Close swimming pools to save gas – this idea was brought up by the general manager of the Berlin Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK), Jan Eder. “We should actually close the swimming pools and tell people: You have to jump into the lake now to save gas,” Eder told RBB Inforadio on Monday. Criticism then rained down on the economic functionary – from AfD, FDP, SPD, Left and CDU, but also from the State Sports Association (LSB).
“I don’t think much of it,” said Lars Düsterhöft, social affairs spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group. “We’re also talking about swimming courses.” These are particularly important for schoolchildren. According to Christian Wolf, energy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, school swimming and club sports must remain possible. “Because in autumn and winter you can’t just jump into the lake.” LSB President Thomas Härtel takes a similar view: “Swimming in particular makes an important contribution to public services.”
Criticism of Eder also came from the AfD. “Anyone who calls for the closure of swimming pools in the middle of the hot season shows that they don’t care about the everyday needs of ordinary people,” said Ronald Gläser, spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group.
“Of course we are aware that energy savings have to be made in all areas,” said LSB President Hartel. Of course, sport must also make its contribution and check its infrastructure accordingly. The LSB and all those involved – including the Berlin baths – are working together at full speed on measures to avert the worst consequences of an impending energy crisis.
The press spokesman for the left faction, Thomas Barthel, pointed out that the bathing establishments had already done something to lower the water temperature. This was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the Berlin baths: “We reduced the temperature in the summer pools by two degrees at the beginning of May and in the indoor pools by one degree.”
According to the spokesman for climate, environment and consumer protection of the CDU parliamentary group, Danny Freymark, there are better ways to save gas. “After the long pandemic, Berliners are looking forward to cooling down, especially in these hot days. We don’t want to take that pleasure away from them,” he said.
According to the FDP parliamentary group, the closure of swimming pools would only have a minor effect on overall gas consumption. “There are expedient measures,” said Wolf. “Reducing the water temperature is suitable for saving gas in the short term. In the medium term, investments in solar thermal or photovoltaic systems, for example, must reduce gas consumption.”
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At the end of savings considerations one is far from, said Eder in the RBB. He expects “a much harder time.” Everyone has to make their contribution. Eder asked the Senate for a concept that would support industry. “Bridging and support” are important. Above all, the legal situation must be changed so that more energy can be saved in general instead of shutting down companies. So every company has a chance to stay in the market.
According to the IHK, around 50,000 jobs in Berlin’s industry – around half of the manufacturing sector – depend on the gas supply. If these were more severely affected by the gas supply shortage, the consequences would be immense.