AP

Berlin bathers brave cold to help cut Russian gas dependence

May 2, 2022, 7:04 AM | Updated: 7:26 am

People swim in Prinzenbad outdoor pool in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 2, 2022. It's a sunny May mo...

People swim in Prinzenbad outdoor pool in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 2, 2022. It's a sunny May morning as the early crowd arrives for a dip at Berlin's Prinzenbad outdoor pool, but the air is still crisp and the water isn't much warmer, one of many small impacts that German is currently feeling from the war in Ukraine. (AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

BERLIN (AP) — It’s a sunny May morning as the early crowd arrives for a dip at Berlin’s Prinzenbad outdoor pool, but the air is still crisp and the water isn’t much warmer — one of many small impacts that Germany is currently feeling from the war in Ukraine.

“Berlin’s pools have decided to heat the water a little bit less, to contribute to reducing the dependence on Russian gas supplies,” said Martina van der Wehr, a spokeswoman for the German capital’s public baths.

The regulars don’t seem to mind.

Sabine Gutenmueller, a physiotherapist with an annual pool pass, said she was skeptical at first when she heard the water would be about 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) cooler than usual. That took it to 20 C (68 degrees Fahrenheit), about 5 degrees Celsius higher than the air temperature.

“The temperatures outside aren’t really warm yet,” Gutenmueller said. “But it wasn’t as cold as I expected.”

Klaus, an 84-year-old swimmer who declined to give his last name, said he was fine with the cooler water as well, considering the sky-high cost of energy these days and the looming risk that Russia might cut off supplies to countries it deems hostile — such as Germany.

“I think it’s really good the temperatures are a bit lower, because that way we’ll save a lot,” he said. “After all, we need the gas for other things.”

The German government recently urged citizens to cut back their energy use by turning down radiators, switching off the lights and working from home rather than driving to the office.

“As a rule of thumb I’d suggest: saving 10% is always possible,” Robert Habeck, Germany’s economy and energy minister said last month.

Aside from softening the blow of high energy prices, the appeal is also intended to help Germany wean itself off Russian oil, coal and gas.

Germany is estimated to have paid Russia more than 9.1 billion euros ($9.6 billion) since the war began more than two months ago. Critics claimed these imports help finance Moscow’s war against Ukraine.

Speaking Monday before heading to Brussels for talks about a possible European Union embargo on Russian oil, Habeck warned that consumers will likely have to bear the costs of higher energy prices passed on by companies — a factor that’s already spurring record inflation.

It is unclear whether the belt-tightening calls will have any impact on government officials themselves. None of the ministries contacted by The Associated Press were able to detail any new measures to reduce energy use in federal buildings since the start of the war.

Still, officials pointed to the government’s long-running efforts to cut back on fossil fuel as part of its plan to reduce the country’s emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gas.

Selma Nielsen, a 42-year-old theater agent taking an early-morning dip at the Prinzenbad on Monday, said the pool’s decision to lower the water temperature was overdue.

“I think it’s a good thing, not just because of Ukraine but for the climate,” she said. “As such, I think it’s a step in the right direction.”

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Several hundred students and pro-Palestinian supporters rally at the intersection of Grove and Coll...

Associated Press

Pro-Palestinian protests sweep US college campuses following mass arrests at Columbia

Columbia canceled in-person classes, dozens of protesters were arrested at New York University and Yale, and the gates to Harvard Yard were closed to the public Monday.

2 days ago

Ban on sleeping outdoors under consideration in Supreme Court...

Associated Press

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

The Supreme Court is wrestling with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness as it considers a ban on sleeping outdoors.

2 days ago

Arizona judge declares mistrial in case of rancher who shot migrant...

Associated Press

Arizona judge declares mistrial in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a migrant

An Arizona judge declared a mistrial in the case of rancher accused of killing a Mexican man on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

2 days ago

Donald Trump appears in court for opening statements in his criminal trial for allegedly covering u...

Associated Press

Trump tried to ‘corrupt’ the 2016 election, prosecutor alleges as hush money trial gets underway

Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York over alleged hush money payments started with opening statements on Monday.

2 days ago

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

5 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Berlin bathers brave cold to help cut Russian gas dependence