19 Jul 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

620,000 jobs hinge on combustion engine - study / "Fading oil cartel"

Institute for Economic Research (ifo) / German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA)

A ban on registering new combustion engine passenger cars from 2030 would directly or indirectly affect around 620,000 jobs in Germany – or 10 percent of the country’s industrial workforce, according to a study by Institute for Economic Research (ifo) for the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). These include positions that would still be required to build combustion engines for other vehicles, and new jobs would be created by the market for alternative drives. But small and medium-sized enterprises would struggle to cope with the transition to this new technology, the study says. In terms of environmental impact, the ban would cut CO2 emissions from passenger cars by 32 percent between 2030 and 2050, compared to a business-as-usual scenario. However, this figure assumes that the additional electricity comes from renewables. 

Find the study in German with an English overview here and the VDA press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossiers The Energiewende and German carmakers and The energy transition's effect on jobs and business.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

In an opinion piece for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Martin Gropp argues that the Green Party's proposal for a ban on the combustion engine is heavy handed, and relying on incentives and carmakers' ingenuity would be more fruitful. “A ban on a whole technology unnecessarily limits carmakers’ room to manoeuvre," he writes. "To use competition and specify the political goals for climate and health protection in a technology-neutral way would be more appropriate for a market economy."

Read the opinion piece in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossiers The Energiewende and German carmakers and The energy transition's effect on jobs and business.


SPD deputy chairman Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel has called for close cooperation between carmakers and the state to protect jobs as the sector shifts away from fossil fuels, Stephan Haselberger reports for Tagesspiegel. “We have to ensure that e-cars are fully ‘Made in Germany'" – including battery cells, Schäfer-Gümbel told the newspaper. The government and industry must stop passing responsibility for the transition to electric mobility back and forth between them, he argues.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossiers The Energiewende and German carmakers and The energy transition's effect on jobs and business.


Porsche may give up diesel engines by the end of the decade, Reuters reports. Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said “we have not made a decision on it,” adding the company was “of course” looking into this issue following the emissions cheating scandal that implicated the luxury brand as well as its parent company Volkswagen, the article says. Reuters says Porsche is the first German carmaker to publicly contemplate ending the use of diesel engines.

Read the article in English here

For background see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

German car manufacturers are willing to pay for certain upgrades and retrofitting to reduce their diesel cars’ nitrogen oxide emissions and help avoid driving bans, Peter Fahrenholz writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. BMW and Audi signalled to the Bavarian government they would pay for software updates, but critics say this is not enough to bring down emissions, Fahrenholz says. Daimler announced it would recall 3 million diesel cars for software updates.

Read the article in German here

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

Tageszeitung (taz)

Closely monitored regulations on the car industry should be implemented on an EU level, as this is “apparently difficult” within Germany, Martin Unfried writes in an opinion piece for tageszeitung (taz). Unfried says the German government is too cosy with the auto industry. Unless measures such as banning registration of new combustion-powered cars or quotas for e-cars like China's make for the speedy electrification of the transport sector, driving bans could not be averted, he argues.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

Handelsblatt Global

The switch to renewable energies will make oil and gas “increasingly less important trump cards” in geopolitical conflicts and lessen energy’s significance “as one of the strategic causes of geopolitical conflicts,” writes German utility E.ON’s CEO Johannes Teyssen in a guest commentary for Handelsblatt. “By the middle of this century at the latest, electricity will be the new oil, and to an increasing extent, this electricity will be produced from renewable energy forms," Teyssen writes. "The electrical society of the long-term future will [be based] on wind, solar energy and other renewable energy sources. This will also increasingly change the geopolitical landscape because power struggles for wind and sun are pointless.”

Read the guest commentary in English here.

For background read the CLEW article Sino-German tandem: Export champions promote global energy transition and the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and its implications for international security.

Welt Online

German fishermen want to be allowed to fish between offshore wind turbines in the North Sea but operators are worried about insufficient insurance cover in case of damage to their installations, Birger Nicolai and Daniel Wetzel write on Welt Online. Fishing in offshore wind farms is allowed in Denmark but prohibited in Germany, where fishermen are now demanding change under the principle of equal treatment, the authors say. “The wind power industry has arrived at the reality of everyday economic life,” the article says, calling for economic sectors restricted by the technology to defend themselves.

Read the article in German here (behind paywall).

For more information on wind power’s impact on the country, see the CLEW dossier Onshore wind power in Germany.

Spiegel Online

With more cooperation on energy infrastructure, European states could counter the risks associated with fluctuating supply of wind power, Ralph Diermann writes on Spiegel Online. According to a study in Nature Climate Change, variable weather conditions cause Europe’s wind power generation to fluctuate by around 22 gigawatts (GW) on average. That figure could climb to 100 GW by 2030 as capacity expands. Most of Europe’s offshore wind turbines are in the North Sea but researchers say distributing them over a larger area could substantially lower the risk of interruption, Diermann writes. This would require increased grid connections across the continent. Volker Quaschning of university TH Berlin says more PV installations could also help balance wind power. “Wind and solar power installations almost never run at full capacity simultaneously,” he argues.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet How can Germany keep the lights on in a renewable energy future?

Federal Ministry for the Environment

German discount supermarket chain Aldi Süd has been honoured by German environment minister Barbara Hendricks for its efforts to integrate climate protection into its business practices, the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUB) said in a press release. “Climate protection and economic success are not mutually exclusive,” Hendricks said as she welcomed the food discounter to the Climate Protection and Energy Efficiency Group of the German Economy. The BMUB says Aldi Süd uses solar panels to power over 1,250 of its stores, provides e-car charging posts to its customers free of charge at several locations, and saved over 10 million kilowatt hours of power through energy management in 2016.

Read the press release in German here.

For background, see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.

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