Energy Use in Transition – Scarcity in this Century, Sustainability later

Monday, 9. October 2006 | 14:00 Uhr


Eberhard Jochem


ETH Zurich & Fraunhofer Institute Karlsruhe


In energy and environment policy, the big challenges are consumer behaviour, insight and decision-making processes. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are the answers. Transport by road, air and sea is entirely dependent on oil. No one knows whether production will peak in 2020 or 2030. What is certain is that two-thirds of oil reserves lie in the Middle East, threatened by bilateral agreements and military intervention. Improved energy efficiency is an important objective in view of the fact that 32 to 34 percent of usable energy goes up in smoke. Important measures are so-called passive houses, lighter vehicles, optimized brakes, fuel cells, high-temperature turbines and improved materials, as well as corporate innovations such as pooling and sharing. Renewables require high levels of investment, and full market penetration cannot be expected for 50 to 70 years. Nuclear power accounts for 6.5 percent of primary energy and suffers from lack of acceptance. But with minimal risk it allows major maximum damage to be calculated. Expensive insurance protection and the risk of proliferation (nuclear power plants in “rogue states”) have to be included in the equation. For nuclear fusion it is probably too late. In general, the re-think is proving a slow process. Investments are delayed, obsolescent technology is still being exported to developing countries, the energy market is being deregulated, and business decisions are driven by short-termism. Interdisciplinary and creative approaches and a focus on present and future needs have to be fostered. Cooperation between countries and global players must be stepped up, subsidies abolished and long-term objectives aimed at, such as those demanded in the Kyoto protocol.

Eberhard Jochem

Eberhard Jochem has been Professor of Economics and Energy Economics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich since 1 August 1999. In 1999 he founded the Centre for Energy Policy and Economics (CEPE) with his colleagues Massimo Filippini and Daniel Spreng. He is also Senior Executive at the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research in Karlsruhe.

Eberhard Jochem works on engineering economic issues concerning the efficient use of energy and materials as well as energy and climate policy. His work is focused both on research and development and on innovation for efficient use of energy and also energy policy instruments and their impact on employment, foreign trade and the environment; he also follows the development of quantitative methods in these areas. The research issues are seen both from the corporate and industrial perspective and also from the administrative perspective in national, European and international terms. Since 1978 he has taught on various subjects relating to the impact of technology, the rational use of energy and the economics of natural resources at the Technical University of Karlsruhe and since 1996 on energy economics at the University of Kassel, where he was awarded the title of Professor in 1998. In 2001 he received the Federal Cross of Merit from Germany’s President for his research and transfer work on economics and politics.

After qualifying, Eberhard Jochem, born 1942 in Essen, worked as a process engineer and economist at the RWTH Aachen and the two Universities of Munich (where he gained his doctorate) and also at Harvard University in Boston (1971-1972). In 1973 he moved to the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), Karlsruhe, where he took on the function of deputy director of the institute between 1983 and 1999. He was and is a member of various national and international scientific committees, including Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group III (1997-2002), member of the Enquête Commission (1999-2002) and member of the German Federal Government Council for Sustainable Development since 2001 and of the Swiss Academy of Technical Sciences (SATW) since 2005.

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