On 1 November 2011, Ecoscholars held its fall 2011-2012 Kickoff Event. The event, hosted by Ecologic Institute, featured Director R. Andreas Kraemer discussing the history, current status and future implications of Germany's nuclear power phase-out, renewable energy legislation and climate policy. This was followed by a lively question and answer session and discussion between Ecoscholars participants.
R. Andreas Kraemer provided an overview of the historical and political context of Germany's nuclear history, describing the evolution of the unique German perspective on nuclear and renewable energy. He noted that Germany's clean energy future and plan to phase out all nuclear power plants by the end of 2022 is supported by both public opinion and by clear technical and economic plans. Forecasts predict that Germany will achieve 35 percent renewable power in its energy mix by 2020, 50 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050, and some estimates show that even 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 is possible.
R. Andreas Kraemer concluded that economics and public pressure based on social and environmental concerns will cause other countries to follow in Germany’s footsteps. Germany will enable this transition by taking the lead and demonstrating that the choice to shift towards renewable energy and away from nuclear is not only possible but also advantageous.
Attending Ecoscholars members represented Berlin-based research institutes, universities, think tanks and other organizations. Members’ diverse environmental interests and backgrounds contributed to an animated discussion covering numerous aspects of energy and nuclear policy. During the roundtable discussion that followed, participants debated the merits of energy strategy within and outside of Germany. Questions were raised addressing regional energy strategy, building and incentivizing energy storage, shifting energy demand, contrasted benefits of different technologies, regulatory options, and international public opinion on domestic energy policy.
Ecoscholars is an initiative of international scholars coordinated by the Ecologic Institute. It is a discussion and networking group for international researchers, scholars, fellows, and professionals who are involved in climate change, energy, sustainability, and other environmental fields. Ecoscholars operates on a traditional academic calendar, with a kick-off event for "newcomers" during the fall.