07 Nov 2016, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Firms call for ambitious climate plan / Unions push for e-mobility

Süddeutsche Zeitung

A new draft of federal environment minister Barbara Hendricks’ contentious Climate Action Plan 2050 says that there would be no new coal-fired power plants or expansions of existing open pit mines, writes Michael Bauchmüller in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “With this, the lignite endgame begins,” writes Bauchmüller. The new draft calls on the federal government to lobby for a floor price for auctioned EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) carbon certificates on the European level. It also includes emission-reduction targets for the individual sectors - which had been cut from earlier drafts. The Climate Action Plan 2050 is currently in consultation between federal ministries. It is not clear if it will be ready to be approved by the cabinet this week.

Read the article in German here.

For background read the CLEW article Ministry avoids concrete targets in weakened Climate Action Plan.

Leipziger Volkszeitung

The federal state of Saxony intends to forge a coalition of coal-producing German states against a possible nation-wide coal exit, the Leipziger Volkszeitung reports. Saxony’s Christian-democrat state premier Stanislaw Tillich called the aim to tackle coal in the Climate Action Plan 2050 a “catastrophically wrong decision” that would eventually cause the Energiewende to fail, according to the newspaper. Tillich vowed to “fight for securing affordable electricity” while his party agreed on an investment guarantee for lignite mining in Saxony, the newspaper added.

For more information on the regional impact of energy transition read the CLEW factsheet German federalism: In 16 states of mind over the Energiewende.

Foundation 2° / Germanwatch / B.A.U.M. e.V.

A group of more than 40 companies has called for 2030-targets for all sectors in a Climate Action Plan 2050 that “clearly signals” the implementation of the commitments made in the Paris Agreement. “This is the only way that new business models and concrete decarbonisation plans can be developed,” the companies write in a public appeal. They emphasise the “economic possibilities” of climate protection efforts and call for planning security. “Climate protection through businesses creates jobs and secures the competitiveness and sustainability of Germany as a business location,” says the appeal. Commerzbank, Hochtief, IKEA, EnBW, German Telekom, METRO Group and Adidas have all signed the appeal. The industry has so far mostly criticised strict climate protection measures laid out in earlier drafts of the environment ministry’s climate plan.

Find the appeal in German here.

For background read the CLEW article Ministry avoids concrete targets in weakened Climate Action Plan.


The squabbling in the German government over its Climate Action Plan 2050 is a result of the seriousness with which the topic is being treated, writes Bernhard Pötter in a commentary for Deutschlandfunk’s website. “Most other countries come up with some sort of climate plan, have it registered with the UN – and then forget about it if doesn’t suit their plans,” Pötter writes. But Germany’s governing grand coalition fights over its climate plans content and now intends to come up with a last-minute solution to present something to the world at COP22 in Marrakesh, he adds. Germany could therefore “serve as an example how a democratic society properly argues over finding the right way for energy transition”, the author states.

Read the article in German here.

Der Spiegel

Unions want to push car industry managers to speed up the transition to emission-free mobility, reports weekly magazine Der Spiegel. Powerful metalworkers’ union IG Metall plans to publish a paper on “Cutting CO2 pollution in individual transport”, write Sven Böll, Horand Knaup, and Gerald Traufetter. Unions fear the shift to e-mobility will put hundreds of thousands of jobs in the car industry at risk in Germany but IG Metall demands carmakers go on the offensive to lead the transformation. “Technical finesse to reduce emissions won’t get us any further. It’s about a system change at full throttle. It’s about a transport transition – we won’t be able to avoid it,” Frank Iwer, head of the union’s planning, told the magazine. The IG Metall paper recommends diesel driving bans in cities to push e-mobility and a faster roll-out of charging infrastructure, among other suggestions.

Read the article in German here.

For background on the struggle of Germany’s automotive industry to shift to decarbonised mobility read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.


A U.S. regulatory agency has found a new kind of device in Audi vehicles that lowers a car’s carbon dioxide emissions during testing, says Reuters news agency, citing a report by German weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag. The California Air Resources Board is said to have detected a software in a vehicle of the German carmaker that registers whether the car’s steering wheel is being moved and switches a carbon-dioxide reducing mechanism on or off accordingly, Reuters reports. Audi previously admitted using another cheating software that its parent company Volkswagen installed in more than eleven million of its vehicles.

Read the article by Reuters in English here.

Read the article by Bild am Sonntag (behind paywall) in German here.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

New guidelines for the industry in the German government’s Climate Action Plan 2050 bear traces of a planned economy, writes Christoph Eisenring in Neue Zürcher Zeitung. He cites measures such as expanding the area of arable land reserved for ecological agriculture from about six to 20 percent until 2030, or obligations for companies to issue “climate reports”, as examples of a policy approach that favours fixed goals over market mechanisms. Conflicting objectives would simply be quenched with public money – as, for instance, the remuneration for feeding renewable energy into the grid demonstrates, Eisenring writes. Berlin should instead make use of its upcoming G20 presidency to strengthen market-based tools such as the flawed emission trading scheme within the EU, the author says.

Read more on the costs of energy transition in the CLEW dossier Energiewende effects on power prices, costs and industry.

Financial Times

Germany’s fragmented political landscape could become the driving force behind the country’s energy transition, writes Nick Butler for Financial Times. New types of government coalitions after the 2017 federal elections could include, for example, the Green Party. “The SPD [currently in the government coalition] with its strong links to the coal industry is likely to try to preserve it, at least for now. But a centre-right coalition [CDU and Green Party] could sacrifice coal as well as setting new limits on the use of natural gas,” writes Butler.

Read the article in English here.

For background information, read the CLEW factsheet German elections ahead: The road to the next Energiewende government.


It has been unclear for a long time whether offshore wind turbines can produce power without subsidies, writes Franz Hubik in business daily Handelsblatt. But the industry is about to reach competitiveness, and hopes this will lead to a growth spurt, according to a new analysis by management consultancy Roland Berger. “Offshore wind is set to take off in a big way,” writes Roland Berger senior partner Arnoud van der Slot in a Blog post. “Now the tide has turned and offshore wind is garnering enormous interest around the world.”

Read the Handelsblatt article in German here, and a Roland Berger Blog post on offshore wind in English here.


Engineers in Germany are storing water for hydroelectricity inside wind turbines, allowing the towers to act like massive batteries when the wind stops, writes Michael Coren for online news outlet Quartz. “It’s the first major example of the two technologies being physically integrated to supply reliable renewable energy,” writes Coren.

For more information on the project read the CLEW factsheet Local stories from Germany's energy transition.

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