13 Nov 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann

CDU negotiator: coal exit in 2030s possible / Speed limit for climate?

Climate Home News

The chief energy policy negotiator of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU in the ongoing ‘Jamaica coalition’ talks, North Rhine-Westphalia’s (NRW) State Premier Armin Laschet, said that Germany could give up coal-fired power production by the 2030s, Karl Matthiesen writes on Climate Home News. “We don’t have an end date”, Laschet said. “The expectation is it could be the thirties.” Laschet added that the Green Party’s demand to rapidly take 8-10 gigawatt (GW) of coal power off the grid might threaten its stability, arguing that as much as 5GW could be safely removed.

Read the article in English here.

See CLEW’s Coalition Watch for latest developments in the ongoing talks over a new German government, and find a Twitter message by Felix Matthes of the Institute for Applied Ecology on the amount of coal power that can be taken off line in the short term here.


Over 80 percent of Germans aged between 18 and 67 say the country needs to step up its efforts to reduce the transport sector’s impact on the environment, a survey conducted by the government-owned financing institution KfW suggests. Almost 90 percent of the respondents said that the car industry had a special responsibility to ensure that vehicles cause less pollution, and over 70 percent said they were ready to change their individual behaviour in order to reduce emissions from transport. “Even the highly controversial proposal to introduce a speed limit on motorways received majority support”, with 60 percent of the respondents backing such policy, the KfW press release says. However, “only one in two respondents believed that electric cars will dominate the roads in 20 years”, KfW adds.

Read the press release in English here.

See the CLEW article EU car emissions too weak for German climate targets – experts for background.

Die Zeit Online

Each and every party involved in Germany’s ‘Jamaica coalition’ talks to form a new federal government should have an interest in securing “a quick and orderly coal exit”, as the alternatives “are way too risky”, Anna Pegels and Jonas Keil from the German Development Institute say in a guest article on Die Zeit Online. A “carry on” approach, in which practically nothing is done to phase out coal soon, “leads straight to a climate catastrophe”, the two researchers argue. Fossil power companies have immensely lost their value over the recent years, and a consistent re-orientation towards renewables in German energy policy not only would help to bring about the urgently needed reduction in carbon emissions, but also ensured that power companies prepare for a post-fossil age in power production, the authors say.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article Germany’s energy use and emissions likely to rise yet again in 2017 for more information.

See CLEW’s Coalition Watch for latest developments in the ongoing talks over a new German government.

Washington Post

The German village of Immerath, located in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) not far from the venue of the ongoing UN climate conference COP23 in Bonn, is about to disappear in order to make way for the expansion of an open pit coal mine, Griff Witte and Luisa Beck write in The Washington Post. “For Germany, the gap between its bright-green rhetoric and coal-smudged reality has never been more vivid,” they say.

Read the article in English here.

See the CLEW interview with Green MP Baerbock: “Our guests will be surprised how much Germany relies on coal”.

See the CLEW dossier COP23 – All eyes on Germany for a detailed coverage of the UN climate summit.

Focus Online

Saxony’s parting State Premier, Stanislaw Tillich, has said that over six billion euros in compensation payments were necessary if Germany wanted to phase out lignite-fired power production over the next few years. According to the conservative politician, “a nationwide coal penny” could be used to fund the economic restructuring of the affected regions, such as the mining region of Lusatia, which is partially located in Saxony. Tillich, who is a member of the conservative negotiating team for a possible ‘Jamaica coalition’, argued that a coal exit could only happen “in the long run”, the article says.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal? and the news digest entry Accelerated coal exit would be constitutional, similar to nuclear phase-out – legal opinion for more information.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

German energy industry associations doubt that the so-called smart digital meters that measure and record electricity consumption in households and firms could be introduced by the beginning of 2020 as planned, Andreas Mihm writes for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “We’ll start at least one year later”, Andrees Gentzsch of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) said. The reason for the possible delay was insufficient coordination between competent authorities, the article says. Germany’s Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has confirmed that the planned introduction of smart meters indeed faced “great hurdles”.

See the CLEW dossier The digitalisation of the Energiewende for background.


Maritime transport is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, but a growing awareness in the sector could herald an “energy transition on the high seas”, Axel Höpner writes in Handelsblatt. The Green Ship of the Future initiative brings industry representatives together at the COP23 climate conference in Bonn to discuss alternative ways to power giant cargo ships. “It’s the first time that the entire maritime industry comes together to point the way”, says Kjartan Ross of engine manufacturer MAN Diesel & Turbo. Ross highlights the trend towards replacing vessels powered by rich oil with natural gas-fuelled (LNG) engines, and says that the plans to re-introduce wind power for ship propulsion also signalled major changes in the industry.

Read the article in German here (behind paywall).

Climate protection is the main economic pillar of the environmental industry in Germany, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) says in a press release. Companies producing climate-friendly materials and products, as well as offering climate protection services, generated nearly 38 billion euros, or about 57 percent of the environmental protection industry’s total revenue, in 2015, Destatis says. So-called “products for climate production” are goods or services that lead to reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and encourage the use of renewable energy sources and efficient energy use, Destatis explains.

Read the press release in English here.

See the CLEW dossier New technologies for the Energiewende for background.

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