Regine Günther – many paths to carbon neutrality

Regine Günther has been the new Director of the Climate Neutrality Foundation since August 2022.

Climate targets should not be allowed to fail because of technical issues, says Regine Günther. She has been Director of the Climate Neutrality Foundation since August. The foundation makes recommendations to policymakers on how Germany can achieve its climate targets.

With climate neutrality, Germany and the EU have set themselves ambitious goals. “The task now is to achieve implementation as quickly as possible,” says Regine Günther.

For the 59-year-old, the new position is a logical continuation of past actions. She has been involved in the fight against climate change for more than 25 years. Günther headed the climate and energy department at WWF, and from 2016 to 2021, she was Senator in Berlin for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection.

“As a senator, I was able to implement things in a very concrete way, though the reach is primarily local,” she says. Now her work has a longer perspective, the effect is not immediately visible. On the other hand, she says, the foundation has a Germany-wide, European and international focus. For Günther, the change was appealing; her work moves between NGOs, politics and the foundation: they could all contribute to climate protection in their own way. “These are very different levers to pull,” says Regine Günther, “and we need them all for effective climate protection.”

Climate neutrality and geopolitics

At the Climate Neutrality Foundation, she is now investigating how climate goals are linked to international geopolitics. Russia’s attack on Ukraine has massive implications for international climate policy, she said. “We need to consider how to establish the security of supply in strategic goods and raw materials that we need for a climate-neutral economy,” says the foundation’s director. We must not allow ourselves to be blackmailed, she adds. Countries can no longer be sure that the world market will provide all goods at all times.

Where does Germany get the raw materials for batteries? Where do strategically important goods come from? In the case of solar panels, for example, Germany is currently heavily dependent on China. This is a so-called cluster risk that should be broken down, says Regine Günther.

The foundation now wants to identify such political dependencies. There has not yet been a comprehensive systemic analysis. Regine Günther expects the first results in the first half of next year. Jana Hemmersmeier

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