09 Dec 2015
Sören Amelang Ruby Russell

A 'climate miracle' under negotiation / 'Paris talks, Opec decides'

Spiegel Online

“How the Germans are negotiating a climate miracle”

The Paris climate summit could result in a global commitment to decarbonisation, writes Axel Bojanowski for Spiegel, but there is still resistance from the oil producing states and India, as well as Japan, which would prefer a goal of “climate neutrality”. But Germany has long been laying the groundwork for a commitment to decarbonisation, not just with the G7 agreement earlier this year, but also by bringing Brazil on board, which broke with the idea that decarbonisation should only be a goal of developed economies. But there is still resistance even within the EU from Poland, and everything may still hang on whether Merkel can persuade the country’s new president.

See the article in German here.


Süddeutsche Zeitung

“One climate, two worlds”

German industry insists that an agreement in Paris must have common rules for both industrialised and emerging economies, writes Michael Bauchmüller in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “All participating countries must accept comparable commitments,” the article quotes Jürgen Kerkhoff, head of the German Steel Federation, adding that an agreement without China was “unthinkable”. The Federation of German Industries has expressed similar views, Bauchmüller says.
Historically, a distinction has been made between those countries that have been responsible for high levels of emissions in the past, and poorer countries that are seen as requiring more leeway for development. But things have changed, Bauchmüller argues, with China now the largest emitter in the world, Brazil and South Africa major exporters and the Gulf states among the richest countries in the world. The issue of differentiation is likely to remain a sticking point to the end, Bauchmüller writes.

See the article in German here.



"Paris talks, Opec decides"

While 195 states debate the future of global climate, the Opec has sealed its fate, because oil-exporting countries will produce as much crude as they can, writes Christian Rickens in a commentary for Handelsblatt. This will push prices down, increasing demand and CO2 emissions, argues Rickens. "There is a bitter irony in the concurrence of the climate summit and the Opec meeting. It shows us who really holds the lever that can influence the global climate. All debates about two-degree targets and decarbonisation fall on deaf ears compared with the power of markets." Rickens says changes of a few percent in the price of oil have more influence on the global climate than all lofty commitments.


Süddeutsche Zeitung

“No Energiewende in the transport sector”

Jan Heidtmann reports on a study commissioned by the Green Party, which found that carbon emissions from the German transport sector rose from 163 million tonnes in 1990, to 164 million tonnes last year. The study by Hamburg consultancy Energy Comment says targets to reduce energy consumption in the sector by 10 percent by 2020, and by 40 percent by 2050, are nothing but wastepaper, Heidtmann writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. According to the report, there was rising demand for large and high-powered cars, while the VW scandal shows that measures of pollutants are highly questionable. The report’s authors advocate greater use of e-mobility and government funding to help the technology become competitive.

See the article in German here.


Zeit Online

"The nuclear companies' tricks"

Government plans to close a legal loophole to prevent utilities from evading the multi-billion euro costs of the country's nuclear phase-out might face delays, reports Marlies Uken for Zeit Online. Passage in parliament is taking more time than expected and experts believe it is unrealistic the new law will take effect at the beginning of 2016, according to the article. MPs from Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party are in no hurry and would like to incorporate the changes into a larger packet of nuclear laws, including suggestions by the commission charged with securing financing of the nuclear phase-out. Social Democrats and the Green Party warn delays will increase the utilities' chances of finding ways to evade their responsibilities.
Under current laws, the utilities are only liable for spun-off companies for five years. According to the new draft law, the companies would be liable for as long as it takes, even if they spin off their nuclear activities. Energy minister Sigmar Gabriel has called the proposal the “parents are liable for their children law”. 

Read the story in German here.


German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW)

Offshore wind turbines produce as much power in November as in the whole year 2014

Due to exceptionally strong winds, German power production rose significantly in November compared to a year ago, according to utility association BDEW. "With almost 12 billion kWh of wind power - thereof 1.4 billion kWh of offshore wind, the same amount as 2014's total - November was the strongest month for wind yet", according to a press release. In total, renewable power production was up 70 percent compared to November 2014, leading to a drop in conventional power production of 17 percent, and a drop of 13 percent for nuclear. 


Wirtschafts Woche / Germanwatch /Climate Action Network

“Germany ranks only average on climate protection”

Germany sees itself as a leader on energy conservation, but its use of coal means it has failed to achieve a high ranking in the 2016 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), Wirtschafts Woche reports. Despite the Energiewende and strong growth of renewables, it ranks 22nd, lagging behind the UK, which is in 5th place partly due to its commitment to phase out coal, Sweden in 6th place, and France, which climbed 6 places to rank in 8th  and has the lowest level of per-capita emissions in the G7, as well as falling emissions.

See the article in German here.

See a Germanwatch press release on the CCPI in English here.


 taz / Federal Environment Ministry

“Bavaria gives in over container dispute”

The German government has finally found a solution for the storage of nuclear waste returning from processing in France and the UK, with the Bavarian government agreeing to take seven out of a total of  26 containers. Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer had previously refused to take the radioactive waste, the taz reports, but has now agreed to store seven containers – fewer than the nine the federal government had been pushing for. Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has welcomed Seehofer’s “constructive attitude”. The remaining 19 containers will be stored at facilities in Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Schleswig-Holstein.

See a press release from the German environment ministry here.

See CLEW’s factsheet on nuclear waste storage here.



"Gas power capacity growth 2016 highest since 70s"

Electricity providers will add over 1.9 gigawatts in new gas-fired generation capacity in 2016, despite meagre profit margins, energy news agency Montel reports. The last time operators added more capacity in a single year was in 1973, Montel reports, citing figures from the German Grid Agency and power plant operators.

Find the article in German here


The Atlantic

“The Race to Remake the World’s Energy"

Writing in the Atlantic, Heather Horn looks at the different approaches countries have taken to cutting carbon emissions. Germany's renewable energy production expanded rapidly with the help of feed-in tariffs, but saw an overall emissions rise because of the lack of an effective carbon price, meaning that renewables cut into the gas market and saw a boost on coal-fired power generation, according to Horn. She says that other countries have taken different paths. “U.S. policymakers tend to reject German-style feed-in tariffs as an expensive, never-ending subsidy,” according to Tim Boersma, the acting director of the Energy Security and Climate Initiative at the Brookings Institution, Horn writes.

 See the article in English here.

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