EU deal on emissions trading / Former NY mayor takes on coal in Europe
Bloomberg / Clean Energy Wire
EU negotiators have reached a provisional deal to overhaul the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), bolster carbon prices and adjust the system to more ambitious climate goals, Ewa Krukowska reports for Bloomberg. The deal follows more than two years of uncertainty over the future of the ETS, and has pushed permit prices up more than 3 percent. Under the agreement, the number of allowances transferred to the so-called Market Stability Reserve will double over a five-year period starting in 2019, Bloomberg reports. From 2023, permits in the reserve will begin expiring if they exceed the amount sold at auctions in the previous year. EU member states will also have the option of cancelling permits linked to closed power plants.
Speaking to Clean Energy Wire at COP23, the German state secretary Jochen Flasbarth warned that the deal would not substitute the national measures needed for the EU to reach its climate targets. “I foresee that some will see this reform as a solution to it all – which it is not,” Flasbarth said.
Read the Bloomberg article in English here.
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to expand his campaign to phase out coal-fired power production from his home turf in the US to Europe, the Guardian reports. The billionaire and UN special envoy on climate change announced he will spend 50 million dollars supporting grassroots anti-coal action, related research and legal activities in Europe. Around a fifth of European CO2 emissions are from burning coal, with “Germany and Poland by far the biggest polluters”, the Guardian writes. Since 2010, Bloomberg, has spent around 164 million dollars fighting coal in the US. During this time, over half of the country’s coal-fired power plants have been shut down. Bloomberg will attend the UN climate conference COP23 in Bonn, leading a group of US cities and other entities to pledge climate action despite the Trump administration’s plan to leave the Paris Agreement, the Guardian reports.
Find the article in English here.
Environmental Action Germany
Environmental Action Germany (DUH) has announced it will expand its legal action over air pollution from diesel cars to several more German cities. In a press release, the environmental organisation said it would sue authorities in the cities of Kiel, Halle, and Hanover for repeatedly exceeding nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution limits. The DUH has called on 42 other cities to prepare for bans on diesel cars that could take effect after a Stuttgart court ruled that such bans, demanded by the DUH, were legally warranted if diesel cars are not retrofitted to reduce NOx emissions by 2018. “If a non-profit environmental organisation has to enforce existing law by taking legal action, what you have is a first-degree institutional and democratic failure,” DUH head Jürgen Resch said.
Read the press release in German here.
wallstreet-online.de / dpa
The German electronics industry has called on the next German government to speed up the country’s energy transition, news agency dpa reports in an article carried by wallstreet-online.de “The Energiewende must finally regain its momentum,” Michael Ziesemer, president of the German Electrical and Electronics Industry Association (ZVEI), told dpa. ZVEI says the energy transition needs a greater focus on decarbonising transport, digitalising the energy system, and developing the grid and and power storage, Ziesemer said. Ziesemer said he had “high expectations” that the expected coalition of conservative CDU/CSU, pro-business FDP, and the Green Party could streamline existing Energiewende legislation.
Read the article in German here.
The German Energiewende could fail due to policymakers’ unrealistic goal of an energy system relying almost entirely on electricity by 2050, former German Energy Agency head Stephan Kohler writes in an op-ed for the Handelsblatt. “There has probably never been a project in Germany with such a big gap between ambitions, targets and reality as the energy transition,” Kohler says. He argues that adding over 300,000 kilometres of electricity cable and building massive storage capacities for fluctuating renewable power “can never be accomplished”. Germany’s imminent failure to meet its own 2020 emissions reduction goals demonstrates that a “stupid expansion” of solar and wind power alone cannot be the only way to protect the climate, Kohler says, arguing that a focus on sector-by-sector CO2 limits that emitters find their own economically viable means to achieving would be far more efficient.
Read the article in German here (behind paywall).
Carmakers’ successful lobbying for watered-down EU car emission limits is a scandal that reveals the industry’s continuing hold over politicians – even after Dieselgate, Markus Balser writes in an op-ed for Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Within a week, the most important legislation for the sector in years was not worth the paper it was written on,” he says. Balser argues that in the long run, politicians are actually damaging the car industry by giving in to lobbying. “The risk of failure increases with every lobby success: Europe’s car industry could miss out on the necessary transformation.”
Experts told the Clean Energy Wire the new limits were insufficient to reach German climate targets for the transport sector.
Read the commentary in German here.
Read a CLEW article on the EU emission deal here.
The car industry may have managed to weaken new EU car emissions regulations, but at least the new rules provide urgently needed planning security, argues a commentary in Tagesspiegel. “That is necessary, because a lot of money will need to be invested. A CO2 emissions cut of 30 percent by 2030 is not trivial,” it says, concluding: “One thing is clear: The new EU rules for the car industry alone won’t be enough to kickstart the transport transition. EU states will have to top up if they want to reach climate targets.”
Read a CLEW article on the EU emission deal here.
Clean Energy Wire
The joint communiqué from July’s G20 summit in Hamburg was a “major success” for multilateralism, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s economic advisor and G20 sherpa Lars-Henrik Röller said at an event on the sidelines of the UN climate conference in Bonn. The summit also “helped bring climate more soundly into the context of the G20 process”, Röller said. At the end of the summit, US President Donald Trump agreed to a final communiqué that included a 19:1 resolution on the Paris Climate Agreement, isolating the US. “It was not an easy year, and next year is not going to be any easier in terms of multilateral approaches,” Röller said, referring to next year’s G20 summit under the Argentinian presidency. Pedro Villagra Delgado, the Argentinian G20 sherpa, said the agenda adopted in Hamburg must continue, as would the agenda resulting from COP23 in Bonn.
For background, read the CLEW article Isolating Trump, 19 G20-members say Paris climate deal "irreversible" for an overview of the summit, and check out CLEW’s complete dossier on the Hamburg summit.
Reducing global emissions from transport sector is key to limiting climate change, and G20 countries are responsible for the lion’s share, according to a study by the German government's international development agency (GIZ) and transport think tank Agora Verkehrswende*. The report summarises current mitigation policies for transport in the G20 countries.
Find the study in English here.
* Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Verkehrswende is funded by the Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.