Call for "strong" global CO2 price / Merkel "won't budge" on climate
High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices / Clean Energy Wire
A strong global carbon price of 40-80 US dollars per tonne of CO₂ by 2020 and 50-100 US dollars by 2030 could be key to reaching climate goals and keeping the global temperature rise below two degrees, according to a new report by the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices, released today in Berlin at the Think20 Summit. Commission co-chairs Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern emphasised that revenues from such a system could be used to finance important complementing policies, e.g. promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy, innovation and investment in sustainable infrastructure. This century’s growth story was the world’s transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. “There is no other pro-growth story,” said Stiglitz at the presentation.
German Federal Government
German chancellor Angela Merkel has described the climate talks at the G7 meeting in Italy as “very unsatisfying”. The US’s reluctance to say whether it will remain in or leave the international Paris Agreement on climate protection had created a “six against one” situation, Merkel said in a press statement released by Germany’s Federal Government (Bundesregierung). “We did not beat around the bush and stated very clearly that we – the six [G7] member states plus the EU - will of course stand behind the targets,” the chancellor explained. “The Paris climate agreement is not just any agreement but rather a key treaty for the management of globalisation,” Merkel said, adding that “we will not budge from our position”.
See the CLEW article International climate community pins hopes on Merkel to sway Trump for more information.
The resolute stance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in advocating climate protection on the international stage could be seen as being at odds with her energy and climate policy at home, Silke Kersting writes in Handelsblatt Global. “Not much is left of the climate chancellor of 10 years ago,” Jan Kowalzig, of Oxfam Germany, told the newspaper. Half of Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction was not thanks to ambitious policy, but rather deindustrialisation in eastern Germany following the breakdown of the former GDR’s industry, Kowalzig explained. Germany also does not make any tangible progress with respect to a timetable for exiting coal-fired power production, puts the interests of its auto industry over a vehicle emissions reform on the EU level, and is likely to miss its own 2020 emissions reduction goal, Kersting writes.
Read the article in English here.
See the CLEW factsheet The story of "Climate Chancellor" Angela Merkel for more information.
Germanwatch / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Environmental and development NGO Germanwatch is “relieved” that all leaders except US President Donald Trump clearly committed to the Paris Climate Agreement and there was no “weakening or re-interpretation” of the accord, the organisation writes in a statement. The upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg was now “even more important for international climate policy” and leaders should then be clearer on how the Paris Agreement will be implemented.
In a separate opinion piece for for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Henrik Roßbach writes Trump sought “the applause of his supporters at home more than that of his [international] counterparts.” The other G7 leaders were "not ready for self-denial and falling behind what had been tediously negotiated over years with a weak compromise for the sake of Trump,” writes Roßbach.
Also read the CLEW article International climate community pins hopes on Merkel to sway Trump and an interview with Greenpeace’ Jennifer Morgan: "Merkel's experience, credibility make her key in swaying Trump".
The search of Daimler offices last week by prosecutors reveals that the diesel engine has become the biggest and most dangerous problem for German carmakers, writes Grischa Brower-Rabinowitsch in a commentary for business daily Handelsblatt. The companies were late to take the chance to lead the mobility revolution. They have instead become so dependent on the diesel that a quick exit is not an option, even if they wanted to. “The diesel could become obsolete much quicker than the companies believed a few years, months, or even days ago. The car industry must switch gears even more quickly,” writes Brower-Rabinowitsch.
Find the commentary in German (behind paywall) here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier BMW, Daimler, and VW vow to fight in green transport revolution.
The lack of emotional advertising by carmakers is an important reason for the slow uptake of e-cars in Germany, writes Thomas Fromm in a commentary for Süddeutsche Zeitung. “If only they had worked on the image of hip e-cars on time, instead of constantly sitting in front of the old diesel engine, electric vehicles would no longer have to fight against the widespread suspicion of being a waiver declaration on wheels, and today things would be much easier for the companies.”
Read the commentary in German here.
Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW)
Future CO2 regulation of cars and trucks will play a substantial role in climate policy because of road traffic’s key position in mobility, according to the Cologne Institute for Economic Research. In a compendium on European CO2 rules, the institute argues that an effective emissions reduction must take into account the entire existing car fleet, instead of solely focusing on new vehicles.
Find the compendium in English here.
The German solar industry is confident that the country’s renewables expansion targets and the growing impact of energy storage solutions will boost the sector’s progress, Welt Online reports. Carsten Körnig, head of the German Solar Industry Association (BSW), said the recent insolvency of Germany’s former solar champion SolarWorld had been “bitter news” but did not mean that there was no growth prospect for the sector. “A robust upswing is in the offing,” Körnig said. A main driver for this was the fall in prices of energy storages that are capable of balancing solar power’s intermittent power supply, Körnig explained.
Read the article in German here.
See the CLEW article Last major German solar cell maker surrenders to Chinese competition for more information.
Ministry for Economic Affairs / German Wind Energy Association / German Engineering Federation / Industrial Union of Metalworkers
Technological progress, systematic services, and efficiency have made the German wind power industry “a powerhouse of the energy industry”, according to Uwe Beckmeyer, state secretary in the Ministry for Economic Affairs (BMWi). In a press release following a conference on the German wind industry’s future, Beckmeyer said “competitiveness in export, innovation and digitalisation” were the main components for its sustained success. In a joint declaration, the German Wind Energy Association (BWE), the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) and the Industrial Union of Metalworkers (IG Metall) said employers, employees and social partners had to work together to ensure investment- and employment-friendly conditions in Germany. The lobby groups acknowledged that research funding by the BMWi in recent years had greatly contributed to technological progress and falling costs.
See the CLEW article Citizens’ energy projects dominate first onshore wind power auction for more information.
Swedish utility Vattenfall will not sell its financially struggling Moorburg coal plant in Hamburg despite revamping its business model towards more renewable energy sources and digitalisation of the energy system, Björn Hartmann writes in Hambuger Abendblatt. Moorburg was critical for supply security in northern Germany, Tuomo Hatakka, the head of Vattenfall Germany, told the newspaper. Hatakka said “it is a fact that Moorburg is not going to be a good investment for Vattenfall”. But he added he was confident the plant could be run at a profit once the row with the European Court of Justice over lacking environmental standards was over and power prices picked up.
Read the article in German here.
For background, see the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition.