28 Sep 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

German climate record in focus at COP23 / Prelude to Jamaica talks

Die Welt

The upcoming UN climate change conference (COP23), which will take place in Bonn on 6-17 November, will focus the international community’s attention on the fact that Germany, the poster boy of climate protection, is bound to miss its 2020 targets, writes Steven Hanke in die Welt. “The German delegation will get an earful”, because the industrialised nations will have to prove their commitment at the Bonn event. “The only hope is an immediate action programme by the new government that becomes reality in the first half of 2018 […] It’s unlikely to work without a significant reduction of coal power”, says Hanke.

Read the article in German here.

Find background in the factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?


Challenging Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent promise that Germany will find ways to meet its 2020 climate targets, nine analysts and researchers contacted by Bloomberg have said that the country will probably fail in its efforts, report Mathew Carr, Brian Parkin, and Lars Paulsson. “Merkel’s stoic approach to meet the non-binding 2020 goal would most likely come down to how tough the governing coalition is prepared to be on the nation’s biggest polluters. Plants burning coal still produced about 40 percent of the nation’s power last year.”
There is no way the goal can be met by improving energy efficiency or encouraging electric car use at the pace required within four years, said Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Jahn Olsen. The significant differences in the FDP’s and the Greens’ positions mean that Germany probably will not be able to put together a plan to hit the target during the coalition negotiations, said Deepa Venkateswaran, an analyst in London at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

Read the article in English here.

For background, read the CLEW article Germany heads for "spectacular" 2020 climate target miss - study.

Welt Online

The Free Democrats’ (FDP) leader, Christian Lindner, has said his party will strive for “a reasonable energy policy” if it is going to be part of Germany’s next government. The economic liberal FDP could become part of a coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the environmentalist Green Party, dubbed the ‘Jamaica’ coalition because the three parties’ colours - black (CDU/CSU), yellow (FDP), and green (Greens) – match those of the Caribbean country’s flag. The FDP would be “ready to talk about how this goal can be achieved. But the goal itself is non-negotiable”, Lindner said in an interview with Welt Online. He said the FDP “will only enter a coalition if there’s a turnaround in German politics”, but would otherwise join the opposition. The FDP head argued that the Green Party needed to resolve an internal dispute between its centrist and left-leaning members before any serious coalition talks can start, adding that “I’d welcome if those Greens in favour of political realism gained the upper hand”.

Find the article in German here (behind paywall).

See the CLEW factsheets Climate & energy stumbling blocks for Jamaica-coalition talks and The long road to a new government coalition in Germany for background.

Hamburger Abendblatt

The German Green Party’s co-leader, Cem Özdemir, has said that climate protection, European integration, and social justice are the topics his party will be most adamant on in a possible coalition with the conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the economic liberal FDP. In an interview with the Hamburger Abendblatt, Özdemir said that for the coalition talks to succeed, “everybody needs to feel like a winner”, meaning that each party has to make gains in policy areas that they deem particularly important. Özdemir said that for talks on a so-called ‘Jamaica’ coalition (CDU/CSU, FDP, and Greens), it was necessary for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian sister party CSU to “resolve their internal differences” first. The Greens’ co-leader said that Germany had to phase out coal-fired power plants and focus on the production of emissions-free cars to maintain its strong position in the automotive sector, adding that the Greens were “ready to assume responsibility” in a government coalition, “but not at any price”.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheets Climate & energy stumbling blocks for Jamaica-coalition talks and The long road to a new government coalition in Germany for background. 

Spiegel Online

The shift to e-mobility means it is now easier than ever before to build a car, as prominent suppliers like Bosch or Schaeffler offer many of the necessary components, reports Christian Frahm for Spiegel Online. New startups “no longer need a budget worth billions for development -, they only need an innovative idea”. Suppliers now provide entire engines in their construction kits, which is a fundamental shift in the industry.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the Dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Employees of German utility Uniper fear that the company could be split up after its potential acquisition by Finnish energy group Fortum, affecting many jobs, write Michael Bauchmüller and Benedikt Müller in Süddeutsche Zeitung. Should Fortum become a major shareholder, it could decide to sell business areas which do not correspond to the Finns’ strategy of climate-friendly power production, such as gas and coal-fired power plants, Immo Schlepper of trade union Verdi told Süddeutsche.  

Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.

Find background in the CLEW news digest entry Utility E.ON in advanced talks to sell Uniper stake to Finnish utility Fortum, the dossier Battered utilities take on start-ups in innovation race, and the factsheet Germany’s largest utilities at a glance.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for a European price of 25-30 euro per tonne of CO₂ has received mixed reactions in Germany, reports Andreas Mihm in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. German utilities argue that the proposed scheme would put the French power industry at an advantage, because it is largely based on low-emission nuclear power. The industrial location Germany would suffer due to the country's power mix, said utility RWE. The economy ministry cautioned that “up until now, there was no majority for [such a CO₂ price] on a European level”. Scientists and economists have praised Macron’s proposal and said it would make much more sense economically than national solo efforts, writes Mihm.

For background, read the CLEW article Experts call for CO2 price to retain Energiewende’s credibility.

Overseas Development Institute (ODI) / CAN / Green Budget Germany (FÖS)

Germany is demonstrating leadership across the EU in transparently reporting its fossil fuel subsidies, but its subsidies applied through tax deductions in transport and electricity remain very high, write the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the Climate Action Network (CAN), and Green Budget Germany (FÖS) in a report. “Germany has also significantly increased subsidies to the use of fossil fuels in industrial processes through tax breaks for energy-intensive industries, which amounted to almost 10 billion euros per year between 2014 and 2016”, write the organisations.

Find the summary report in English here, and the brief on Germany in English here.

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