Clean Energy Wire
The next German government alliance should not “seal a coalition agreement that does not include the goal of achieving the 2020 target,” Jochen Flasbarth, state secretary in the environment ministry told the Clean Energy Wire. “The 2020 target is about political credibility and decisive for the question of how easy or hard the path will be toward achieving the 2030 commitments,” he said. For Germany, it was necessary to “drop the 80 to 95 percent emissions reduction idea” for the year 2050. Making the country almost greenhouse gas neutral by that time would not work by reducing emissions by only 80 percent. “When focusing on an 80 percent reduction one could have the false impression that certain energy processes may remain fossil fuel-based. That’s not possible when the goal is near-complete greenhouse gas neutrality. Because this means that only agriculture and certain industrial processes would be allowed a limited amount of emissions, but that’s it. Otherwise we’ll go into technology development that leads into dead ends,” said Flasbarth. The best example for this was bioenergy. “It was the wrong decision to push biogas technology as much as we did, and politicians have to take responsibility for that,” he told Clean Energy Wire.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets and the dossiers The energy transition and climate change and Bioenergy in Germany.
A pilot project by Dutch grid operator TenneT and German company Sonnen is meant to test power grid stabilisation with blockchain technology based on Sonnen’s decentralised home energy storage systems, TenneT says in a press release. TenneT will integrate the home storage units in its power grid via blockchain technology to allow for a more flexible and rapid adaptation to intermittent power supply by renewable energy sources, the press release says. “We are using green energy from storage systems as an alternative to coal or nuclear power for bridging transmission bottlenecks,” says Philipp Schröder, managing director and chief sales and marketing officer at Sonnen.
Find the press release in English here.
For background on blockchain technology, see this CLEW factsheet.
Carmakers BMW, Daimler, VW and Ford announced details on their plan to launch a high-power charging network for electric cars across Europe. The network, dubbed IONITY, shall comprise about 400 fast charging stations spread over the continent by 2020 to “make long-distance journeys easier,” VW’s luxury subsidiary Porsche said in a press release. Other car manufacturers “are invited to help expand the network,” it adds.
See the press release in English here.
Read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers for more information.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The renowned German environmentalist an co-president of the sustainability organisation Club of Rome, Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, has warned that a quick phase-out of cars with combustion engines could lead to several unintended consequences that are rather harmful for the environment, the Franfkurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. “Please, no hasty reactions,” von Weizsäcker said with regard to the ongoing federal coalition talks between the conservative CDU/CSU alliance, the pro-business FDP and the environmentalist Green Party. The Green Party is demanding a ban for newly registered cars with combustion engines by 2030, but von Weizsäcker says that e-cars are in fact “more damaging for the climate” than other vehicles, given today’s power mix that contains a huge share of fossil energy sources and the emissions created by battery production. Weizsäcker, a Social Democrat (SPD) who founded the environmental research unit Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy and helped prepare Germany’s nuclear exit as a member of parliament, said more research should be done on developing power-toe-gas technologies to invent climate-friendly combustion engines.
See the article in German here.
Read the CLEW articles Combustion engine ban splitting point in coalition talks on transport and Why the German diesel summit matters for climate and energy, and the factsheet The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany for background.
Germany’s Green Party is open to discuss its prominent election campaign demand to ban combustion engines in newly registered vehicles by 2030, Claudia Kade, Birger Nicolai, Philipp Vetter write in Die Welt. “We Greens are not determined to phase out combustion engines but rather to achieve the zero-emissions car,” deputy parliamentary group leader Oliver Krischer told the newspaper. If carmakers managed to replace oil in combustion engines with “climate-neutral synthetic fuels”, the Greens would welcome such a solution, Krischer said. The Greens’ demand has turned out to be a major splitting point in coalition talks on transport policy with the conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the pro-business FDP. “The party now insists that its demand for a ban was directed solely at combustion engines that run on fossil fuels,” the authors write.
Read the article in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany for more information.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Patricia Espinosa sees a more active role for China and the EU in climate diplomacy and technological development in the renewables sector after US President Donald Trump announced he would pull his country out of the Paris Climate Agreement. In an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Espinosa said that the EU had to raise its climate ambition, like everyone else. Technological development allowed European states to set more ambitious targets, said Espinosa. Asked about Germany likely missing its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target, she said that “we see a great willingness in the German government to set the course for a society that wants to largely do without CO₂ emissions”.
For background, read the CLEW dossier COP23 climate summit – All eyes on Germany.
Environment ministry (BMUB)
Germany’s environment ministry has launched the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) to strengthen internal European cooperation on climate protection, the ministry announced in a press release. The initiative will initially supply funding for 22 projects in central, eastern and southern Europe on topics such as climate protection education, energy efficiency in buildings, and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in transport and agriculture.