20 Jun 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

G20 NGOs pin climate hopes on Merkel / "Transatlantic irritation"

Clean Energy Wire

More than 300 civil society organisations call on “the remaining 19 members of the G20 to reaffirm their unfaltering commitment” to the implementation of The Paris Agreement after the US decision to leave the accord. The G20 engagement group Civil20 (C20) handed a communiqué demanding “a radical transformation of the present neoliberal economic system” to German Chancellor Angela Merkel after a meeting in Hamburg. Among other things, the C20 called for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, setting effective and fair carbon price signals and “sticking to the promises” to ramp up climate financing. “We will not be able to fulfil everything you envisage,” Merkel told the summit participants. “But things will hopefully progress again step-by-step this time. Above all, we must not go backwards.” The communiqué is a condensed version of C20 policy recommendations to the G20 from March.

Find a press release in German here.

For background read the CLEW article NGOs urge Merkel to push G20 on climate despite US opt-out.

Die Welt

Germany’s indignation over the US Senate’s planned expansion of economic sanctions on Russia illustrates “the whole extent of irritation in the current transatlantic relationship”, Richard Herzinger writes in Die Welt. Leading German officials find themselves hand in glove with Trump when it comes to making profitable deals with Russia, Herzinger says. “That [German foreign minister Sigmar] Gabriel pretends to speak for all Europeans on this matter is pure arrogance,” he argues. The current US administration’s words and actions are causing great damage for the alliance of Western democracies, but “a more assertive Europe” should work towards restoring this alliance instead of further disrupting it, Herzinger says.

Read the article in German here.  

See the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and its implications for international security for background.

Zeit Online

The row between Germany, Austria and the US Senate over a planned expansion of US sanctions on Russia has renewed the energy transition’s importance as a means to achieve greater energy supply security, Petra Pinzler writes in a column for Zeit Online. The “dull economic nationalism” in the US Senate could “almost lead to sympathy for the Nord Stream pipeline”, Pinzler says. But the gas-supply project linking Germany with Russia via the Baltic Sea is also heavily contested within the EU, she argues. It would not only make Berlin more susceptible to blackmailing by Moscow but also alienate its eastern European partners. Advancing the energy transition was therefore both the cheapest and most environmentally friendly option for Germany, but also one which makes it far less susceptible to foreign pressure, Pinzler says. 

Read the column in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels for background.

Deutsche Bank

The path to autonomous vehicles will be an evolution rather than a revolution, and fully “digital cars” won’t dominate Germany’s roads before 2040, according to a Deutsche Bank study. This is due to the industry’s long development cycles, the longevity of cars, and the sluggishness of consumer preferences, writes author Eric Heymann. Some IT companies might have an advantage in certain aspects of autonomous cars, for example in the associated data market, but car production itself should remain the domain of traditional carmakers. “It wouldn’t be surprising if many of today’s carmakers (not only from Germany) and their suppliers determine technological trends of the ‘digital car’ to a large degree in 15 to 25 years,” concludes Heymann.

Find the study in German here and a Spiegel article on the study in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.


Power customers in Germany on average paid about 2.5 percent more for electricity in June than they did in January, price comparison website Check24 says in a listing seen by Clean Energy Wire. An average household with a consumption of about 3,500 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year now paid between 84 and 89 euros per month, depending on the standard rate they subscribed to, Check 24 added.

See the CLEW factsheet What German households pay for power for background. 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The national alignment of expansion costs for Germany’s power transmission grid - a core energy policy demand of eastern German states - could fall prey to dispute between the ruling social democratic (SPD) and conservative (CDU/CSU) parliamentary groups, Andreas Mihm writes for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Saxony’s conservative state premier Stanislaw Tillich urged the government not to postpone a decision to the next legislative period as this would “further intensify social and economic divergences” of the energy transition, Mihm writes. Costs for grid expansion are mostly incurred where construction takes place, making grid fees in the northern, eastern and southern Germany twice as high as in the country’s west, he adds.

See the CLEW factsheet Power grid fees – unfair and opaque? for more information.

Energie & Management

Germany’s “technology-neutral” joint auctions for wind and solar power projects are the result of “a political bargaining process” instead of sound economic strategy, Angelika Nikionok-Ehrlich writes for Energie & Management. “Even the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), which made the draft law, is not in favour of joint auctions,” she argues. Nikionok-Ehrlich says Germany gave in to EU demands in order to keep its energy-intensive industry rebates from the renewables surcharge (EEG-Umlage). The joint auctions could be seen as a “return service” by Germany’s government for the EU’s acceptance of industry rebates, she says. The renewables industry, however, feared putting wind and solar in competition would lead to higher “system costs”, diminished acceptance and economic disadvantages.

Read the article in German here (behind paywall). 

See the CLEW article on Citizens’ projects dominate first onshore wind power auction for background.

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