09 Oct 2018, 01:04 pm | Sören Amelang, Benjamin Wehrmann

Env min grudgingly defends less ambitious EU car emissions proposal

Clean Energy Wire

Env min says will defend misguided government position at EU car emission talks

German environment minister Svenja Schulze will argue for limiting CO2 car emission cuts to 30 percent by 2030 at today’s decisive meeting with her EU counterparts, despite believing the proposal by the EU commission falls far short of what’s necessary to mitigate climate change. “We will support the commission’s 30 percent target for CO2 emission limits for cars. That’s not easy after yesterday’s IPCC report. I would have liked to go further here,” Schulze said, adding she would find it “very difficult” to defend the government position. “I also believe it’s not the right way from an industrial policy perspective – but it’s a decision, this is how democracy works. That’s how it goes if you can’t have your way in a coalition.”

Find Schulze’s statement 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.


Spiegel Online

“Germany prefers to protect the diesel instead of the climate”

EU environment ministers want to find a compromise on future car emission limits today, but car giant and Energiewende pioneer Germany creates confusion instead of playing a leading role in the negotiations, write Markus Becker and Gerald Traufetter on Spiegel Online. While environment minister Svenja Schulze says publicly that a 30 percent CO2 reduction by 2030 is not enough, Angela Merkel’s Chancellery has put intense pressure on other EU countries to back the weaker target, diplomats and insiders told Spiegel Online.    

Read the article 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.


Clean Energy Wire / DIHK

German government must urgently tackle energy policy issues – industry association

The energy transition offers plenty of opportunities for German businesses, but the current government coalition has done little to solve key issues for the industry, writes the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) in its 2018 Energy Transition Barometer. It is based on a survey of more than 2,000 businesses in industry, construction, trade and services. In 2018, German businesses see more risks than opportunities in the energy transition, downgrading their assessment for the first time since 2014. On a scale from -100 ("very negative") to +100 ("very positive"), the companies rate the impact of Germany’s Energiewende on competitiveness at -2.1.
According to the DIHK, the negative trend can be explained by national uncertainties (smart meter rollout, legal framework for storage and e-mobility, etc.) and rising prices for oil and gas over the past months. “However, their price increases are not attributable to the energy transition,” writes DIHK.
Comparably high power prices are also a “big challenge”, especially for energy-intensive companies, writes DIHK. While the renewable surcharge decreased slightly and grid fees were stable in many regions, big power consumers saw rising costs because of a “higher CHP surcharge and increasing procurement costs”. The surge of carbon allowance prices in the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) led to rising wholesale power prices and disadvantages in international competition, writes DIHK. A phase out of coal-fired power generation, currently debated in Germany’s coal commission, could lead to a further rise of European power prices, says DIHK.
In a recent report, energy think tank Agora Energiewende had said that a gradual reduction of coal-fired power production, and the parallel expansion of renewable energy sources to 65 percent of Germany’s 2030 power mix, would result in a net reduction of electricity costs.

Find the Barometer in German here and a DIHK press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet What business thinks of the energy transition.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.


Tagesspiegel Background

Germany must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 62 percent by 2030 to help reach 1.5° goal – env min

According to environment ministry calculations, Germany would have to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 62 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, to meet the requirements laid out by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5° Celsius, reports Tagesspiegel Background. Germany currently aims to reduce GHG emissions by 55 percent by 2030. The IPCC report states that in order to limit global warming to 1.5° Celsius, global net human-caused CO₂ emissions must be reduced by 45 percent by 2030, compared to 2010 levels.

For background, read the CLEW news item IPCC report: must not waste time on climate – German env min and the dossier The energy transition and climate change and the Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out.


Rheinische Post

Conservative German state government mulls “new approach on coal” following court ruling

The conservative government of western German coal state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) is considering rethinking its energy policy and to formulate “a new basic approach to coal”, Kirsten Bialdiga, Reinhard Kowalewsky und Thomas Reisener write in the Rheinische Post. It comes  after a court ruling stopped the clearing of the embattled Hambach Forest for a nearby lignite [brown coal] mine. The head of the conservative CDU’s parliamentary group, Bodo Löttgen, said the coalition of his party and the pro-business FDP should rethink its coal policy after the national coal exit commission has finished its work, which is scheduled for the end of the year. According to the article, senior members of the regional CDU fear “a new mass-movement against lignite” is forming in NRW that state premier Armin Laschet has to address.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article Court’s halt to forest clearing fans talk of easier German coal exit and the factsheet Germany’s three lignite mining regions for more information.


Spiegel Online

RWE considers reducing coal extraction at Hambach mine by one third

The ruling by a German court to stop the clearing of the embattled Hambach Forest has prompted energy company RWE to consider reducing coal extraction at its nearby lignite mine by up to one third, Claus Hecking and Stefan Schultz write on Spiegel Online. The company has so far  mined about 40 million tonnes of lignite per year at the Hambach mine but may  lower the output by 10 to 15 million tonnes or 25 to 38 percent, the article says. The power output of the connected coal plants Neurath and Niederaußem would consequently have to fall by 9 to 13 terawatt hours (TWh), RWE says. The company expects that its excavators in the mine will have to stand still by the end of 2019, since the nearby forest cannot be cut down for now and the mine’s edges cannot be stabilised, it argues. “As a result, the excavators from deeper levels of the mine will run aground in a domino-effect and eventually no longer be able to dig out coal,” a company spokesman said.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article Court’s halt to forest clearing fans talk of easier German coal exit and the factsheet Coal in Germany for more information.



Germany alone with no-nuclear policy – article

Germany’s decision to phase-out nuclear power and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time is posing difficulties for the country, which will miss its 2020 CO2 reduction targets, Paola Tamma writes on Politico. Both the IPCC’s new 1.5 degree report and other European countries such as France, Belgium and Sweden are including nuclear power as a low-carbon technology in future energy supply, the article says.

Read the article in English here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.


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