16 Oct 2017, 00:00
Energy and climate policy in Germany's election

Vote2017 - German elections and the Energiewende

Germans have cast their vote for a new federal parliament. Incurring heavy losses, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU alliance once again prevailed as the country's strongest political force. After the conservatives' former coalition partner SPD ruled out joining a new coalition, a government of the CDU/CSU together with the economic liberal FDP and the Green Party currently remains the only realistic option. But finding common ground on questions related to security, migration, and energy and climate policy will prove difficult. The Clean Energy Wire follows the road to the next possible Energiewende government coalition with news & background material.

The latest developments

Final results for 2017 German federal election and change to 2013. The Clean Energy Wire traces the progress of forming a new government alliance in this coalition watch. CLEW has been following the news on all energy and climate related developments of the general election campaign. Find in chronological order a list of all News Digest entries with the #Elections & Politics tag here and follow CLEW's live coverage on Twitter @cleanenergywire.



Merkel: 2020 climate target plays big role in upcoming coalition talks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she does not give up the government’s goal to reduce CO₂ emissions by 40 percent by 2020, which would “play a big role” in the upcoming talks to form a new government coalition. Germany’s broad consensus on a gradual exit from hard coal mining over the past decades could serve as a blueprint for a future lignite phase-out, she told a conference by Germany’s largest mining trade union.


CDU & Greens' energy politicians clash over Germany's coal exit speed

One week before the start of exploratory talks on forming a government coalition, aspiring German government alliance partners CDU and the Green Party agree that the country will have to phase out coal-fired power production. Yet, two of the parties’ energy representatives argued over its speed and shape at an event in Berlin.


German Greens confident pro-climate government coalition possible

Leading Green politicians in Germany are optimistic an agreement to improve the country’s patchy climate record is possible in likely coalition talks with Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the free-market FDP.


Vote in No.1 wind power state stalls Germany’s coalition talks

As Germany digests the result of this year’s federal election, the country prepares for yet another important vote, this time in the state of Lower Saxony. The early election in the country’s number one wind power state is seen as vital marker on the road to a new federal government.


Weakened Merkel set to seek coalition talks with Greens, FDP

Despite heavy losses in Germany's parliamentary elections, Angela Merkel is poised to stay Chancellor for another four years. The voters’ decision sets her conservative CDU/CSU party alliance on course for coalition talks with the Green Party and the Free Democrats as the SPD ruled out continuing the so-called grand coalition. Talks for what would become Germany’s first three-party-government are likely to become difficult. However, a strengthened Green Party is likely to push for stepping up Germany's climate protection efforts.


Climate & energy stumbling blocks for Jamaica-coalition talks

Germany might be headed towards a new chapter in its political history with a governing coalition of the conservative CDU/CSU alliance, the economic liberal FDP, and the environmentalist Green Party looming as a real prospect for the first time ever. But turning a so-called 'Jamaica' coalition into reality might prove difficult as the parties involved traditionally stand for diverging political philosophies in many policy areas. CLEW reviews the potential coalition’s biggest energy & climate stumbling blocks.


 The long road to a new government coalition in Germany

 Graph on the time period between election day and the swearing in of the government cabinet 1990-2013. Source - CLEW 2017. Officially, the new German government is formed after the new federal parliament decides on a chancellor, but the laborious process starts much sooner. German voters expect a period of coalition talks and negotiations to follow an election. These could take longer than usual this time around, with more parties involved in the talks and the Lower Saxony state election likely to prevent early commitments. The Clean Energy Wire explains the negotiation process and provides a brief overview of the path to the next German government.


All must compromise in coalition talks, also on climate - Merkel ally

Elmar Brok, CDU politician, Member of the European Parliament (EP) and former chairman of the EP foreign affairs committee. Source - Brok. A ‘Jamaica’ coalition between the CDU/CSU, the FDP and the Greens is currently the only realistic scenario for a stable government in Germany, and all parties must compromise to prevent “dreadful” new elections, says long-time Merkel ally Elmar Brok, former head of the European Parliament’s committee on foreign affairs, who was also part of the CDU/CSU team during the coalition talks in 2013. After the 24 September general election, the future course of Germany’s climate and energy policy crucially depends on the agreement the parties can reach. The Clean Energy Wire talks to leading politicians about their perspective on the coalition negotiations.


The run up to the election on 24 September:

German election to define speed and shape of energy transition

With Germans about to cast their votes in the federal election, Chancellor Angela Merkel is virtually certain to retain power. But the make-up of the next coalition will be key to how the new government tackles a host of energy and climate challenges - not least Germany’s success or failure to meet its own 2020 emissions reduction goals. Read CLEW's election preview here.




Campaign quotes: What Merkel & Schulz say about Energiewende issues

SPD candidate Martin Schulz and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Source - Pixabay 2017. Chancellor Angela Merkel promises more precise climate goals after the elections; contender Martin Schulz calls for a binding e-car quota. In the run-up to the federal elections in Germany on 24 September, CLEW presents key campaign quotes on energy and climate from the two largest parties' candidates.



Campaign quotes: Greens and Free Democrats on Energiewende issues

Free Democrats Christian Lindner and Hermann Otto Solms, and Green Party candidates Katrin Göring-Eckardt and Cem Özdemir. The Free Democrats (FDP) want a more market-led Energiewende and abolish "dreadful subsidies" to renewables, while the Green Party favours a CO2 tax and the phase-out of conventional cars. In the run-up to the federal election in Germany on 24 September, CLEW presents key campaign quotes on energy and climate from the candidates of the two parties that might join chancellor Merkel's conservative CDU in a government coalition, should the current "grand coalition" of CDU/CSU and SPD not be renewed.


 German parties' energy & climate policy positions

See where Germany's six largest parties stand on coal, e-cars, renewables and other climate and energy topics in this factsheet.




Colour codes: How energy & climate policy differs in German coalitions

The next German government is almost certain to be a coalition of two or more parties. That means the country’s energy and climate policy will be a compromise between different party priorities. See how this will likely affect Energiewende policy of the next four years in this factsheet.

 #btw17 - Reporting on the general elections in Germany

Germany's electoral system. Source - Deutsche Welle 2017. The Clean Energy Wire has compiled contacts, links and an explanation of the voting system to help journalists report on Germany’s 2017 federal elections in this factsheet.



What energy & climate stakeholders want from Germany's next government

Energy and climate policy stakeholder demand publications for the general elections 2017. Source - CLEW 2017. Environmentalists, business associations, lobby groups, think tanks and researchers have all drawn up their wish list for future energy and climate policy ahead of the federal elections on 24 September. Whatever coalition German Chancellor Angela Merkel – widely tipped to win a fourth term – will form, those stakeholders will push hard to get their ideas for the Energiewende in the coalition agreement and high on to the next government’s agenda. The Clean Energy Wire has selected key requests from relevant stakeholders in this factsheet.


Dieselgate and climate fears fail to ignite voters' passion - pollster

Protecting the climate has become so commonplace among Germany's political parties that it is hard for one of them to stand out on an environmentalist platform, says Torsten Schneider-Haase of German opinion polling company Kantar Emnid. In the CLEW interview, the pollster explains why Germans care about the Energiewende's success and yet are unlikely to base their voting decision on it at the upcoming parliamentary elections.


Ignore 'red line' campaign talk on energy and climate – analyst

Arne Jungjohann, energy policy analyst and Green Party member. Source - Vanessa Wirth. The scope of the next government's ambition for the Energiewende depends on the constellation of its coalition, says Arne Jungjohann, energy policy analyst and Green Party member, although the shift to a renewables-based economy is not at stake. In an interview with Clean Energy Wire, Jungjohann talks about controversial issues, voter mobilisation and red lines one week ahead of the vote.






'Parties unlikely to draw energy policy red lines in coalition talks'

Christian Stecker, Senior Research Fellow at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES). Source - Stecker. German voters head to the polls on 24 September to decide the make-up of the federal parliament. The next step, however – forming a government – could take weeks, if not months. Germany’s party landscape has become more fragmented, which means that the traditional two-party alliances might not reach the necessary parliamentary majority anymore. CLEW spoke to Senior Research Fellow at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES) Christian Stecker about possible government coalitions and the policy differences that could complicate negotiations.


Merkel’s grand coalition in review: The climate and energy record

 Sebastian Bolay, Christoph Bals, Manfred Fischedick, Hermann Albers, Stefan Körzell. (left to right, top, then bottom) As the current legislative period draws to a close, The Clean Energy Wire asked key stakeholders to review the last four years of German energy and climate policy – and tell us what they would like to see from the next government.




The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany

 flow straightener. Source - Volkswagen AG 2015.Cartel allegations against Germany’s major carmakers and looming inner city driving bans for older diesel cars have turned the future of the internal combustion engine car into one of the few campaign hot topics for the upcoming general elections. Surveys show that Germans are losing trust in both the diesel technology and the car industry, but environmental questions rank relatively low among topics crucial for the voter decision. The Clean Energy Wire provides key quotes from German politicians, their parties' national election programmes, and industry players on the future of the combustion engine.



The road to the next Energiewende government

Reichstag, home of the German Bundestag (c) Deutscher Bundestag / Simone M. NeumannThis factsheet provides an overview of relevant events over the coming months, and will be updated as new dates are set.





Party election programmes

Conservatives' election programme sticks to national climate goals

Joint election programme by the conservative alliance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian sister party CSU. Photo source - CLEW 2017. The conservative alliance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian sister party CSU has pledged to stick to the country’s national climate targets, including the long fought-over Climate Action Plan 2050, in the two parties’ joint programme for September’s federal election. See the full programme here.




SPD election programme draft includes CO₂ floor price, climate protection law

Logo of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD). Source - 2017. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) wants to develop a national climate protection law and possibly start negotiations to agree minimum prices for CO₂ on a European level, the party says in its federal election campaign programme. See the full programme here.







"End the sustained subsidies system of the EEG”

Cover of the Free Democrats' preliminary programme for the 2017 German parliamentary elections - Source / FDPThe German Free Democratic Party (FDP) wants to “end the sustained subsidies system of the [Renewable Energy Act] EEG” with its priority grid access and feed-in tariffs for renewables, the party writes in its programme for the autumn general elections. See the full programme here.






“Investing in renewable energy, disempowering energy corporations”

Cover of the preliminary campaign programme for the federal elections 2017 by Left Party. Source - Left Party 2017.In its federal election campaign programme, the Left Party advocates the “socially fair ecologic transition created by the people in a democratic way”, with renewable energies, a coal exit, ecologic mobility, climate protection, a sustainable economy and the fight against energy poverty at the core. See the full programme here.




The Green Party's draft election programme - a first look

Cover of the preliminary campaign programme for the federal elections 2017 by Green Party. Source - Green Party 2017. The Green Party's election programme focuses on the “ecological modernisation” of Germany. In the run-up to September’s parliamentary elections, the Greens set out their aims of reinvigorating renewables development, giving up coal and weaning heating and transportation of fossil fuels. See the full programme here.





Ending the project decarbonisation and abolishing the Climate Action Plan 2050

Cover of the preliminary campaign programme for the federal elections 2017 by Alternative for Germany (AfD). Source - AfD 2017. The right-wing party Alternative for Germany (AfD) questions the scientific consensus that climate change is mainly caused by humans, wants the country to exit the Paris Climate Agreement and abolish the recently adopted Climate Action Plan 2050, according to the its campaign programme for the upcoming federal elections. See the full programme here.




Party interviews

"Conditions for a coal exit are lacking"

Germany currently does not have the necessary conditions to set a clear target date for exiting coal, says the SPD's energy spokesman Bernd Westphal. Read the interview here.









“There’s no way around a coal exit law”

 Eva Bulling-Schröter, Member of the German Bundestag and spokesperson for energy and climate policy for the Left Party’s parliamentary group. Source - Office of Bulling-Schröter 2017. Eva Bulling-Schröter, Member of the German Bundestag and spokesperson for energy and climate policy for the Left Party’s parliamentary group, talks to CLEW about her party’s climate and energy policy.






"We’re not here to protect German carmakers"

says Hermann Otto Solms, energy expert of the Free Democratic Party (FDP). Find out more about the party's energy policy ambitions in this interview.





"We will have to talk about a gradual end to renewables support."

Thomas Bareiß, Member of the German Bundestag and Representative for Energy Policy of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group.says Thomas Bareiß, Member of the German Bundestag and Representative for Energy Policy of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group. Read the interview here.







"We have to deliver on the Paris targets"

Anton Hofreiter, chairman of the German Greens' parliamentary group. says Anton Hofreiter, chairman of the German Greens' parliamentary group. Read the interview here






Efficient sector coupling and digitalisation post-election key topics

Many aspects of energy policy will have to be pursued regardless of which party prevails in elections, says Rainer Baake, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Read the article here.




Merkel shuns energy, climate at party conference focused on security, migration

Chancellor Merkel speaks at the CDU federal party conference in Essen, December 2016.Chancellor Angela Merkel and her party left energy and climate policy on the sidelines at the Christian Democratic Union’s (CDU) conference in Essen. Read the full story here.






German Greens to make coal exit, fossil car ban an election focus

Green Party delegates at the federal conference in Münster, November 2016. Banning combustion engines inand exiting coal-fired power production are likely to be two key Green Party demands in the general elections. Although the party won’t adopt a final programme before summer, the party convention's results will serve as guidelines for 2017.

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