18 Sep 2018, 13:20
Sören Amelang Julian Wettengel

Coal commission must deal with jobs first– econ min/ 'Tesla-Fighter'

ARD Morgenmagazin

Germany’s coal exit commission must deal with the question of new jobs for workers in the lignite regions before looking for an end date for coal, according to economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier. “We need a restructuring plan for each lignite region,” Altmaier told public broadcaster ARD, adding that the federal government must help with new jobs, for example in federal agencies and new research institutes. He emphasised that the federal government will not interfere in the coal exit commission’s work, but he as economy minister would “flesh out my ideas for the economic side. I believe this could help support the work of the commission”.

Find the video of the interview in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Report about coal exit plan causes stir ahead of commission meeting and the Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out.

Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU)

The speedy start of the coal exit is more important than finding a final end date, writes the Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU), an expert advisory panel to the government focussing on environmental protection, in a statement. “For the climate, the total amount of CO₂ emitted by power plants is the decisive factor, not when the last coal plant goes offline,” said SRU member Wolfgang Lucht. Germany’s total emissions from coal-fired power generation until a final coal exit must not exceed 1,500 megatons of CO₂ if the country wants to make a meaningful contribution to the Paris climate targets, but the government’s current 2030 climate objectives could lead to more than 2,500 megatons of CO₂, writes SRU. If the oldest and least efficient plants were to be taken offline now, other coal plants could remain in operation longer and thus lower costs and increase supply security, said SRU member Claudia Kemfert.

Find the statement in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Report about coal exit plan causes stir ahead of commission meeting and Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out.

Deutsche Welle

The outcome of the struggle over the embattled Hambach Forest, which German energy company RWE wants to cut down to make way for the expansion of a lignite mine, will have “profound significance for the future of energy in Germany, as well as for climate protection around the world”, writes Sonya Diehn in an opinion piece for Deutsche Welle. “If the forest gets razed and the coal underneath burned, it's a signal that business as usual is likely to continue over years to come — that Germany will overshoot necessary emissions limits, and contribute to dangerous climate change. But if the forest stays rooted and the coal stays in the ground, that could mark a genuine turning point for Germany's energy future,” she writes.

Find the opinion piece in English here.

For background, read the CLEW article Report about coal exit plan causes stir ahead of commission meeting and the Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out.

Spiegel Online / / Wired

German carmaker Audi has presented its first all-electric model “e-tron”, which is obviously designed to be an answer to Tesla’s success, writes Tom Grünweg for Spiegel Online. Daniel Bönnighausen argues on EV website electrive that the car is the very first vehicle by a German carmaker that has the potential to become a real “Tesla fighter”.  Eric Adams writes for Wire that it’s promising the e-tron “finally paves the way for a strong EV presence within Volkswagen, even if the company had to stumble — hard — on the way there”.

Shares of new car registrations in Germany by vehicle type 2015 - Aug 2018. Source - CLEW 2018.

Find the Spiegel report in German here, the electrive report in German here and the Wire article in English here.

Find background in the factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility and the dossier BMW, Daimler, and VW vow to fight in green transport revolution.


Hardware retrofitting of older diesel cars would be “an economic waste of tax money or carmakers’ money”, writes Daniel Delhaes in an opinion piece in Handelsblatt. The retrofits would take years, when driving bans are already being introduced, and the cars’ fuel use, as well as CO₂ emissions, will increase. Delhaes criticises transport minister Andreas Scheuer’s call for more attractive car swap offers from automakers. “It is downright indecent by politicians and manufacturers to ask customers, who trustfully bought “clean” cars, to buy a new car with the help of a scrappage premium,” he writes.

Find the opinion piece (behind paywall) in German here.

Get background on the diesel story in the updated CLEW factsheet "Dieselgate" - a timeline of Germany's car emissions fraud scandal.

European Commission

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether BMW, Daimler and VW colluded, in breach of EU antitrust rules, to avoid competition on the development and roll-out of technology to clean the emissions of petrol and diesel passenger cars. The move could lead to hefty fines for the German carmakers, according to a Reuters report.

Find the press release in English here.

Find the Reuters article here.


German utilities' financial situation is stabilising after years of difficult transformation, writes consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). “The restructuring introduced because of [the energy transition] shows positive effects. The projected financial crisis of the utilities cannot be deduced from the available data,”said Norbert Schwieters, head of energy industry at PwC.

Find the press release in German here and the study in German here.

Find full background in the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition.

Rhineland-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI Essen)

Offering municipalities financial incentives for building new power lines needed for the energy transition does not change the acceptance rate of the local population, according to a study by Rhineland-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI Essen). Additionally, if citizens were offered 100-250 euros per year, this could even have negative effects on their approval, the researchers found following a survey with more than 10,000 participants.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.


Ahead of the G7 environment, energy and ocean ministers meeting in Halifax, Canada, humanitarian relief organisation CARE published a comprehensive analysis of the finance provided by the G7 group to developing countries for climate change adaptation and to what extent it promotes gender equality. “The results show that there is an urgent need to increase financial support for climate change adaptation with much stronger gender equality efforts,” says the report.
In a statement issued by her ministry ahead of the meeting, environment minister Svenja Schulze said: “The G7 have a special responsibility not only regarding climate protection. They should also take on a pioneer role in developing solutions for climate change adaptation and support developing countries in their adaptation efforts.”

Find the report in English here and the BMU press release in German here.  

For background, read the CLEW article Finishing Paris Agreement rulebook at COP24 in Katowice “feasible” – German negotiator.

Fraunhofer ISE / Fraunhofer IPA / E4tech

The German hydrogen electrolysis sector must become a “gigawatt industry” for Germany to reach its climate targets, according to a new study by Fraunhofer ISE, Fraunhofer IPA and E4tech, commissioned by the federal transport ministry (BMVI). The technology has reached market maturity, but the government has to introduce the right regulatory framework to help establish the hydrogen market, write the authors and propose a roadmap.

Find the study in German here.

Find background in the CLEW factsheet Power-to-gas: Fix for all problems or simply too expensive?


Governments need to raise carbon prices much faster if they are to meet their commitments on cutting emissions and slowing the pace of climate change under the Paris Agreement, according to a OECD report.
In a separate press statement, Lukas Köhler, climate policy spokesperson of the Free Democrats’ (FDP) parliamentary group in the Bundestag, calls the OECD report a wake-up call to the German government to finally extend the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) to all economic sectors.

Find the OECD press release in English here.

For background, read the CLEW article German environment minister open to national carbon price.

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.
« previous news next news »


Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

Get support

+49 30 62858 497

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee