Former environment senator Fritz Vahrenholt: “We are threatened by a dramatic loss of prosperity”

From The GWPF

Date: 14/12/20

Hamburger Abendblatt

Fritz Vahrenholt was a mastermind of Germany’s ecological movement, Senator for the environment and wind manager. Today he questions Germany’s costly climate policy.

Fritz Vahrenholt

Hamburg. Fritz Vahrenholt has shaped the environmental debate in Germany like hardly anyone else: His book “Seveso ist überall” (1976) denounced the conditions in the chemical industry, his atlas “Die Lage der Nation” (1983) assessed the environmental policy in the country.

In 1984, he joined the Hamburg environmental authority as a state councillor, and was the Senator for Environment from 1991 to 1997. The social democrat and SPD politician then moved into the business world and, from 2001, built up the wind energy manufacturer Repower. From 2008 to 2012, Vahrenholt worked as managing director of the newly founded RWE Innogy GmbH.

In recent years, the doctor of chemistry has become one of the sharpest critics of German climate protection policy. Since being fired from the Wildlife Foundation because of his views, he has made the topic his “main activity”, as he says. In his new book Unerwünschte Wahrheiten (Unwanted Truths) and on his blog, the 71-year-old deals with climate development and the consequences of climate policy.

Hamburger Abendblatt: Do you actually like arguing, Mr. Vahrenholt?

Fritz Vahrenholt No, not really. What makes you think so?

HA: In your new book “Unwanted Truths” you are taking on the entire climate science…

FV: Do I? I am not denying the need for action or climate change itself – I am just coming to different conclusions about the scale or pace of it. I believe that it is not only humans who are responsible for climate change, but that natural factors are also at work. So we have more time than is often said.

HA: How did you come up with that?

FV: There is one aspect in the climate debate that I find far too brief. Our reference value is always the year 1850, the beginning of the industrial age. But what hardly anyone knows is that the Little Ice Age, the coldest period in the last 2000 years, ended then. The average value of the last 2000 years alone is about 0.4 degrees higher than in 1850 – completely without the greenhouse effect.

HA: You represent a minority position …

FV: Maybe, but that doesn’t mean it has to be wrong. Compare that with the subject of dying forests. At the beginning of the 1980s there was a consensus that the German forest would disappear because of acid rain. I suspected as much. Almost forty years later we know that the science was wrong. Science must be open to question. But that is no longer possible because of the intertwining of science and politics.

HA: Now it can be argued that because of the horrifying forecasts, political action was taken and the forest was saved.

FV: It is quite possible to believe, as many climate scientists do, that a little exaggeration would help. This it is acceptable, within limits, to shake up a society. It was similar with my book “Seveso ist überall” – we have ¬achieved a lot in the chemical ¬industry. But we must not send society into disaster by taking incorrect or exaggerated measures. Today we live in a climate of fear.

HA: Where do you think the debate has been distorted?

FV: Take the Greenland ice sheet, for example: many people believe that it will thaw out in the near future. Even with the continuing temperatures, it will continue to exist for thousands of years. By the way, 8000 years ago there was a period of about 3000 years warmer than today. Even then the ice sheet survived. And the Sahara was green. That is the positive news even now: the earth is becoming greener.

HA: This does not apply to all regions – in many places people fear drought.

FV: In the last 100 years, neither the frequency of droughts nor heavy precipitation has increased globally. However, due to warming and increasing CO2, the area of foliage worldwide is growing by the size of the Federal Republic of Germany every year. Over the past 50 years, plant biomass has increased by 30 percent. And because of the increase in CO2, the yields of wheat, rice and other fruits have grown by 15 percent, and the world’s food situation has been significantly improved. I do not want to trivialise CO2, it is a greenhouse gas. But it is also not desirable to return to pre-1850 levels.

HA: We are far from returning there. The Paris Climate Change Agreement has set itself the goal of limiting global warming to a maximum of two degrees. Is that wrong?

FV: No. But the Paris Agreement has structural shortcomings. It has stipulated that China, as a developing country, may still emit 50% more CO2 in coming years. If we halve our emissions in Germany from 0.8 billion to 0.4 billion tonnes, than that is equivalent to China’s annual increase. There, 245 coal-fired power plants will still be connected to the grid, and there are 1600 coal-fired power plants worldwide, most of them with Chinese assistance. India is happy because 56 coal mines have been opened there and now every village is supplied with electricity.

HA: That can’t be an argument for doing nothing here!

FV: Of course not, but it shows the relation. We are not making a difference with our phase-out, and nobody will follow us if we phase out coal and nuclear power within ten years, which will mean a dramatic loss of prosperity in Germany. We cannot sustain a highly developed industrial society with wind and sun. We are threatened with deindustrialisation and loss of prosperity. We discuss hysterically: it is claimed that if we do not phase out diesel and petrol engines now, the climate will tip over. What that means for hundreds of thousands of jobs is of no further interest. We must stop the sorcerer’s apprentices: Fear is a bad advisor.

HA: These are also horror scenarios …

FV: No. Our energy system transformation has a structural flaw: we are concentrating what three energy sources have done so far – natural gas for heating, oil for transport and electricity for industry and households – into a single energy source: electricity. The Academy of Engineering Sciences expects electricity demand to double. I think it will triple. The generation capacities of wind and sun will never be sufficient for this. Moreover, the problem of the dark lull remains – there are many days and weeks without sun and wind. So where will our electricity come from? From pumped storage? There are calculations according to which we would have to fill all valleys from Norway to Austria with pumped storage lakes in order to store it. That is absurd.

HA: You underestimate the possibilities offered by technological progress. Green hydrogen, for example, could be used to store energy.

HA: Two thirds of the energy is lost in the wind-hydrogen-electricity generation chain. That is physics. The energy is lost during electrolysis, storage and conversion into electricity. So we would have to build more plants to compensate for this loss. The cost of electricity would multiply.

HA: We have just seen what efficiency gains are possible with solar cells.

FV: That’s true of solar energy, when I think back to my first solar cells at Shell. We can produce electricity for just a few cents at sunny locations, but the cost decline is not as significant when it comes to wind. But that doesn’t solve the problem of intermediate storage, which becomes unaffordable given the amount of electricity to be stored.

Read the full article here.

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December 14, 2020 10:39 pm

We already have very good energy storage mechanisms.

They have stored abundant energy for 100’s of thousands of years or more.

They are Coal, Gas, Oil and Nuclear.

December 14, 2020 10:40 pm

Amazing how many duds talk sense when their income no longer depends on lying or conforming to group think.

One day, in time, he may realise the Earth has a very powerful and reliable thermostat that sets maximum ocean temperature to 32C. The rest is simply noise. Can be a lot of noise when it comes to icing up northern land masses but it does not happen particularly fast.

Reply to  RickWill
December 15, 2020 11:29 am

I found this out when working out what causes interglacial warmings. One interesting part of the research was that once the warming effect kicks in it produces an “unstoppable” climb of 1 deg per Ka, which even the atmosphere cooling to back to glacial temperatures during the last Dryas events cannot. does not effect, as the warming oceans rise without hesitatation throughout, regardless of land temeratures. BUT the warming oceans are eventually flat lined by the natural feedback of the dominant oceanic control, that hits turbo boost when the tropics make it 30 Deg SST from the perhaps 25 degrees during the glacial period. At this point the seasons become mainly defined by precipitation rather than temperature change, so responsive has the dominant negative feedback control of global climate through exponentially increasing evaporative response that delivers cooling and cloud albedo become, as well as the T^4 effect.

I assume in warmer times the tropics extend towards the poles to increase the area delivering such high feedback? I recall geologists have found evidence of such warmer times prior to the ice ages when there was no ice on Earth at ground level.

Steve Case
December 14, 2020 11:05 pm

Vahrenholt labors under the assumption that climate warriors, The world Economic Forum and their “Great Reset”, BLM, Antifa, the democratic party etc. are interested in solving the problems of Tackling Climate Change.” They are not, they are interested in destroying capitalism and securing the power of a dictatorship for themselves.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Steve Case
December 15, 2020 1:24 am

The science is of zero importance to the Reset movement.

Clive Bond
Reply to  Steve Case
December 15, 2020 3:56 am

The UN is the future world government and this is how they are doing it.

Steve Case
Reply to  Clive Bond
December 15, 2020 1:41 pm

Clive Bond December 15, 2020 at 3:56 am
Thanks for the reply, in my hurry to be an early post, (If you’re way down the page not every one bothers to read them all.) I forgot to mention the United Nations. Thanks for the link to Brenchley, he’s always a good read.

December 14, 2020 11:18 pm

Fritz Vahrenholt is typical of the archetypal Environment believer who knows little of how the World Climate works and acts in hast only to repent at leisure later when the damage is apparent.

Lorne Newell
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
December 15, 2020 1:20 am

Much like those that are causing fear of climate change. CO2 makes food. If there is no food all the problems that humans have are solved by extinction.

Peta of Newark
December 15, 2020 12:49 am

It goes off the rails (i.e. = Train wreck) from the outset..

Quote from FV:
“”I am not denying the need for action or climate change itself””

He *should* have qualified that.
Is he saying that…
a) The climate changes of its own free will
Possibly expand on why – the ‘action’ he mentions might be = More research

b) The climate is changing because of (fossil fuel emissions of) CO2
Possibly assert that the GHGE is complete thermodynamic garbage – esp that Temperature is not=Climate
We all know what will happen here – name calling, tribalism and appeals to authority and the interview will end

c) Something else we are doing might be changing the climate
Venture a few ideas on what they might be

Otherwise the assumption is automatically made that CO2 emissions (us human critters) are The Problem: from that point onwards he might as well have shut up and gone home.

You DO NOT enter into *any* argument/discussion by agreeing with your ‘adversary’. You start by vigorously *disagreeing* and hopefully find some common ground throughout the ensuing discussion.

Now we see where Mr trump went wrong and thus why Western Civilisation is in such deep doo-doo.
In a nut shell: Political Correctness

‘Political’ being the operative

Ed Zuiderwijk
December 15, 2020 1:23 am

He still believes in the strong ‘greenhouse effect’. I wonder what he will say when he realises that the Charney sensitivity of CO2 is only 0.5C or less.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
December 15, 2020 1:30 am

0.85 tops. The sensitivity is not measured in degrees. Do you mean 0.5 of a degree C per CO2 doubling?
Yeah, I’m a pedant.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
December 15, 2020 7:00 am

Dry air is only sensitive to CO2 in that it changes the specific heat. There is no mention of the heating capability of CO2 in specific heat tables, NIST data sheet, or the Shomate equation.

Since lapse rate is -g/ Cp the change will effect it also. So what is Cp of dry air at 200 ppm, 400 ppm, or 800 ppm?

December 15, 2020 1:27 am

What a plonker. Be careful what you wish for.

December 15, 2020 1:39 am

Hamburger Abendblatt asks many good and critical questions. Kudos.

Are they in the habit of doing that all the time? Do they treat climate fearmongers the same way?

John Law
December 15, 2020 1:46 am

Can’t take anybody without pigtails seriously on climate science!

December 15, 2020 2:18 am

The silence on finance is the give away.
Has Vahrenholt ever heard of fellow citizen Ursula van der Leyen, now at the EU Commission, previously at Defense?
The van der Leyen EU Green New Deal has everything to do with finance, as openly espoused at Davos.

When ex-BofE Mark Carney and mega hedge-fund BlackRock all sing from the same songbook as Leyen and Lagarde, even totally tone deaf “climatologists” should notice the cacophony. Even Joe is in on it.
Now that is worse than Vogon poetry.

The Finance crowd have made a dogs dinner out of global debt, and are fully intent on us bailing it out with green swill. Their ship is aground.

In other words major loss of prosperity has already occurred – the 2008 bailout and the creaking response to the pandemic show up the disastrous state of global finance.

John Endicott
Reply to  bonbon
December 15, 2020 7:30 am

bonbon always manages to get things back around to his favorite boogeyman, Mark Carney. Bonbon, you should start charging him rent, as he’s been living rent free in your head for a long time now.

Jean Parisot
Reply to  bonbon
December 15, 2020 10:25 am

A “price for carbon” is a critical part of nuclear plant funding schemes in regulated utilities, so they can charge current customers for capital costs. The montebank shell game accounting would get you arrested on a street corner.

December 15, 2020 5:30 am

We must stop the sorcerer’s apprentices: Fear is a bad advisor. = No, really?

Is he switching gears because he sees a roadblock or an avalanche up ahead and doesn’t want it bothering him? Or is he sincere? Hard to determine, but he can’t let go of that nebulous non-thing “climate change’, over which We the Humans have no control. Yeah, we can reduce pollution and have done so, but the rest of that is drivel when the guilt drivers start nattering on about it. He does not seem to recognize that pollution is not part of climate change. It is just pollution, and it is both man-made and natural. How will he stop a volcano from ejecting gas clouds that can wipe out the population of an entire island?

If he can’t let go of the nonsensical notion that humans have anything to do with a natural occurrence, which was going on LONG BEFORE humans ever existed, then he still has that problem.

December 15, 2020 6:55 am

I like this comment of his from the linked interview ( )

HA: What do you actually think about the environmentalist Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement?

FV: I agree with Norbert Bolz: prophets of doom have always been the most virulent enemies of the Enlightenment.

Malcolm Chapman
December 15, 2020 7:10 am

‘Our reference value is always the year 1850, the beginning of the industrial age. But what hardly anyone knows is that the Little Ice Age, the coldest period in the last 2000 years, ended then.’

Did he really say ‘what hardly anyone knows’? Wow. Calling politicians of all parties, calling politicians of all parties – we have a new and important piece of information for you! But really, if you have thought about these things at all (you are a politician, right? politicians think, right?), how did you not know this?

No excuse now, at any rate. Unless you are really really thick.

John Endicott
Reply to  Malcolm Chapman
December 15, 2020 7:28 am

Malcolm, politicians are notoriously thick, when they want to be (or rather when their backers/donors want them to be)

December 15, 2020 8:03 am

It is obvious to me (and several nations) that molten salt nuclear power is all that is required and can be installed quickly and produce cheap power (4 cents per kWhr) Renewable energy folks are truly ignorant of the fact that their powergenerators cannot replace reliable generators and thus require duplicative reliable power generators which are expensive and typically produce carbon. Of course, recent studies indicate that carbon levels are relatively saturated at this point and adding more carbon will have very little effect.

Old Gobi Jumper
Reply to  ColMosby
December 15, 2020 1:15 pm

We should quit using “carbon” to mean “carbon dioxide”. The greenees use it because it sounds dirty.

John Endicott
Reply to  ColMosby
December 16, 2020 2:12 am

It is obvious to me (and several nations) that molten salt nuclear power is all that is required and can be installed quickly and produce cheap power

If it’s really so obvious, then surely you can show me just one in commercial operation to prove your claims about how easily, quickly and cheaply they are to install and produce power with. Just one will do. What’s that? there are none? then you are just spouting wishes and hopes, not anything based on any real world financial data. Get back to us when you have one in commercial operation whose costs can be fairly evaluated.

December 15, 2020 8:05 am

“We are threatened by a dramatic loss of prosperity”
Yes, by climate change LEGISLATION, not so much by a degree C warming in a century, resulting in most cities taking on the average temperature of the city 300 Kilometers south of their latitude, not really a big deal, maybe even an improvement, but financially being heavily carbon taxed…..

Bruce Cobb
December 15, 2020 8:17 am

HA: “Where do you think the debate has been distorted?”
Correct response: “Where do you think it hasn’t been?”

Pat from Kerbob
December 15, 2020 9:01 am

The latest lefty to embrace a bit of common sense, there is hope for the world if people like this continue to wake up and speak out.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
December 15, 2020 9:53 am

Unfortunately he is now viewed as a dottering old fool that can now be safely ignored. Dementia, they’ll say; it’s so sad.

Tom Abbott
December 15, 2020 9:51 am

From the article: ” Science must be open to question. But that is no longer possible because of the intertwining of science and politics.”

Yeah, if you question the science, alarmists call you a denier. The alarmists don’t want their religion questioned.

From the article: “HA: That (China and India burning all the coal they want) can’t be an argument for doing nothing here!”

That sounds like advocacy journalism.

They must have added a new course to a journalism degree. A course that teaches journalists how to promote their favorite bias through their news reporting.

Honesty is in short supply in modern journalism.

Ewin Barnett
December 16, 2020 2:40 am

The main goal of those advocating what they currently call “climate change” has nothing to do with climate. Their hope can be seen in the Green New Deal and elsewhere. It is far more about imposing the secular Utopia on as much of humanity as possible as soon as possible.

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