Vice Chancellor of Germany, 1998-2005

I think energy security means in the future diversifying the supplies and also decreasing the dependency on conventional, mostly fossil fuels, and investing in to the direction of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Let me add to the definition of security from a scientific and political point of view. It is wise for every political party in the democracy or every politician to strive for security. I would even say it is a duty to do that. And if you look to the history of mankind, Europe too, for human civilization the energy question is a key factor, a factor that define seven the character of a civilization, definitely since industrialization. The energy issue is the most important issue, if we put aside war and peace. But I think itis from the very basics, the most important issue also for war and peace. And, therefore it started all with steam and was transformed into electricity. And if you are looking for the future of energy security, every one of us depends on electricity today even more than yesterday, and we will depend even more in the future on electricity, meaning energy in an IT-based society and in an IT-based world.

Think about it, four weeks without electric power would lead to the end of the world as we know it. We can deal with short-term interruptions, but in four weeks, it’s not a long-term interruption, it would be a complete collapse of society as we know it. Therefore, energy security I think is a key element. Traditionally, energy security was seen as part of security policy of strategic policies. Dependency on foreign energy supplies, which is not under control of a state or a political power, was seen as a risk, and still is. If you look to Europe, nowadays, our energy dependency for example in relation to Russia is very strong. So, it would be wise and in European interests not to interrupt our energy relations to Russia and to diversify our energy supplies.

I think energy security means in the future diversifying the supplies and also decreasing the dependency on conventional, mostly fossil fuels, and investing in to the direction of renewable energy and energy efficiency. I think energy efficiency is a key factor. If you look to nature, nature is extremely efficient in using energy. Because there is no life without acertain form of energy. Nature is extremely efficient and we should learn from nature. I think it is one of the biggest resources we have. And of course there is scale of development between countries which are richer, more developed, less developed and poor countries. I think this is the responsibility of rich countries to invest into the future. And future in the 21st century means not the future of one country. It is completely old-fashioned. Because if you think only in the borders of one country, what does that mean? If the rich think they are not dependent on the poor, it would be a big, big, big, miscalculation. In the 21st century we around the globe are interdependent. And one country cannot survive, we are interdependent and the global economy created a new interdependency. And therefore I think we have a responsibility as rich countries to move ahead in innovations, but also the countries like China and other countries that are trying to speed up and are reaching the level of development I think have a responsibility. So I hope that the Paris agreement, which was for me really a huge step forward, will be implemented. Because this could really make the big difference.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, I hope that this conference once again in this wonderful environment will contribute to energy security not only in the traditional way, but also in the sense I tried to explain for the 21st century.