26 Jul 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Carmakers must “put cards on table” -state premier/ Rising gas use

Stuttgarter Nachrichten

Allegations of a cartel of Germany’s most important carmakers to agree on prices, suppliers and technology standards have cost the industry a great deal of credibility, the Green Party state premier of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, has said, Arnold Rieger reports for Stuttgarter Zeitung. Kretschmann said the companies, including Daimler and Porsche from Baden-Württemberg, must seize the opportunity of the national diesel summit on 2 August to regain trust. This will only be possible if “everyone puts their cards on the table,” he said. Kretschmann added that the carmakers had to carry out “effective” and “controllable” retrofitting of their vehicles and quickly find a common standard mandatory for every brand. Kretschmann reiterated his opinion that modern diesel engines are a viable and clean engine technology. “I see no reason to change my mind,” he said.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article Reactions to allegations over German carmaker cartel for more information.


Debates about diesel engines constantly confuse fact with fiction, family enterprise lobbyist Lutz Goebel writes in an opinion piece for Handelsblatt. Regardless of the cartel allegations against Germany’s most important carmakers, seeing the shift to e-cars as a panacea for climate protection and human health is “one-eyed”, Goebel argues. “Only 7 percent of particulate matter comes from diesel engines,” he writes, adding that the lithium-ion batteries for e-cars “are almost all made in East Asia due to the horrendous emissions their production causes.” Overall, the CO2 footprint of an e-car “is no better than that of a combustion engine”, he says. Goebel also argues that old batteries cannot be recycled and had to be “treated like nuclear waste”, which is why banning combustion engines by 2030, as the Green Party demands, is far less desirable than working on a clean future for diesel.

See the CLEW article Reactions to allegations over German carmaker cartel for more information.

Greenpeace Germany

British plans to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 show that the combustion engine “is dying” and the national German diesel summit next week “already seems like a sad alumni reunion”, writes Greenpeace transport representative Tobias Austrup in a commentary. “Instead of preparing German carmakers for the new e-mobility era, the federal government entrenches itself with the industry and continues to dream of clean diesel,” Austrup writes.

Read a Guardian article on the British plans in English here.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Bavarian carmaker BMW has put a joint e-car charging infrastructure project with carmaker Daimler on hold after Daimler became the first German manufacturer to make a voluntary disclosure to the authorities over cartel allegations, according to company sources, write Thomas Fromm, Max Hägler and Klaus Ott for Süddeutsche Zeitung. Trust was betrayed, delaying the project, according to the article.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article Reactions to allegations over German carmaker cartel for more information.


One of Germany’s most famous children’s TV characters weighed in on the car emissions debate, swapping its combustion engine car for a bicycle in a video posted on Twitter. German public broadcaster WDR posted the video which shows the animated mouse from “Sendung mit der Maus”, an educational children’s show that's been running since 1971, scrapping its car with the parts being transformed into a bicycle, hash-tagged #switching, #dieselgate, #emissions and #cartel.

See the tweet here.

See the CLEW article Reactions to allegations over German carmaker cartel for more information.

German Association of Energy and Water Industries

Germany’s consumption of natural gas continued to rise in the first half of 2017, the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) says in a press release. Since January, Germans burned the equivalent of 516 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of natural gas, 3 percent more than over the same period last year, BDEW says. This is remarkable, since natural gas consumption had already risen by 11 percent in the first half 2016, it adds. The association says that besides the weather, the increased use of combined-heat-and-power (CHP) systems was mainly responsible for the surge in consumption. BDEW head Stefan Kapferer praised CHP as making “an important contribution to meeting the 2020 climate targets.” Germany’s total power consumption rose by 1.6 percent compared to the first half of 2016, which BDEW said was partly due to the country’s sustained economic growth.

See the press release in German here

See the CLEW factsheets Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts and Combined heat and power – an Energiewende cornerstone? for more information.

Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung

German power customers demand more green power than domestic wind, solar and biogas installations can provide, prompting energy providers to buy Norwegian certificates that allow them to label their product as “green”, Jens Heitmann writes for Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung. Norway generates 98 percent of its electricity from green sources, mainly hydropower, and sells certificates it receives for this to German providers who operate coal, gas or nuclear plants, Heitmann says. Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA) says the Norwegian certificates do little to advance the energy transition as they only count existing renewable capacity rather than increasing green power production.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Understanding the European Union’s emissions trading system for more information. 


Germany’s “headline success story” on climate protection has “a dark underside that is usually overlooked in all the fanfare,” Paul Hockenos writes for CNN Online. The country’s greenhouse gas emissions have “stagnated at about 900 million tonnes” of CO₂ per year and remain the highest in Europe “by far”, he says. “Renewables are alone not enough to beat global warming,” he says, adding that Germany “is a delinquent, not the pioneer it could be” in other areas, such as phasing out coal or rethinking transport.

Read the article in English here.

See the CLEW factsheet Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets and the CLEW dossier The energy transition and climate change for background.

Reuters Breakingviews

Germany risks “tacitly joining Donald Trump in turning its back on the Paris climate change deal” as the state governments of North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg “have vowed to protect” the lignite mining industry, writes Olaf Storbeck for Reuters Breakingviews.

Read the article in English here.

For background, read the CLEW article Coal exit: elephant in the room at vote in German industry heartland and the factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?

Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung

German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) head Stefan Kapferer warns that calls from the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) for recurring compensation payments to farmers if power transmission lines are built on their premises would make grid expansion much more expensive, writes Beate Tenfelde for Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. Such plans are “poison to the mammoth project Energiewende”, Kapferer told the newspaper. The CSU called for these payment in its  “Plan for Bavaria”, campaign programme, presented alongside the joint federal election programme with its sister party, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union.

Read the article in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid and the dossier Vote2017 - German elections and the Energiewende.

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