Who first thought about human error?
The environmental officers of the Evangelical Churches in Germany are concerned about the situation between Federal Minister Dr. Rösler and Federal Minister Altmaier agreed on a proposal for the approval of the fracking process in Germany. In the text it says: â € œDifferent independent reports come to the conclusion that the procedure can be used provided that the protection of the drinking water is guaranteed and no adverse environmental damage occurs.â €
After reading the reports submitted in 2012 and the public debates on this, the church's environmental officers found that all reports expressly point to existing serious gaps in knowledge about the effects of fracking technology, especially with regard to the chemicals used. It is therefore currently completely unclear whether fracking technology can be used safely. In particular, the experts recommend disclosure of the chemicals used in order to enable the environmental impact to be assessed. The protection of drinking water is a comprehensive task that cannot be guaranteed by the prohibition of fracking in drinking water and mineral spring protection areas alone.
The ministers write: â € œâ € ¦ so-called unconventional deposits [move] into the center of consideration. Estimates of the natural gas production potential in these deposits assume that up to 2.3 trillion m³ of natural gas can be present in the geological subsurface.â € Experience in the USA shows, however, that the forecasts made there have far overestimated the gas volume that can actually be extracted. The initial "gas frenzy" in the USA has meanwhile given way to widespread disillusionment. According to the reports for Germany, there are no reliable data on the expected gas quantities. Estimates assume a possible coverage of demand through fracking of a maximum of 15 years â € “this possibility should be left to future generations as an emergency reserve; In the context of the energy transition today, it is not necessary to attack these reserves.
As early as 2011, a church study on fracking said: â € œAn important principle of Christian ethics is to avoid techniques whose consequences are incalculable and whose application can lead to incalculable and irreversible consequential damage through human error and abuse. It must therefore be examined to what extent the use of fracking in Germany can avoid the accidents and environmental damage known from the USA. "
The church's environmental commissioners therefore ask the federal ministers to reconsider their proposed regulation. From their point of view, a nationwide moratorium on fracking should now be pronounced and the time should be used to close the knowledge gaps identified in the reports through research. Should it then turn out that the fracking technology can be used without endangering the environment and health, and should - after a successful energy transition - there is still a need in Germany for the development of natural gas with the aid of fracking, could again Consideration should be given to admission. France has followed precisely this path with its fracking ban.
Dr. Gudrun Kordecki
Board member of the working group of environmental officers of the Protestant regional churches
Institute for Church and Society of the Ev. Church of Westphalia, Schwerte
Tel. 02304 755 330
Prof. Dr. Hans Diefenbacher
Commissioner of the EKD Council for environmental issues
Research facility of the Evangelical Study Community, Heidelberg
Tel. 06221 9122 34
Takeover by epd:
Church environmental officer for moratorium on fracking
Hanover (epd). In the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the Federal Government's proposal to allow fracking in Germany is met with opposition under certain conditions. At the moment it is completely unclear whether a safe application of the technology for the promotion of shale gas is possible, according to a statement of the working group of church environmental officers, which was published on Tuesday in Hanover. In it, the church commissioners demand a nationwide moratorium on the controversial conveyor technology.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) and Economics Minister Philipp Rösler (FDP) agreed on rules for shale gas extraction at the end of February. According to this, deep drilling for the development of natural gas sources in water protection areas is to be banned and an environmental impact assessment is to be prescribed for the other cases.
The church commissioners oppose this suggestion that the protection of drinking water could not be guaranteed with a fracking ban in drinking water and mineral spring protection areas alone. In the statement, the commissioners also recall the ethical principle of avoiding techniques whose consequences are incalculable and whose application could lead to incalculable consequential damage through human error and abuse.
During the moratorium, gaps in knowledge about the effects of the use of chemicals in this funding method should be closed, recommend the Protestant environmental experts. If it turns out that the fracking technology can be used without endangering the environment or health and that Germany still has a need for new natural gas reserves, approval could be considered again. "France has gone exactly this way with its fracking ban," argue the environmental officials.
The environmental officers are also skeptical about the potential of natural gas sources. The experience in the USA showed that forecasts would have overestimated the actually extractable gas volume. The initial "gas frenzy" has meanwhile given way to widespread disillusionment. Reliable information on the gas quantities to be expected in Germany are not available. They should be left to future generations as an emergency reserve, recommend the commissioners.
For the German Sustainability Action Days in June 2014, a wide range of action options are available for work in church parishes and church institutions and groups.
Climate protection concepts in regional churches
The creation of integrated climate protection concepts is promoted as part of the funding programs of the national climate protection initiative. In these concepts, the areas of real estate, mobility and procurement are examined in detail and measures to reduce CO2 emissions are developed. A current overview can be found at the EKD's Climate Protection Project Office
Key points for a sustainable energy concept
Based on a resolution by the regional synod, the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland presented a discussion paper on energy policy in 2012. For this purpose, technical contributions to the C02-Reduction, for the energy transition and for the phase-out from nuclear energy. The discussion paper serves as a basis for being able to participate appropriately in the church and public discussion on climate protection and the energy transition. The "key points for a sustainable energy concept" were presented and discussed at two conferences in the Evangelical Academy in Bonn and at a regional synod of some church districts on energy.
In 2009, energy was the annual theme of the Education for Sustainable Development portal.
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