27 Sep 2018, 13:02
Kerstine Appunn Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Env min gives in on CO₂ car limits / Daimler names R&D head next CEO

Clean Energy Wire

German environment minister Svenja Schulze has backed away from her call for more ambitious new EU targets for passenger car CO₂ emissions reduction to enable a joint German government position, said a ministry spokesperson at a press conference. After a talk with economy minister Peter Altmaier, the environment minister had to “recognise that the economy ministry is not prepared to go further than the [European] Commission proposal” to reduce car emissions by 30 percent by 2030, and by 15 percent by 2025, compared to 2021 levels, said the spokesperson. An agreement between the relevant German ministries is necessary to formulate a German position in EU negotiations on the topic. “We are now faced with the choice: do we block a German position in Brussels or do we not?” Blocking would entail major risks with a view to the end of the EU legislative period next year and might mean there would be no new agreement at all on CO₂ limits, said the spokesperson. “That would be the worst option for the environment.” Both Chancellor Angela Merkel and Altmaier had voiced support for the Commission’s proposal at an event hosted by the industry association BDI. According to newspaper reports, 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.

Read a Reuters article on the topic in English here.

Find background in the news item Merkel opposes more ambitious EU car fleet emissions targets and the articles Germany launches task force to kickstart shift to sustainable mobility and German environment ministry pushes for tougher EU car emission rules.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

German environment minister Svenja Schulze’s decision to back away from her call for more ambitious new EU CO₂ car emissions limits is “a defeat for the climate, and for the industry – once again – a Pyrrhic victory,” writes Michael Bauchmüller in an opinion piece in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. With the support of the German government, the European Commission’s less ambitious proposal is likely to prevail. “The car industry, above all the German industry, can continue to rest on a technology that has no future. Which must not have a future if Europe is serious about climate protection. And which cannot have a future if electric drives continue their triumphal march,” writes Bauchmüller.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

Find background in the news item Merkel opposes more ambitious EU car fleet emissions targets and the articles Germany launches task force to kickstart shift to sustainable mobility and German environment ministry pushes for tougher EU car emission rules.

Reuters / Daimler

Daimler has named research chief Ola Källenius as its next CEO in a succession plan that promotes a raft of tech-savvy managers at its Mercedes-Benz car brand and also seeks to install long-serving CEO Dieter Zetsche as chairman, writes the news agency Reuters. “The elevation of Källenius, a Swede who often wears jeans and sneakers and attends tech conferences, marks the first time the 132-year-old Stuttgart-based inventor of the modern automobile will be headed by a non-German CEO without an educational background rooted in mechanical engineering,” writes Reuters. In a press release, Daimler said Källenius would become CEO in 2019 and Zetsche would – if shareholders approve – become chairman of the supervisory board in 2021, following a standard two-year cooling off period.

Find the Reuters article in English here and the Daimler press release in English here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers and the factsheet Reluctant Daimler plans “radical” push into new mobility world.

Handelsblatt / EIB

The governments of France and Germany have entered into an unusual alliance with BlackRock, the world’s biggest investment fund, to achieve progress in unlocking private capital for investments in climate action, Astrid Dörner and Peter Köhler write in the Handelsblatt. At the second One Planet Summit in New York, Germany and France officially announced the partnership with BlackRock and several foundations. “We have to change the direction of one third of the world’s investments to finance climate action,” French President Emmanuel Macron said, adding that “the financial sector’s philosophy has to change” to contribute to the fight against global warming. Jochen Flasbarth, state secretary in the German environment ministry, said “the Paris Agreement obliges us to adjust financial investment flows to support a resilient low-carbon development.” According to the article, the funds could be used for investments in sustainable energy generation and mobility in the fast-growing developing and industrialising countries in Asia, Africa, and South America.
At the summit, the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced that it will align all of its activities with the Paris Agreement's targets. EIB president Werner Hoyer said the EU's investment bank will seek to bridge financing gaps for climate action and mitigation measures as well as channel funds towards solar power expansion. "Multilateral cooperation is the only way to achieve success in tackling climate change and sustainable development. We are here to demonstrate that multilateralism works and that we will do all we can to defend it," Hoyer said.

Read the article in German here, the EIB press release here and a Reuters article on the topic in English here.                                  

See the CLEW article German financial sector expects EU standards to boost green finance for more information.


As of 1 October, three more lignite power station blocks in Niederaußem and Jänschwalde will be mothballed and moved into the so-called security standby reserve, dpa news agency reports. After four years in the reserve, the units will be retired for good. According to the Federal Network Agency, none of the blocks in the reserve have ever been used as back-up capacities. The government introduced the security reserve, which is to consist of eight units by 2019, in 2015 to reduce emissions from lignite plants. Utilities will receive around 230 million euros in 2017 and 2018 as a compensation, the government says.

Read the article in German here.

Read a CLEW factsheet on capacity reserves in the power market here.


According to the wind industry, German turbine operators supported under the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) should be able to sell their electricity directly to companies, reports Klaus Stratmann in the Handelsblatt. Until now, renewable electricity supported by the EEG has been “mixed” with fossil power when sold on the exchange, but German companies are interested in directly buying green power, said Hermann Albers, president of the German Wind Energy Association (BWE). “Thanks to digitalisation it is no longer a problem to prove the CO₂-free nature of an electricity supply,” said Albers. Until now, power purchase agreements (PPA) have been but an interesting option for older wind parks for which the EEG support has run out, he said.

Find the article (behind paywall) in German here.

See the CLEW dossier on Onshore wind power in Germany for more information.

European Climate Foundation / Climact

It is technically feasible and may also be economically beneficial for Europe to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, says a report published jointly by the European Climate Foundation (ECF) and Climact. However, reaching this goal requires strong action across all sectors, widening the range of low-carbon options used for the transition, writes the ECF in a press release.

Find the report in English here.

For background, read the CLEW news item Germany should aim for 95 percent emissions reduction by 2050 – dena head and the factsheet Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets.

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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