29 Jan 2018, 00:00
Julian Wettengel

Diesel driving bans loom - study / Carmakers fund tests using monkeys

Center for Automotive Research (CAR) / Tagesspiegel

Ten German cities considerably exceed EU nitrogen oxide (NOx) limits, making diesel driving bans more likely in 2018, according to calculations by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), reports Der Tagesspiegel. “Our results for 2017 show that neither software updates […] nor buyer’s premiums have led to extraordinary [emission] reductions” and driving bans are inevitable, the institute said, according to the newspaper. Environment minister Barbara Hendricks is invited to a “last opportunity” meeting by the EU Commission to show how Germany intends to comply with the EU’s air quality standards on 30 January. A crucial ruling by Germany’s Federal Administrative Court expected on 22 February could determine whether German cities could use diesel driving bans to stay within EU air quality limits.

Read the Tagesspiegel article in German 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.

NY Times / Reuters / Stuttgarter Zeitung

A research group, funded by German carmakers to design a study to show that modern diesel cars are clean, conducted an experiment in the US which exposed monkeys to diesel fumes - a “new dimension in the global emissions scandal”, writes the New York Times. German carmakers condemned the use of animals in the experiment commissioned by European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT) – an organisation founded by BMW, Daimler and VW, reports news agency Reuters. It remains unclear whether the carmakers were aware of monkeys being used, the agency writes. According to an article in Stuttgarter Zeitung, EUGT also commissioned an experiment exposing humans to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which showed no impact. Daimler condemned both tests and said it would initiate an investigation although it had no influence on the experiment's set up, the paper reports.

Find the original NYT article in English here, the Reuters piece in English here and the Stuttgarter Zeitung article in German here.

For background, read CLEW's "Dieselgate"- a timeline of Germany's car emissions fraud scandal.


German environmental organisations call on the European Commission to continue the official infringement procedure against Germany regarding high nitrogen dioxide (NOx) levels resulting from road traffic. In a letter ahead of a meeting with affected countries in Brussels on 30 January, BUND, NABU, DUH and VCD call on environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella to demand additional clean air measures, such as the hardware retrofitting of diesel cars. 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 letter in German 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.

Die Welt

The country needs a “sustainable and binding” CO₂ price in all sectors, including transport and heating, to correct mistakes in Germany’s energy tax and levy system, CEO of utility E.ON Johannes Teyssen told Die Welt in an interview. “With this, many things work themselves out, in the course of time also coal,” he said. The next federal government, however, should then find ways to relieve energy intensive industries, people in rural areas, commuters and people in need, said Teyssen.

Read the interview in German here.

Also read the CLEW news item E.ON CEO says postponing Germany’s 2020 climate goal is “appropriate” decision, and for more reform proposals, read CLEW’s factsheet Germany ponders how to finance renewables expansion in the future, and for background on the coalition talks, read the article German party leaders agree energy policy blueprint for coalition talks and the coalition watch.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

An international arbitration court in Washington, DC will decide within the coming weeks whether or not the German government must pay billions in damages to Swedish utility Vattenfall, writes Corinna Budras in a long background article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. Vattenfall argues that the state must compensate it for lost earnings as well as investments made before the phase-out plan, when nuclear power still appeared to have a future in Germany.

Find the article (behind paywall) in the FAZ e-paper here.

For in-depth background, read the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out and the CLEW factsheet Legal disputes over the nuclear phase-out.

AG Energiebilanzen

Energy market group AG Energiebilanzen has published a comprehensive paper with data on Germany’s energy use in 2017. The paper gives more detail to the group’s report from 21 December 2017 that a strong economy had pushed up Germany’s primary energy consumption that year, and supplies additional data, including on weather, heating in households, and fossil resource use.

Find the report in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Germany's energy use and emissions likely to rise yet again in 2017, and the factsheet Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts.


Germany’s Greens elected a new joint leadership duo at a weekend convention, breaking with tradition by selecting two members of the party’s moderate wing, reports Politico. Green MP Annalena Baerbock served as speaker of the Green parliamentary group on climate issues, and Robert Habeck is Schleswig-Holstein deputy state premier and energy transition minister.

Read the article in English here.

Check out past CLEW interviews with the two new leaders Habeck (here) and Baerbock (here).

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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