The "climate economist" Prof. Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer (59) and the siblings Annika (28) and Hugo Sebastian (37) Trappmann, managing director and CEO of Blechwarenfabrik Limburg, will receive this year's German Environmental Award of the German Federal Foundation for the Environment (DBU), which is endowed with 500,000 euros. "This is a double award for outstanding commitment to climate protection," said DBU Secretary General Alexander Bonde. In addition, an honorary prize endowed with 10,000 euros goes to Dr. Martin Sorg (65). As a leading scientist at the Entomological Association of Krefeld, he has scientifically substantiated massive insect declines with the "Krefeld Study". As things stand at present, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will confer the prizes on October 25 in Hanover.
Pioneer in the sector of economics of climate change
"Thanks to his excellent research, science-based policy advice and high level of commitment, he is able to offer solutions to climate change that also address issues of social justice through an economic approach.” With these words, DBU Secretary General Bonde paid tribute to the Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in Berlin, Ottmar Edenhofer. Edenhofer was "a courageous navigator for politics", whose decision-making problems he took seriously. Nevertheless, he is considered an "incorruptible problem solver who never loses sight of the goal of advancing social change". As an advisor to the German government, Edenhofer made a significant contribution to the successful conclusion of the negotiations on the climate package with his idea to introduce a price for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as a controlling measure for more climate protection. The economist made outstanding contributions from 2008 to 2015 in a leading position as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and co-author of various IPCC reports. "Here, too, he saw himself as a mediator between science and politics and provided decisive impetus for a necessary reform process," said Bonde.
Bonde emphasized that the interdisciplinary approach had always attracted Edenhofer. Originally, he was influenced by social ethics and had at times belonged to the Jesuits. "That is why Professor Edenhofer has always asked himself the question of how our economic system can be developed in such a way that even low-income earners can live from their income," Bonde said. "For him, economy and morality are not opposites."
A role model for the entire industry
Energy and resource efficiency through high-tech digitalization: This is what distinguishes Blechwarenfabrik Limburg and its young managing directors, the siblings Annika and Hugo Sebastian Trappmann. "The measures taken go far beyond the usual extent and are, as a best-practice example, trend-setting for many other manufacturing industries," said DBU Secretary General Bonde. For more than ten years, Blechwarenfabrik Limburg with its 320 employees has been one of the leading sustainability-oriented companies in Germany. The company's current move to a new building was used to further digitalize production and to take a closer look at and improve all operating processes and technologies.
Bonde: "The company sets standards in energy and resource efficiency. With the new overall concept, the company emits around 2,600 tons less carbon dioxide (CO2) each year and saves around 100 tons of tinplate - a huge achievement in terms of climate and resource protection. Around a third of the electricity used in production comes directly from the company's roof. The electricity generated by the company's solar modules corresponds to the annual consumption of 450 family households. In addition, the company has set up a so-called Business Intelligence System that collects all operating data and processes it in such a way that efficiency is further increased. The young management team shows "that energy and resource efficiency is also economically profitable.
The person behind the biodiversity studies
"Dr. Martin Sorg was the person behind the methodological standards and biodiversity studies on insects developed by the Entomological Association Krefeld", said DBU Secretary General Bonde. For this reason, the DBU is also conferring an honorary prize this year. "The findings have shaken up society, politics and science," Bonde explained. After all, the scientifically based research had shown "that the total amount of flying insects in the areas under investigation has decreased by a dramatic 76 percent in the past 30 years.
In fact, the association's investigations into the decline of flying insects in the years 1989 to 2016 formed the basis for a statistical study that was published in October 2017 together with scientists from the University of Sussex (Great Britain) and Radboud University (Netherlands). "Standardized studies over a longer period of time were previously hardly available for comparable evaluations and interpretations of results," said Bonde. According to Bonde, the research also caused a sensation internationally, marking a turning point in the public perception of insects and their importance for ecosystems. "Through his science-based analyses, Doctor Sorg has effectuated a national and even international echo in the media and in the scientific community, which has ultimately led to political conferences and civil movements. "His dedication has made a significant contribution to ensuring that researchers' warnings of massive biodiversity damage were taken seriously," said Bonde, praising the entomologist's achievements.
translated by DeepL