Eurostat / Tagesspiegel Background
Germany could flunk yet another climate target if it doesn’t increase energy efficiency, Susanne Ehlerding writes for Tagesspiegel Background. Germany’s efficiency target – like the EU’s – is to reduce primary energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020 (compared to 2008). According to Eurostat figures released today, Germany reduced its gross inland energy consumption by 9.8 percent between 2006 and 2016.
Read the article (behind paywall) here.
Clean Energy Wire
The would-be coalition partners’ plan to reach a 65 percent share of renewables in Germany’s power mix by 2030 is an “ambitious target,” said Jochen Homann, president of the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), at a meeting held on the eve of the E-world energy and water fair in Essen. The draft treaty of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the Social Democrats (SPD) states that the country’s grid must be able to manage additional power flows. “I think the politicians were smart to include this provision,” said Homann. They had done so “knowing that the grid would not be able to cope.”
Clean Energy Wire
The energy industry in Germany are the “good guys” of the energy transition, as it is probably the only sector on track to do its part to meet the country’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020, Johannes Kempmann, president of industry association BDEW, said at the leaders’ meeting ahead of the E-world energy & water fair in Essen. Kempann welcomed aspects of the energy and climate draft agreement of coalition negotiators from CDU/CSU and SPD, but said the text lacked “a clear commitment to gas”. Politicians have not yet understood that in the long term, gas is “part of the solution” for climate protection, not part of the problem.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets and find more reactions to Germany’s government coalition draft treaty here.
Most Germans are more afraid of looming driving bans for polluting cars in inner cities than of the air pollution associated with these cars, says Klaus Müller, head of Germany’s federal consumer advice centre association vzbv, in an interview with Zeit Online. “It’s very clear. Driving bans are the more urgent issue. You simply cannot taste or see nitrogen oxides. That’s what makes it so difficult to assess how dangerous they really are,” Müller says. However, he says the problem of air pollution must be addressed, and that Germany’s federal states will have to present a credible solution to the problem if they want to avoid a ruling by the Federal Administrative Court on 22 February that could introduce immediate bans in several cities.
Find the interview in German here.
See the CLEW article on Germany’s diesel summit and its relevance for climate policy here.
Prosecutors have searched the headquarters of German carmaker Audi looking for evidence of suspected manipulation of diesel exhaust gas values, news agency Reuters reports.
It is the second time in a year Audi’s premises have been raided in connection with the dieselgate scandal.
Find the article in English here.
See CLEW’s dieselgate timeline for background.
The decline of diesel cars’ share in new registrations in Germany continues, figures for January released by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) show. While the total number of newly registered passenger cars rose by 11.6 percent compared to the same month in 2017 to nearly 270,000 vehicles, the share of diesel vehicles fell by 17.6 percent. Cars with petrol engines accounted for almost 62 percent of all new registrations, and diesel cars for 33.3 percent, the KBA says. Registrations of electric cars rose by nearly 109 percent to about 2,765 vehicles – about 1 percent of all new cars on the road in January. The share of hybrid vehicles stood at 3.4 percent, cars running on natural gas reached 0.3 percent and liquefied natural gas vehicles 0.1 percent. The average CO2 emissions level of new cars rose by 0.5 percent to 128.4 grams per kilometre.
In a separate press release, the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) says the buyer’s premium for electric cars issued by the German government has so far been most successful in the southern state of Bavaria, where about 6,600 people applied for the premium. The total number of applications for purely electric, hybrid and fuel-cell cars since the premium was introduced in July 2016 stands at 50,963, the BAFA says.
Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change
Introducing a CO2 price would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also the returns on investments into fossil fuel energy sources, leading to increased investment in technology, research and development in other sectors, the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) says in a new study. Economists Jan Siegmeier, Linus Mattauch and Ottmar Edenhofer run a mathematical proof in their paper “Capital beats coal: how collecting the climate rent increases aggregate investment”, refuting the common idea that a determined environmental policy would cause de-industrialisation.
Read the paper in English here (behind paywall).
Mitteldeutsche Zeitung / Mibrag
German coal mining company Mibrag posted a 43.7 million euro loss in 2016, Mitteldeutsche Zeitung reports. Mibrag, one of Germany’s four remaining lignite-mining companies, was suffering from Germany’s transition from fossil energy sources to renewables (the Energiewende) and falling wholesale power prices, a company statement says. 2017 would see a positive result again, the press release said. Mitteldeutsche Zeitung ascribed the 2016 loss to the shut-down of the Buschhaus power station, one of eight coal plants retired in Germany to reduce CO2 emissions. However, Mibrag will receive compensation payments for the plant in the years to come, the paper says.
Read the newspaper article in German here.
Clean Energy Wire
Andreas Pinkwart, Free Democratic (FDP) state energy minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, welcomed several energy and climate provisions of the draft coalition treaty between the conservatives (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD). Admitting that the 2020 climate target would probably not be reached was “more honest than upholding an ambitious target that we know is difficult to reach,” Pinkwart told the Clean Energy Wire at the E-world energy & water fair in Essen. “What’s important now is that we reach the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Here, our responsibility is for 2030 and 2050. We now have time to properly prepare, and that really has to happen.” Pinkwart said increasing the share of renewables in electricity generation to 65 percent by 2030 was realistic, “if we don’t limit ourselves to one or two energy sources, but decide on a wide mix of renewables.”
Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung
Mining company Leag has admitted that its lignite mining activities in the east German region of Lusatia contribute to lower water gauges in the region’s lakes, Thorsten Gellner writes in the Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung. “The environment ministry [of federal state Brandenburg] admitted a connection for the first time last year and now, surprisingly, Leag has followed suit,” Gellner says. Environmentalist René Schuster says Leag’s water withdrawal for coal mining has become “so severe they could no longer deny it.” However, Leag denies any responsibility for high levels of sulphate in the river Spree, which also flows through Germany’s capital Berlin, Gellner writes. Since Berlin draws part of its drinking water supply from the Spree, the city fears the flooding of a former open-pit mine will add to the costly problem of purifying the river’s water. Leag says these concerns are “unfounded” as flooding and other activities do not contribute to higher sulphate levels in the river.
See the CLEW factsheet Coal in Germany for more information.