Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / VCD / NABU
There is mounting evidence that the German government will oppose stricter car fleet emission limits at EU level in exchange for carmakers’ consent to cover the hardware retrofitting costs in certain types of diesel vehicles, reports the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. While Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was opposed to going beyond the European Commission’s proposal on future car fleet emission limits, transport minister Andreas Scheuer said his aim was to offer diesel drivers retrofits free of charge.
Sustainable transport association VCD called the reported deal a “dirty horse trade” between government and carmakers. “This dirty deal must be prevented urgently. The government must not pit climate against health protection. We need clean air and ambitious CO2 limits.”
Environmental NGOs have argued that Germany can only reach its 2030 climate targets for the transport sector with ambitious EU car emission limits and a host of additional measures. The Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) said the deal would "undermine the entire work" of the government's transport task force launched last week that will make suggestions how climate targets for 2030 can be reached in the sector.
Find background in the articles Germany launches task force to kickstart shift to sustainable mobility and German environment ministry pushes for tougher EU car emission rules, as well as the dossiers Cargo transport and the energy transition and The Energiewende and German carmakers.
A sober look at German carmakers and utilities reveals that their constant talk about sustainability is not backed up by actions, writes Bert Fröndhoff in a commentary for the business website Handelsblatt Global. The car industry provided the best example with the emissions scandal, while power company RWE continues to hurt its reputation with an unrelenting stance in the fight over the clearing of Hambach Forest for the expansion of a lignite mine. “If companies are serious about sustainability, they anchor it into their business model and prove it every day in the way they do business,” writes Fröndhoff.
Read the commentary in English here.
Focus / dpa
Around 750,000 people have signed an online petition to protect Hambach Forest against plans by utility RWE to clear it for the expansion of a nearby lignite mine, reports the newswire dpa in an article carried by Focus. Over the past 14 days alone, 300,000 people have joined the initiative, said the NGO Campact, which initiated the petition in collaboration with Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND).
Read the article in German here.
Find background in the article Commission watch - Managing Germany's coal phase-out.
German Institute for Economic Research (DIW)
Households in Germany spent almost seven percent less on heating in 2017 due to lower energy prices, but there was no progress in climate protection because energy consumption remained unchanged, according to a study conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). The data suggest that the government will clearly miss its target of cutting heat consumption in buildings by 20 percent by 2020 compared to 2008 levels, DIW said. “Without a significant improvement in buildings’ energy efficiency, we can’t reach the climate targets,” said co-author Claus Michelsen.
Find the press release in German here.
Find background in the article NGOs warn govt that tight housing market no excuse to neglect climate.
Microsoft has announced it will partner with German utility E.ON to develop a smart home platform to manage everything in a house that runs on electricity, report Jürgen Flauger and Christof Kerkmann in Handelsblatt Global Edition. The partnership will combine Microsoft’s powerful cloud and chip products with E.ON’s vast distribution network and will enable the utility to add profitable services to its basic provision of power, according to the authors. E.ON said the deal “aims to combine data from all electrical devices within the home – including heating and cooling systems, PV installations, battery storage, or chargers for electric vehicles – on a single platform.”
Find the article in English here.
Federal Statistical Office (Destatis)
German industry spent 3.3 billion euros on climate protection in 2016, according to the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). This expenditure equalled 10.5 percent of the total sum businesses (excluding construction) spent on environmental protection.
Read the press release in English here.
For background, read the dossier German industry embraces Energiewende transformation challenge.
Handelsblatt / Utility association BDEW
The government should cut power taxes and levies to boost the energy transition and climate protection, argues Stefan Kapferer, head of utility association BDEW, in an op-ed in the business daily Handelsblatt. Kapferer argues that electricity must become cheaper to make the use of renewable power more attractive in the heating and transport sectors. Kapferer says in the short term, the discussions in the coal exit commission are an even more important argument to cut taxes and levies on electricit, because phasing out lignite will push up power prices.
Read the op-ed in German here.