigating possible future developments of the German energy system that would make it possible to achieve ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets while at the same time maintaining a high level of nature conservation. The starting point of the project is the recognition that the expanded use of renewables is a central climate protection strategy, but can often be problematic from a conservation perspective. In this respect, various types of biomass production and the use of wind energy are regarded as particularly relevant. Against this background, the project examines which conservation-friendly options for reducing energy-related greenhouse gas emissions are currently not fully made use of and may also be underestimated in available energy scenario studies.
Conservation-friendly climate protection options include, for example, a significant increase in energy efficiency, energy-reducing lifestyle changes and an increased use of those types of renewables which (according to today's knowledge) are relatively unproblematic with regard to nature conservation. Whether the import of CO2-neutral energy sources or the capture and storage of CO2 from industrial plants can generally also be regarded as conservation-compatible options for reducing German greenhouse gas emissions – and if so, under which conditions – is also discussed in the project.
As a first step, a meta-analysis of existing energy scenarios for Germany is carried out in the project. On this basis, it is investigated to what extent and for what reasons different scenarios differ with regard to their reliance on conservation-friendly climate protection options. The findings derived from the scenario meta-analysis as well as additional literature research are used to formulate starting points for greater future use of conservation-friendly climate protection options.