the energy collective
Germany’s unique energy policy has been a spectacular success, whatever its detractors say, argues John Mathews of Australia’s Macquarie University in an article carried by the energy collective. The rise of renewables in power generation and the decline of nuclear are “truly extraordinary results, demonstrating a determination and ambition that is unique in the developed world.” But the new government should aim for a European supergrid, and actively invest in storage and e-car infrastructure, writes Mathews.
Read the article in English here.
European Climate Foundation (ECF)
The transition to a climate-friendly transport sector can deliver a net economic benefit for Germany in some scenarios, but only if the country invests heavily in charging and grid infrastructure as well as workforce adjustments , according to a study by the European Climate Foundation*. “Replacing imported oil with domestically produced energy will keep many billions of euros circulating in the German economy,” the study says.
Find the study in English here.
To find out more, read the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
*The Clean Energy Wire is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.
The head of the German Greens’ parliamentary group, Anton Hofreiter, says a coalition with the conservative CDU/CSU and free-market FDP is far from a fait accompli. “It’s not a done deal at all,” Hofreiter said in an interview with Frankfurter Rundschau. The environmentalist party’s left-leaning parliamentary group leader said his party was ready for “constructive and open-minded talks” with its potential government partners but added that the Greens would only join a government that had “the will to shape” topics such as migration or climate protection. “The coal exit is a decisive factor,” Hofreiter said, adding that also in the transport sector progress on climate had to be made. He stressed that while every party had its particular areas of competence, collaboration was necessary in all policy fields. “Compromises cannot mean that we just find the smallest common denominator.”
Read a CLEW interview with Hofreiter from 2016 and a CLEW factsheet on the potential coalition partners’ climate and energy policy stumbling blocks for background.
A broad alliance of German business associations wants the incoming government to give building insulation a boost with tax relief in order to cut emissions. The associations said corresponding measures should be included in the coalition treaty, and be implemented swiftly. “We must finally mobilise the large CO2 and energy saving potential of buildings so Germany can reach its ambitious climate targets.” Buildings still account for more than 30 percent of Germany’s emissions.
Read the press release in German here.
For background, read the dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.
Germany’s economy ministry (BMWi) has often seen its scope of responsibility altered by government coalition agreements, and this time is no different, Dorothea Siems writes on Welt Online. The ministry could become a bargaining chip in upcoming coalition talks between the conservative CDU/CSU alliance, the free-market FDP and the environmentalist Green Party, she says. If Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU retakes the ministry, currently held by the outgoing Social Democrats (SPD), “it will likely work towards including responsibility for digitalisation in addition to the Energiewende,” making it a “super ministry” with multiple areas of competency, she says. Previously headed by the SPD’s Sigmar Gabriel, the BMWi had become “the planned economy authority for the energy transition,” Siems says. She adds that likely CDU candidates, chief of the Chancellery Peter Altmaier and EU budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger, would stand for more market-based principles.
Read the article in German here.
The intense media coverage of the 2015 Paris Climate Summit only had a “modest appeasing rather than mobilizing effect” on the German public, according to a five-author paper published by Nature Climate Change. Before and after surveys showed that respondents “learnt a few basic facts about the conference but they continue to lack basic background knowledge about climate policy [and] were not more likely to engage personally in climate protection.”
The authors of the study “go so far as to suggest that the lack of public engagement is a failure of journalism,” according to a Nature editorial on the paper. “Organisations, businesses, scientists, policymakers and others who advocate action on global warming must continue to strive to take the public with them. As many experts have pointed out, that will take creativity and more than repeated references to the serious nature of the problem — [at the upcoming COP23] in Bonn and elsewhere.”