11 Sep 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Chinese pressure on carmakers / German "climate folklore"

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Remarks by China’s vice economy minister on banning combustion engines in the foreseeable future spell trouble for German carmakers like VW, Daimler and BMW, Max Hägler writes in an op-ed for Süddeutsche Zeitung. German carmakers are still struggling to prepare for a Chinese e-car quota, Hägler says. Politicians, industry and others are debating the future of the combustion engine as a court ruling on reducing air pollution threatens to ban certain car models from inner cities – but “the future of engines won’t be decided by German politicians and courts alone" but also in China, the article says. The car companies sell about a third of their production in the world's most populous country, and “e-cars will have to roll if that's what China decides,” he writes, adding that “the debate in Germany may become irrelevant”.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Frankfurt car show puts spotlight on German carmakers’ troubles and the factsheet The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany.

Federal German government

In light of the emissions scandal, Angela Merkel sees this year’s Frankfurt car show (IAA) as a “very special show,” the Chancellor said in her weekly video podcast. “The car industry is an important pillar of our economic success, and also of our reputation as an export nation, and of the ‘Made in Germany’ seal of quality,” Merkel said. Mistakes had been made and there was much still to be done to correct them, but "we want a good future for this industry, also because of its more than 800,000 workers,” Merkel said.

Find the video podcast in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Frankfurt car show puts spotlight on German carmakers’ troubles.


Hurricane Irma's devastation in the Caribbean will fuel small island nations' demand for support from the world’s large greenhouse-gas-emitting countries for damages attributable to climate change at the UN climate conference in Bonn in November, write Valerie Volcovici and Alister Doyle for Reuters.

Read the article in English here.

For background, read the CLEW article International climate community pins hopes on Merkel to sway Trump.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party wants to stop the German Energiewende, and at the same time promotes nature conservation, Susanne Götze writes for Süddeutsche Zeitung. She says this contradiction is “a systematic one that has tradition.” The German conservation movement that began in the late 19th century was "a conservative, partly reactionary movement against industrialisation, and closely bound to the term Heimatschutz," or “homeland protection” – a nationalist movement prominent under the Nazi regime – Nils Franke, environmental historian at Leipzig University told Götze. Beate Küpper, an expert on right-wing extremism, said that compared to the environmental movement's holistic approach, right-wing conservationists lacked “the global perspective” and an understanding of complexity, Götze writes.

Find the article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Vote2017: German parties' energy & climate policy positions.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

There’s a big discrepancy between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s call for other countries to decarbonise their economies and the grand coalition’s climate policy at home, Michael Bauchmüller writes in an opinion piece for Süddeutsche Zeitung. Merkel was able to shine as host of the G20 summit in Hamburg in July by closing ranks against the US on climate protection. “The [German government] coalition successfully sedated the electorate in terms of climate policy,” Bauchmüller writes. “In truth, nowhere in Europe produces as much CO₂ as Germany. [...] Germany in 2017 is a coal country with climate folklore, in which large engines travel unhindered,” writes Bauchmüller.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

For G20 background, read the CLEW article Germany heads for "spectacular" 2020 climate target miss - study and the dossier G20 2017 - Climate and energy at the Hamburg summit.

DENEFF / Kantar Emnid

Few voters believe Germany's political parties show enough commitment to energy efficiency, according to a Kantar Emnid survey commissioned by German Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF). 57 percent of respondents said the Green Party was adequately committed, compared to 31 percent for the SPD, 26 percent for CDU/CSU, 14 percent for the Left and 12 percent for the FDP.

Find the press release in German here, and the survey results in German here and here.

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

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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