Clean Energy Wire
German industry believes the world’s fourth largest economy can boost its status as a manufacturing powerhouse by protecting the climate. Reducing emissions by 80 percent by 2050 is good for the economy even if Germany goes it alone, the Federation of German Industries (BDI) says in an in-depth study. As long as energy-intensive businesses are no longer burdened with additional costs which harm their international competitiveness, “industrial companies will benefit from ambitious climate protection,” Germany’s most important industry association says in a press release. BDI President Dieter Kempf called this finding “surprising” during a press conference.
But cutting emissions by 95 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels – the upper end of Germany’s climate targets – is only realistic if other industrialised countries make similar efforts, according to the BDI.
The study, conducted by management advisers Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and consultancy Prognos, also found that cutting emissions by 80 percent would require urgently needed cumulative total investment of 1,500 billion euros. The association stressed this figure must not be considered cost, but rather investment that would on balance benefit the economy.
Find the study in German here.
Please note: The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on this topic later today.
The BDI study showing that climate protection and economic growth can go hand in hand should kill off the last arguments against ambitious climate protection, according to Greenpeace. “The economic association is right to call for planning security in energy and climate policy. Instead of a piecemeal approach without courage, the next government must table a clear plan as to how a modern and clean Germany can do without coal, oil, and gas step by step,” said Greenpeace climate expert Andree Böhling. But he added the BDI should be more honest and admit that companies move too slowly without a policy push, such as a law sealing the coal exit.
Germany’s Chemical Industry Association (VCI) said the BDI study showed that cutting emissions by 80 percent by 2050 was technologically feasible, but a “herculean task.” VCI President Kurt Bock said the necessary total investment of 1,500 billion euros by 2050 was not possible without massive political support. He added that the chemical industry supported ambitious and global action on climate protection and already cooperated by embracing innovative products and technologies, as well as efficient production processes.
The environmental and development umbrella NGO DNR said that the BDI “visibly tries to adopt a less climate-hostile position.” DNR President Kai Niebert welcomed several of the study’s provisions, such as the call for faster rail transport expansion, but said that elsewhere one could still “clearly see the handwriting of the old fossil [industry’s] lack of courage”.
The European Commission has set a deadline for Germany and other countries to show how they intend to comply with the EU’s air quality standards or face court action, reports Florian Eder for Politico. In a letter seen by Politico, Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella invites ministers of the affected countries – including Germany’s Barbara Hendricks – to a meeting in Brussels on 30 January, which he said “should be considered as the last opportunity to show the steps being taken to redress the situation” of high nitrogen oxide levels, writes Eder. Last year, the Commission had sent a “final warning” to Germany and other countries regarding high nitrogen dioxide levels resulting from road traffic. “Reducing emissions from diesel-powered vehicles is an important step towards achieving compliance with EU air quality standards,” the Commission had said in a press release.
Read the Politico article in English here.
Find background on the diesel technology’s role for clean air and climate in the CLEW article Why the German diesel summit matters for climate and energy.
BMUB / Council of the European Union
As ambassadors of the EU member states gave their support to a draft regulation that sets out binding emissions reduction targets in non-ETS (EU Emissions Trading System) sectors, German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said in a press release that Germany “now has to do its homework, too. To reach our European climate protection goal for 2030, we need additional measures especially in the transport, buildings, and agriculture sectors.” The regulation, which aims to ensure that the non-ETS sectors’ emissions reduction target of 30 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels is reached, now needs to be approved by the European Parliament.
At the next UN climate conference in Poland, the German government can credibly call on the international community to put more effort into climate protection only if it successfully manages its own coal exit, write Ottmar Edenhofer and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber in a guest commentary in Die Zeit. Phasing out coal is a vital question for international climate diplomacy, they say. In their blueprint for future talks, coalition negotiators from the CDU/CSU and the SPD emphasise the 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target, but fall short of identifying concrete steps to reach it, write Edenhofer and Schellnhuber. They propose to introduce a minimum price for European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) certificates, without which the planned coal exit of a future coalition was “hardly realistic”. They also call for a CO₂-based tax on fossil fuels used in transport and heating.
Read the guest commentary (behind paywall) in German here.
For background, check out CLEW’s article German party leaders agree energy policy blueprint for coalition talks, and the coverage of last year’s climate conference in Bonn, including the article Poland's Katowice COP: Next coal country hosting UN climate talks.
Germany’s Energiewende – the decarbonisation of the country's economy and shift away from nuclear and fossil fuels to a renewables-based energy system – has led to “an explosion of renewable energy technologies being installed,” but has also had unintended negative consequences, write Randy Simmons and Josh Smith in a guest commentary for The Hill. Greenhouse gas emissions have not decreased as planned, and matching volatile renewables supply with demand was costly and led to high power prices for household consumers.
Find the guest commentary in English here.
For background facts, read the CLEW factsheets The causes and effects of negative power prices, Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts, What German households pay for power, Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets.
University of Münster (WWU)
Religious groups and organisations are becoming increasingly influential in international climate policy, according to research presented at the University of Münster (WWU). “They have established themselves as non-governmental actors at the UN climate conferences, for instance, and they are being taken seriously as a power […] that is able to effectively initiate environmental policy processes,” said political scientist Katharina Glaab of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in a press release. International environmental politicians include an increasing number of religious actors, “because they think these have a strong potential regarding a transformation of society, without which environmental policy is no longer possible,” she said.
Find the press release in German here.