Koehler : Priority for jobs extremely well to connect with environmental protection

Luebeck: Deutscher Umweltpreis awarded for the 13th time today
Luebeck. Europe's best endowed environmental award; the Deutscher Umweltpreis, woth 500,000 EUR, was awarded for the 13th time today. Federal President Horst Koehler presented this award of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU, Osnabrueck) to the scientist, ecologist and expert for environmental education, Professor Berndt Heydemann (75, Nieklitz, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania), and to the physicist, researcher and director of the Freiburg Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), Professor Joachim Luther (64). "Environmental protection is and will be a mega topic. I am convinced that the key for the future of our country is sustainable development”, underlined Germany's head of state. Awarding them, the DBU appreciated Berndt Heydemanns scientific achievements in nature conservation and him being a pioneer of bionics, and that it was owed to Joachim Luthers commitment, that Germany was world-wide one of the leading nations in using solar energy today. The cameraman, director, producer, author and maker of animal films, Professor Heinz Sielmann (88, Duderstadt), is recognised with the honorary prize for his life work.

"The climate change is not distant future but reality.”

Addressing approximately 1,500 guests, Federal President Koehler emphasized in Luebeck, it seemed that the ecological question shrank to a special topic after four decades of global debates. Since some time the ecological politics faced a strong wind. However, it appeared certain to him, "that the true environmental challenges are still to come”. The Worldwatch Institute considered environmental problems like the climate change as one of the biggest risks for the global safety. Extreme weather scenarios clearly increased. Thousands of people felt victim to them world-wide. President Koehler: "The climate change is not distant future but reality.” Therefore the industrial countries "finally have to take any efforts” to meet their obligation from the Kyoto Statement. That was not only a rule of ecological but also of economical common sense. If some developing countries meanwhile spent only for energy imports 80% of their foreign currency, "there is an increasing lack of financial means for the so urgent combating of poverty”.

"Environmental protection is not fashion but en vogue"

One had to get out of the oil to less energy consumption, an effective use of energy and an expansion of renewable energies. This had also an economic dimension besides the ecological one. For the first time since ten years, Germany was again a world champion in exporting environmental products. Almost 1.5 million people were employed in the field of environmental protection, 500,000 more than in 1994. At present, more people worked in this field than in the car industry. The Federal President: "Prioity for jobs can therefore be extremely well connected with environmental protection.” This admittedly required effort and untiring innovation. The German manufacturers of wind-driven power stations, heat protection glazing, solar technology and gas turbines belonged to the top of the world. Successful entrepreneurs looked for the competition and wanted to be internationally leading - also in environmental protection. Horst Koehler: "I am convinced: environment, economy and jobs belong together. Environmental protection helps to spare costs, creates jobs, protects our natural life bases. In short: environmental protection is not fashion but en vogue.”

"There is a fire in him, which is nourished from the passion and the love for the nature"

In her eulogy emphasized Dr. Margot Scheithauer, member of the award jury, that Professor Heydemann was a protruding scientist, who looked his whole life into environmental protection and nature conservation, bionics and ecotechnology. However, he was not only an outstanding scientist, but primarily a man who convinced and came over people with enthusiasm. Margot Scheithauer: "And there is a fire in him, which is nourished from the passion and the love for the nature.” Undoubtedly, however, the Nieklitz Futur Park was the peak of his work. He received the environmental award for his lifelong untiring commitment to environmental protection, bionics; ecotechnology and environmental education. Mrs Scheithauer: "Actually, we should say ‘for his previous work' since Professor Heydemann is only 75 years old - and already the German poet Goethe said: ‘Increase in knowledge brings increase in unrest.' And so it is logical that Professor Heydemann now thinks again of a future enlargement of his centre.”

"It is to be owed to his working that Germany is today leading in the use of solar energy.”

Going to Professor Luther, she underlined that the solar energy contributed to solving future energy problems. Anyone was conscious that fossil fuels were only available to a limited scale in future. Therefore, a change of the energy systems was inevitable, however, it had to be tackled. A man, who worked for 25 years on solving these problems with topmost commitment, was Professor Luther. Margot Scheithauer: "It is to be owed to his working that Germany is today leading in the use of solar energy.” He had not only a high technical competence, but a noteworthy skill to transfer his research to applicable solutions. 15 to 16 patents per year were an expressive certificate. Professor Luther received the award for his excellent works in research of solar energy but above all also for the successful market launch together with the industry. He had an excellent reputation and was member of many international and national committees. He raised his influence for the solar energy as advisor of the Federal Government. "And so it is the pillar for our future energy supply.”

In the year 2050 in high-tech countries like Germany more than 50% of the energy demand is covered by renewable energies

Professor Luther underlined the anti nuclear movement of universities had left its mark on his concentration on solar energy. "We have been asked: what is to be done alternatively? One cannot be only against something.” As a logical consequence, physicists started to think about sustainable energy supply and solar energy. Almost everyone had access to solar energy. If this technology was advanced any further, "this will help to save our world.” His personal vision was, "that in the year 2050 in high-tech countries like Germany more than 50% of the energy demand is covered by renewable energies.” He was convinced that solar energy decisively contributed to that, since solar energy was ideally usable on buildings, like it was already visible today.

Professsor Heydemann underlined his pleasure about having contributed to knowledge dissemination to other people

Professsor Heydemann underlined his pleasure about having contributed to knowledge dissemination to other people. All objects shown in the Nieklitz Centre were applicable in practise and improved technical procedures. Scientists in bionics had to take into account what is too expensive or in too short supply. The question was, if that what one could learn from nature could be cheaper than the previously used.

Platzeck expressed his thanks for all Mr Sielmann had done for Brandenburg

The TV journalists Wolf von Lojewski, Johannes B. Kerner and the Brandenburg Minister-President Matthias Platzeck, appreciated the commitment of Heinz Sielmann, winner of the honorary prize for his life's work. Via video messages, they underlined his love and respect for the nature, which was characterised by the insight that man is neither the most important nor the unique living thing on earth. Matthias Platzeck expressed his thanks for all Mr Sielmann had done for Brandenburg. Only with his commitment it was possible to preserve and advance valuable landscapes like those after brown coal mining or the former military exercise area Doebritzer Heide.

Trittin pleaded also for a further consequent use of renewable energies

Juergen Trittin, Federal Minister for the Environment, pointed out that environmental organisations might not be only appreciated in drivelling speeches. They had to be offered everyday life rights like the new Federal Nature Conservation Law. The support of nature conservation and of environmental organisations might not to be decreased towards zero. Nature protection was more than the attempt to enclose nature in reservations and to made it inaccessible for people. Minister Trittin pleaded also for a further consequent use of renewable energies in order to spare million tons of green house gases. Ecological and economical challenges were united. Therefore the task was to generate 25% of electricity; heat, fuels and chemicals from renewable sources in the next 15 years, in order to slow down the climate change and to keep Germany's competitiveness as industrial country.

Environmental policy helped modern technologies on the road to success

Even today more energy was generated from renewable sources than from conventional ones. Nuclear energy had still a declining share of 5.7 %, the renewables increasing 6.4 %. Juergen Trittin expressed his convictions that "for an ecological step backwards no political majority” existed. Environmental policy was a modern strategy protecting competition and future and helped modern technologies on the road to success.
“Environmental protection is and will be a mega topic. I am convinced that the key for the future of our country is sustainable development”, underlined Germany’s head of state Horst Köhler.