Clean Energy Wire
Bavarian conservative parties Christian Socialist Union (CSU) and Free Voters have signed a coalition treaty for the coming five years in Germany’s southern economic power house and largest federal state. The alliance aims to make climate protection a “constitutional goal” for Bavaria and introduce a climate protection law which will include concrete CO₂ targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to under two tonnes per citizen annually by 2050. “We are setting a conscious signal for sustainable ecology. Bavaria can become greener, without the Greens,” said current state premier Markus Söder (CSU), who will likely remain head of government. Many conservatives had called for improvements and changes in this regard, and the CSU had “learned” from this, he added. The parties emphasised that they see “the most regional and decentralised energy supply possible as a great opportunity for local value creation”. Renewables expansion will be done “in agreement with” the population and municipalities, and cities will be made greener with the coalition’s “City.Climate.Nature” initiative. At the federal level, the new state government will call for more renewables capacity for Germany’s south in upcoming auctions, advocate the expansion of European emissions trading, and support federal initiatives for an internationally coordinated introduction of a CO₂ price. The state parliament will vote on a new premier on Tuesday, 06 November.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Facts on the German state elections in Bavaria.
BMU / Tagesspiegel Background
Implementing the sector targets for the year 2030 laid out in Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050 will have positive effects on the country’s economy, according to a study commissioned by the federal environment ministry (BMU). While the goals could be reached using a variety of different approaches, the positive effects would be biggest if strategies focussed on efficiency. “However, gains in many sectors are offset by declines in value added and employment in some sectors,” says the study, which compares different scenarios.
"Economic output will be 1.1 to 1.6 percent higher in 2030 if we invest in climate protection. So we will be richer, not poorer,” state secretary Jochen Flasbarth told Tagesspiegel Background in an interview. He added that power prices will not rise due to climate protection. “This is a clear and important result of the study.”
Find the study summary in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050.
Agora Energiewende / European Climate Foundation
Better insulation for existing buildings to make them more energy efficient is the cheapest and most promising way to reach 2030 climate targets in Germany’s building sector, according to a study by energy think tank Agora Energiewende* and the European Climate Foundation. Two percent of existing buildings needed to be insulated annually, which is twice the current rate. The alternative would be the large-scale use of synthetic fuels to replace fossil gas and heating oil, which could cost German households an additional 8.2 billion euros per year. Efficient buildings are the basis for the use of the entire range of technology options in heat supply - from heat pumps and heating networks to solar thermal systems and the use of power-to-gas (PtG), writes Agora Energiewende in a press release.
Find the press release and study in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Power-to-gas: Fix for all problems or simply too expensive? and the dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
Germany has long ceased to be an “exemplary student” in climate protection and turned into a “coal-black sheep” of the international community, writes Konrad Schuller in the Sunday edition of conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. An ambitious plan by the coal exit commission by the end of the year would be the country’s chance to catch up, writes Schuller. However, the grand coalition government has given the task force guidelines, which indicate there is little chance of this happening, he adds. “For example, CO₂ emissions from the energy sector are expected to decrease by only 61 to 62 percent by 2030. That is too little and too late,” writes Schuller.
Read the opinion piece (behind paywall) in German here.
For background, read the CLEW article Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out and the factsheet Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050.
Environment minister and Social Democrat (SPD) Svenja Schulze called on her party to become more vocal in environmental and climate protection policy, reports newspaper Merkur. The Social Democrats have "for a long time not been decisive and courageous enough" in environmental policy, Schulze told news agency dpa. "We will change that now.” Matthias Miersch, one of the SPD parliamentary group’s deputy leaders, also called on his party to give more weight to climate protection, writes Merkur. Miersch said it was “absurd” that the party had neglected the topic.
Read the article in German here.
A farmer family from Germany has sued the federal government for failing to take adequate climate action and damaging the family’s economic livelihood, the newspaper Tagesspiegel reports. The extreme drought in large parts of Germany in 2018 has caused the Schwienhorst family from Brandenburg severe crop losses and the family concluded that the government’s decision to scrap its own 2020 emissions reduction goal testifies to the indifference policymakers show towards the consequences global warming has on the daily life of citizens. “We don’t want financial compensation,” says farmer Heiner Schwienhorst, adding that he hopes the lawsuit will help to “initiate a policy development that I’d like to see.” The Schwienhorst family is joined by other plaintiffs from Germany and assisted legally by lawyer Roda Verheyen, who has also helped a farmer from Peru to successfully bring a lawsuit against energy company RWE over global warming to court.
See the CLEW dossier on Emission from food and farming in Germany for more information.