Franco-German climate cooperation / Tesla mulls Gigafactory in Germany
Clean Energy Wire
Germany and France have agreed to develop a 2050 European Union strategy for long-term decarbonisation, both governments said in a declaration following a joint ministerial meeting near Berlin. This is not only a necessity, but also an economic opportunity, they said, adding that “the only appropriate answer” to challenges like climate change lies in European cooperation. The countries also agreed to ensure the EU makes new commitments at the COP24 UN climate conference in Poland later this year and updates its nationally determined contribution (NDC) by early 2020. At the meeting, Germany and France also set up a joint inter-ministerial High Level Working Group on climate change, to support “ambitious implementation” of the Paris Agreement. The working group will “debate common positions on the energy transition, as well as instruments to support sustainable financing, and economic incentives including a price on CO₂”.
Read the article Merkel pledges stronger climate action globally and at home for more detail.
Negotiators from the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council have agreed to aim for a net-zero emissions economy “as early as possible”, with a carbon budget and national strategies for 2050, Euractiv reports. The Parliament went into negotiations with a “red line” – to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Under the agreement, the Commission will have until 1 April 2019 to propose a 2050 EU strategy for greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.
EU negotiators also signed off on new laws on energy efficiency for the next decade, Euractiv says in a separate article. The new regulatory framework includes a 2030 energy efficiency target for the EU of 32.5 percent.
The German government excels in setting climate goals and demonstrating goodwill internationally, but gets nothing done at home, Joachim Wille says in an opinion piece for Frankfurter Rundschau. “Ex-climate pioneer Germany keeps heating up the planet and gives the victims money to protect themselves against heat waves and rising sea levels,” Wille writes.
For background, read the article Merkel pledges stronger climate action globally and at home.
South Korean carmaker Hyundai has agreed a deal with Volkswagen Group’s Audi to collaborate on hydrogen car technology, hoping to boost an energy segment that has lagged behind battery electric vehicles, news agency Reuters reports. “The fuel cell is the most systematic form of electric driving and thus a potent asset in our technology portfolio for the emission-free premium mobility of the future,” Peter Mertens, board member for technical development at Audi, said in a press release. The companies will have access to each other’s intellectual property and share components, including any new parts developed by Audi, which is responsible for hydrogen fuel cell technology in the Volkswagen Group.
For background, read the dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector and the factsheet Power-to-gas: Fix for all problems or simply too expensive?
The term “just transition” was used at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue to mean limiting the economic consequences of decarbonisation in regions of industrial countries – a reasonable demand, Bernhard Pötter writes in an opinion piece for tageszeitung (taz). However, this must not result in forgetting about “the poorest of the poor who don’t contribute to the problem of climate change, but only suffer its consequences,” Pötter writes. These are the people we refer to when talking about “climate justice”, he added. “It would be a great injustice if the survival rights of the victims disappeared behind the self-righteousness of the perpetrators.”
Find the opinion piece in German here.
For background, read the CLEW article Germany's coal commission model for fair decarbonisation - union rep.
Metro / Marketwatch
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is eyeing Germany as a potential location for his company’s planned battery cell “Gigafactory” in Europe. Musk tweeted: “Germany is a leading choice for Europe. Perhaps on the German-French border makes sense, near the Benelux countries.” Other countries that had been mooted as possible locations include Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Portugal, according to a Marketwatch report.
Discussions among German carmakers over whether to establish their own battery cell production to reduce dependency on Asian suppliers are ongoing. In a setback for the European Union and the German government, Europe’s largest car-parts supplier Bosch decided in March not to enter production of battery cells.
For background, check out the dossier BMW, Daimler, and VW vow to fight in green transport revolution.
Reuters / Handelsblatt
German reinsurance group Hannover Re will no longer invest in companies that earn 25 percent or more of their revenue from mining or burning coal, according to a Reuters report. In May, Allianz said it would immediately stop insuring single coal-fired power plants and coal mines. According to a report in Handelsblatt, Hannover Re will continue to insure coal power plants, arguing that it is in the public interest that existing plants are insured.
A broad combination of policies ranging from straightforward CO₂ pricing to regulation of water and forest protection, as well as lifestyle changes such as eating less meat, may be the best way to meet climate-stabilisation targets alongside most of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, write the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), announcing a new study by the two organisations.