06 Jun 2017, 00:00
Julian Wettengel

Env agency urges more transport action / Vattenfall to cut hydro jobs

Federal Environment Agency (UBA)

Germany must immediately and drastically reduce emissions in the transport sector to meet the goals of both the Paris Climate Agreement and Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050, according to an analysis by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). The UBA makes several policy proposals to reach the targets, including: stricter efficiency standards for new cars, an e-car quota, abolishing climate-harmful subsidies, and introducing a toll based on distance driven.
The UBA also released its 2017 report on environmental data, assessing Germany’s development of several indicators, such as greenhouse gas reductions, energy consumption, and the share of renewables.

Find the press release in German here, the analysis on transport in German here, and the report on environmental data in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossiers The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector and The energy transition and climate change.

Eastern German regions will receive 1.23 billion euros over the next five years for the recultivation of former lignite mines, according to the federal finance (BMF) and environment (BMUB) ministries. The federal finance and environment ministers signed an agreement with the affected state governments of Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. “The continuation of recultivation of former lignite mines is an important signal for the former East German open pit mining regions. We do not leave the states alone in coping with the consequences of lignite mining,” said environment minister Barbara Hendricks.

Find the press release in German here.

Also see the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?

Reuters / Süddeutsche Zeitung

The leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) dissociated itself from a paper by a conservative group within the party – “Berlin Circle” – that had criticised “increasingly aggressive policy goal setting, especially the CO₂ reduction targets”, reports news agency Reuters. CDU general secretary Peter Tauber said the party would continue to stand by the country’s climate targets and “consequently implement the Climate Action Plan 2050 – which includes a step-by-step exit from coal among other things”. In a separate article in Süddeutsche Zeitung, Cerstin Gammelin writes that Social Democratic chancellor candidate Martin Schulz had criticised the paper and said that Merkel now needed to clarify her party’s official stance.

Read the Reuters article in German here and the SZ article in German here and find the paper in German here.

For background read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets and the CLEW dossier Vote2017 - German elections and the Energiewende.

The German and Russian governments agreed to deepen their cooperation in the areas of environment and climate protection, it was announced after consultations in St. Petersburg. “Especially now that the US announced their exit from the Paris Agreement, it’s an important signal that Russia wants to expand the cooperation in this field. The projects that were agreed upon between our countries are a valuable contribution,” said state secretary in the environment ministry (BMUB) Jochen Flasbarth in a press release.

Find the press release in German here.

Handelsblatt Global

Germany’s government takes on a leadership role in international climate protection – a role fostered by the fact that the German population has overwhelmingly supported the transition to a greener economy, writes Ruby Russell in an article for Handelsblatt Global.

Read the article in English here.

For background read the CLEW dossier Germany's Energiewende: The Easy Guide.


The Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW) proposes replacing Germany’s renewables levy (EEG-surcharge), paid by power consumers with their electricity bill, with a surcharge on the income and corporate tax, reports Handelsblatt. In a paper, seen by Handelsblatt, the authors propose that such an ‘energy solidarity-surcharge’ could replace the existing solidarity tax that Germany introduced in 1991 as an additional tax to finance development in former East Germany and other state expenses. It is due to run out in 2019.

For background read the CLEW factsheet Germany ponders how to finance renewables expansion in the future.

The federal economy ministry (BMWi) has published the results of the discussion process concerning last year’s green book on energy efficiency and the impulse paper on long term trends “Electricity 2030”. BMWi plans a white book on energy efficiency as a next step.

Find the press release in German here, the green book evaluation report in German here and the Electricity 2030 concluding paper in English here.

For background read the CLEW articles Lagging efficiency to get top priority in Germany’s Energiewende and New economy ministry proposal to fire up renewables in all sectors.


Vattenfall plans to cut up to 60 percent of its 420 full-time employees working in its German hydro power division, the company announced in a press release. “Due to the price development on the German electricity market and the regulatory framework for existing storage facilities, Vattenfall’s pumped storage power plants have been under considerable economic pressure for years,” writes the company in a press release.

Read the Vattenfall press release in English here.

Clean Energy Wire

US President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement does not mean that the country’s climate policy was already “fully outlined”, a German government official told reporters at a press briefing in Berlin, when asked about the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg. The goal was a consensual position of all members – as with past summits – but “we will see”, said the official. 
The German presidency had initiated a G20 action plan on climate and energy, which it hopes to present at the summit in Hamburg. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert had said last week that the German government would work on uniting all remaining G20 members in climate protection efforts in the run-up to the summit. Merkel will visit G20 member states Argentina and Mexico this week.

For background, read the CLEW articles German reactions to US decision to withdraw from Paris Agreement and Germany, China urge US to remain in climate agreement.

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