Environmental Engineering Reference
Figure 4.8 Sources of and possibilities for using renewable energies.
4.3 Options for Protecting the Climate
A typical scenario for protecting the climate of a country like Germany should fi rst
show the options available to make the energy supply carbon-free quickly, and
identify the role renewable energies can play in this process. Compared to other
countries, the possibilities for using renewable energies in Germany are far from
optimal. However, if a highly populated industrialized country like Germany with
only moderate potential could succeed in using renewable energies to supply its
needs, then it should not be a problem at all for other countries. Germany is a trail-
blazer here, which offers many advantages in the long term. The country is already
reaping the benefi ts of its role, as renewable technologies are developing into a big
export success for German industry.
4.3.1 Down with Primary Energy Needs
The total primary energy use in Germany has to fall for climate protection to be
effective. Primary energy includes original forms of energy, such as coal, oil, natural
gas and uranium - most of which are used in the energy sector. Some is also used
for non-energy related purposes in other areas. For example, large quantities of oil
end up in the plastics industry where it is used to make garden chairs, ballpoint pens
and nylon tights. The majority of these products ultimately land in a rubbish tip.
The rubbish that is burnt in refuse incinerators then produces carbon dioxide, which
in turn contributes to the greenhouse effect. Although alternative raw materials
such as natural bioplastics are now available, it is expected that during the next
few decades fossil raw materials will play a major role in non-energy use. To be