German companies' "anti-climate" lobby / Industry scathes Energiewende
Five major companies from Germany are among the world’s 35 most active anti-climate policy lobbying enterprises, British think tank InfluenceMap says. In a study that examines the companies most influential in shaping climate and energy policy around the world, Germany’s BASF, Bayer, Heidelberg Cement, Daimler and BMW figure among those who “delay or dilute efficiency and CO2 emissions standards and procedures both in Europe and North America” the think tank argues. Estimating a company’s impact on climate change solely by gauging their greenhouse gas emission “may be incomplete”, InfluenceMaps says in a study, arguing that their influence on climate-related public discourse and policy from governments merits similar attention. On the other hand, InfluenceMaps says Germany’s EnBW and Deutsche Telekom are among the companies most active in using their influence to further energy transition and emissions reduction goals.
See the study in English here.
See the CLEW dossier The energy transition and climate change for more information.
Innovation Forum Energiewende (If.E)
The German Energiewende policy endangers the country’s industry competitiveness, growth and employment, says an alliance of mining union IG BCE and businesses such as E.ON, Linde, BASF and Merck in a joint paper. The goal of competitiveness should be on par with climate protection targets within the energy transition policy, and more weight should be given to international measures like the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). “Additional national measures for sectors covered by the ETS limit its effectiveness, increase costs for climate protection and are an obstacle to a global level-playing field", write the signatories.
Find the paper in German here.
The government coalition of conservative CDU and pro-business FDP in Germany’s most populous federal state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has passed legislation on the limitation of wind power expansion, Welt Online reports. NRW’s economy minister Andreas Pinkwart conceded that the plans will put the brakes on wind power. But he said tighter regulation was necessary to maintain public acceptance given the numerous citizen group protests against further expansion of the technology. The new rules define a minimum distance for turbines of 1,500 metres to the next residential area and prohibit construction in forested areas, the article says. More than 60 companies from the wind power industry recently criticised the government’s plans, saying it would reduce the area available for the renewable energy source by 90 percent and threatened the success of Germany’s Energiewende as a whole.
Find the article in German here.
Read the CLEW article Booming German wind power sector fears 2019 cliff on the industry’s imminent future prospects.
See the CLEW factsheets Fighting windmills: When growth hits resistance and German onshore wind power – output, business and perspectives for more information.
German luxury carmaker BMW has unveiled its new all-electric model aimed at the mass market. BMW said the four-door sedan dubbed “i Vision Dynamics” will have a range of 600 kilometres. CEO Harald Krüger said his company is “electrifying the heart of the BMW brand”. According to German media reports, BMW employees have dubbed the new model “Tesla-Killer”.
Read an article in English in Green Car Reports here.
For background, read the article Frankfurt car show puts spotlight on German carmakers’ troubles and the factsheet Early e-car starter BMW plans new mobility sprint.
Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut)
The Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) has published a fact check answering frequently asked questions on electro-mobility. Questions include ‘Do e-vehicles have a positive carbon footprint over the course of their life span, compared to conventional cars?’ [yes, already today], ‘How much power will e-mobility need in the future?’ [relatively little need in short term, or 4 percent of today’s total German power consumption, more in the long term – 20 percent of today’s consumption], and ‘Is e-mobility an option for freight transport as well?’ [yes, much needed, but a big challenge].
Find the fact check in German here.
German Farmers’ Association
Fulfilling the EU’s climate protection standards in agriculture cost German farmers about 310 million euros every year, the German Farmers’ Association (DBV) says in a press release. Total costs for complying with “the high national and European” environmental protection standards amounted to 5.2 billion euros, with water and plant protection being the biggest items of expenditure, the lobby group says. While German farmers supported the standards “demanded by society” in full, they faced a “substantial competitive disadvantage” vis-à-vis agricultural industries in other world regions that had to be “considered in EU talks over agricultural subsidies,” the DBV says.
Find the press release in German here.
The EU Commission plans to ask EU member states to grant it the mandate to negotiate the legal operating conditions of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with Russia, reports Daniel Brössler for Süddeutsche Zeitung. According to a draft, seen by Süddeutsche, the Commission warns that transport volumes via existing pipelines through Ukraine, Slovakia, Belarus and Poland could “massively decrease” and Russia’s power on the European gas market would grow, writes Brössler. “This could impede the development of an open gas market with price competition and diversified supply to the EU,” writes the Commission.
Find the article in German here.
Read CLEW news digest items about developments on the issue here.
With wind and solar power revolutionising energy systems in many countries, the world is currently witnessing a development that would have been written off as “wishful thinking by idealistic fools” just a few years ago, Thorsten Knuf writes in Frankfurter Rundschau. Coal and nuclear power “are not quite finished yet” but their end is beginning to show on the horizon, Knuf argues. The current state of nuclear power especially illustrates the ongoing transition, as the average age of plants around the world is on the rise and investors are reluctant to brush up the reactors, “secretly knowing that the money is better spent on wind or solar farms” he says. Germany’s 2022 nuclear exit will therefore only be the prelude to many more countries finishing off nuclear power since its inherent lie becomes apparent: “It’s neither safe nor cheap and it does not make a country independent,” Knuf says.
For background, see the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.