08 Sep 2016, 00:00
Sven Egenter Julian Wettengel

Climate Action Plan criticised / VW plans China e-car venture

Federal Ministry for the Environment

Federal environment minister Barbara Hendricks said that the government’s Climate Action Plan 2050 will show more precise goals than her ministry’s final version, which is now in the consultation process with other ministries. “We will have to put back numbers and concrete measures, that’s what we’ll work on in the coordination with the other ministries,” said Hendricks at a press conference in Berlin. Her ministry’s version had been criticised in the press for omitting or weakening some goals or substituting concrete targets of the original draft with “xx [value will be set during coordination between the ministries]”. At the press conference, she presented another big plan, the Integrated Environment Programme 2030. It formulates guiding principles and suggestions about how “key areas of policy, economy and society can be designed environmentally friendly and sustainable”. “We can’t simply continue the way we do things now,” Hendricks said. Proposals include a “second price tag” for certain products that tells the consumers about its environmental costs, and the suggestion that all new passenger cars should be emissions free by 2030. Hendricks made clear that her proposals “deliberately go beyond the competencies of my ministry”, arguing that the ecologic transition could only happen with a “wide alliance of politics, economy and society”.

Read the CLEW article Ministry avoids concrete targets in weakened Climate Action Plan for more information.

Find the ministry's press release on the Environment Programme 2030 in German here.

tageszeitung (taz)

The current draft of the environment ministry’s Climate Action Plan 2050 showed that Chancellor Angela Merkel – weakened by the refugee crisis – avoided a dispute over climate targets with the economic wing of her party, writes Bernhard Pötter in an opinion piece for tageszeitung. Furthermore, she did not demand radical change in the auto industry because of fear over job cuts. “If the Chancellor lets herself be bound by interests of the past and the fear of change, then she will indeed become a lame duck, unable to make important decisions,” writes Pötter.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

For background information also read the CLEW factsheet on the Climate Action Plan 2050 and the CLEW article CO2 targets and coal deadline omitted from Climate Action Plan draft.

Frankfurter Rundschau

Chancellor Angela Merkel and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel act “cowardly and economically short-sighted” when erasing any mention of a coal exit in Germany from environment minister Barbara Hendricks’ climate plan, writes Thorsten Knuf in an opinion piece in Frankfurter Rundschau. “One year ahead of the next federal elections, Merkel and Gabriel want to avoid anything that gets the coal lobby worked up.”


Germany’s Energiewende is on track in areas such as extending renewables, employment, and securing power supply. But other goals - such as reducing power consumption and carbon emissions, and the limit on costs - seem increasingly out of reach, consultancy McKinsey said in a press release on its bi-annual Energiewende-Index survey. “The gap between relevant goals of the Energiewende that are over-achieved and those that are out of reach, is growing,” the company said. The indicator for cost to stabilise the grid reached an all-time low due to the increase of re-dispatch measures. Seven of the 15 indicators showed a realistic chance of meeting the targets, seven pointed to missing the goals, with one showing the need for only slight adjustments.

Find details of the index in German here and an analysis from the McKinsey experts here.


Governments around the world have committed to the “historic” Paris Climate Agreement – and now it is time for businesses to follow suit, writes Rüdiger Grube, chairman of the board of Deutsche Bahn (DB) in a guest commentary in Handelsblatt. German rail company DB has set its own 2020 climate targets, with a CO₂-emission reduction of 30 percent compared to 2006, and a share of renewables in the company’s electricity consumption of 45 percent.

Read the commentary in German (behind paywall) here.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The German Federal Parliament’s committee of inquiry on what the federal government knew about the car emissions scandal will have its first hearings today, writes Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). The Green and the Left groups in the Bundestag initiated the committee and have accused transport minister Alexander Dobrindt of ignoring early information on the manipulations. The groups also claim that the subsequent investigations were carried out only half-heartedly to spare the industry, according to FAZ.


Germany’s largest carmaker Volkswagen (VW) plans to team up with China’s Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC) on an electric car joint venture, news agency Bloomberg and other media report. VW said in a statement that its “top priority will be to develop zero-emission mobility solutions”. Volkswagen was intensifying efforts for sustainable mobility worldwide as part of its “Together – Strategy 2025”, aiming to launch a broad-based initiative for electro-mobility and intending to develop more than 30 new, purely battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) over the next ten years, the group said.

Find the Volkswagen press release here.

Read the Bloomberg story here.

Read more about the Energiewende in Germany’s transport sector in a CLEW dossier.


Volkswagen is late in entering the Chinese market for e-cars and should quickly agree to producing electric vehicles with Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC), writes Stephan Scheuer in a commentary for German business daily Handelsblatt. The company’s distribution and production network in China could help to ramp-up sales quickly, something neither German competitors Daimler nor BMW have managed so far. "China is the market of the future for e-cars for its sheer volume. VW has to hurry up to make good business in the long run. The partnership with JAC is only a start,” Scheuer writes.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The scandal about emissions from diesel cars has had no noticeable impact on diesel sales at Daimler, the head the German carmaker, Dieter Zetsche, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Eleven months after the VW case became public, the share of diesel cars sold by Mercedes has not decreased,” Zetsche said. When asked whether the scandal would pave the way for alternative drives, he said customers and lawmakers would ultimately decide. The government’s premium for buyers of e-cars had only a limited effect, Zetsche said. But the demand for electric vehicles was set to rise significantly over the coming years regardless of the debate about diesel.

Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

The German government will extend current tax breaks for natural gas used as fuel because it wants natural gas to play a role in the Energiewende in the mobility sector, the state secretary for energy, Rainer Baake, said ahead of the round table on natural gas in the mobility sector. The goal of the round table was to increase the share of natural gas to 4 percent of energy consumption in the transport sector by 2020. Vehicles powered by natural gas have lower carbon emissions and do not emit nitrogen oxides.

Find the press release here.

Read more about the Energiewende in Germany’s transport sector in a CLEW dossier.

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