It is “remarkable” that the G20 summit in Hamburg did not end up in scandal given that US President Donald Trump came across like a “grizzly bear among a mountaineering rope team”, writes Stefan Ulrich in an opinion piece for Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Above all, this summit sends out the message that not even the United States – still the world’s most powerful country – succeeded in dissuading the others from climate protection,” he writes. All other G20 members reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, showing that the world was “capable of acting without, and even against the USA”, writes Ulrich.
Read the opinion piece in German here.
The G20 summit’s G19 outcome on climate is “quite acceptable” as Donald Trump was unlikely to change his mind on pulling out of the Paris Agreement, writes Christoph Seidler for Spiegel Online. Little has therefore changed as the countries’ commitments were not enough to limit the most dramatic consequences of climate change, writes Seidler. “However, Hamburg has brought the certainty that humanity is not veering further off course than so far,” he concludes.
Read the article in German here.
A standstill can still be considered a success during Donald Trump’s time as US president, write Malte Kreutzfeld and Ingo Arzt in an article for tageszeitung (taz). The G20, which isolated Trump on climate, did not bring progress to global climate protection - but at least it did not take a step backwards, making the summit a success in this respect, write Kreutzfeld and Arzt.
Read the article in German here.
G20 members commend private commitment to climate risk reporting but do not universally recommend it in the climate and energy action plan, which was annexed to the G20 Hamburg summit leaders’ communiqué, writes Dagmar Dehmer for Tagesspiegel Background. The plan merely pointed out that the industry-led Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) had published recommendations on voluntary disclosures of climate-related financial risks by corporates, writes Dehmer.
“Climate change and the challenge of defending multilateralism in an era of Trumpian protectionism has finally given Germany a global leadership role,” writes Jennifer Tollmann in a blog article for E3G. US president Donald Trump’s rejection of the responsibilities of global leadership “represented a chance for other G20 countries, and Germany in particular as this year’s Presidency, to pioneer a new sort of international leadership. One which convenes nations rather than commands. One that builds on the values of multilateralism - not to be confused with consensus”, writes Tollmann.
Read the blog article in English here.
For background, read the CLEW articles Germany faces balancing act in climate leadership role and Merkel wins respect for G20 climate result at "B-"-summit.
WWF / Rheinische Post
The new governing coalition of conservative CDU and economic liberal FDP in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) is set to undermine the country’s climate protection goals, environmental organisation WWF says in a press release. The CDU-FDP coalition agreement “runs counter to the federal government’s climate goals”, particularly in the fields of coal-fired power production and wind power generation, WWF says. One third of Germany’s CO2 emissions came from heavy-industry heartland NRW. The new government seemed intent on “a rollback” of the Energiewende by avoiding any decrease of coal-fired power production and severely limiting the area available for wind power expansion.
WWF Germany’s Michael Schäfer told newspaper Rheinische Post that “NRW alone burns more lignite than the entire USA”.
For background, see the CLEW factsheet The German state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Welt am Sonntag
The new governing coalition of conservative CDU and economic liberal FDP in Germany's most populous federal state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) seems intent on curbing wind power expansion but is hit by resistance from the job-creating industry, Guido M. Hartmann writes in Welt am Sonntag. The coalition agreement says new installations had to maintain a distance of at least 1,500 metres to residential areas. Renewable energy advocates fear that this could severely damage an industry employing about 19,000 people in the state, he writes. NRW’s new government assures that “there will be further expansion” but German wind turbine market leader Enercon calls the policy “myopic”. Utility innogy board member Hans Bünting says “we’d like to keep investing” in wind power in NRW, but the new rules seemed to make implementation of many planned projects impossible.
Read the article in German here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier Onshore wind power in Germany.
Most Germans say the costs for renewable energy expansion are not fairly distributed across the country, Thüringische Landeszeitung reports. A representative survey by pollster Kantar Emnid found 59 percent of respondents said the costs paid by power customers with their electricity bill could be allocated more fairly. And 77 percent called for a new reform of the renewable energy act (EEG), the newspaper says. Calls for a reform increased on average with the age of survey respondents, it adds.
For more information, see the CLEW factsheet Germany ponders how to finance renewables expansion in the future and the dossier The reform of the Renewable Energy Act.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
German utility EnBW is to equip the country’s most frequented motorway (Autobahn) service stations with charging stations for e-cars, Bernd Freytag and Susanne Preuß write in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The company wants to have set up 1,000 stations on the Autobahn and at other locations in several federal states by 2020, the article says. “We as an infrastructure partner do not want to be the bottleneck” for the German government’s aim to have one million electric cars on the road by 2020, EnBW CEO Frank Mastiaux said. There are 50,000 e-cars currently registered in Germany, the article says.
Read the article in German here (behind paywall).
For more information, see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
Germany’s two biggest utilities E.ON and RWE, together with smaller energy providers EnBW and Vattenfall, paid over 24 billion euros in June to “finally rid themselves of the consequences of the government-induced nuclear exit”, Thomas Klemm writes in weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. The move caused a sudden surge in demand for their shares. It represented a “remarkable” resurgence as the two big utilities “posted the largest loss in their companies’ history in 2016”, Klemm says. More and more investors believe that “things are going better than expected”, he writes. But the fact that both companies are suffering from low wholesale power prices remained unchanged, Klemm adds.
See the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition for background.