24 Oct 2017, 00:00
Julian Wettengel

German rail ratchets up climate ambition / Morals in climate policy

Deutsche Bahn / Tagesspiegel

Germany’s biggest power consumer, Deutsche Bahn (DB), has set itself new climate protection targets ahead of the COP23 UN climate conference in Bonn next month, Henrik Mortsiefer reports for the Tagesspiegel. The company – including its global logistics subsidiary Schenker – aims to reduce CO₂ emissions by 50 percent by 2030, compared to 2006 (it already achieved a 25 percent cut in 2016). DB currently gets 42 percent power for its rail operations from renewables, and aims to increase this share to 70 percent by 2030. “Rail travel equals climate protection,” DB’s CEO Richard Lutz said in a press release. Switching to a 100-percent renewable power supply by 2030 isn't possible because Deutsche Bahn has long-term contracts for coal power, Mortsiefer writes.

Read the DB press release in English here and the Tagesspiegel article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Against resistance from the German government, the EU Commission continues to seek participation in negotiations over Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, Daniel Brössler and Alexander Mühlauer report for Süddeutsche Zeitung. The EU Commission wants to change EU law so that in the future, gas pipelines connecting non-member states to the EU come under European regulation. It is unclear if the Council of the European Union would support such a legislative amendment, Brössler and Mühlauer write.

Read the article in German here.

Read other CLEW news digest items about developments on the issue here. For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and its implications for international security and the CLEW factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.


Moral responsibility plays a more important role in environmental policy than previously thought, according to a new study by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) and the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB). Environmental and climate policy tends to overlook that people are not just goal-orientated, but also driven by moral responsibility, the institutions say in a press release. In an experiment performed as part of the study, most participants preferred to clean up a “mess” which they caused themselves rather than having this task done by a partner—even if that would have been much more profitable for both of them. “The results from the MCC and the WZB are highly relevant for the design of climate policy instruments, such as a possible reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS),” the press release says. The study's authors say that because of moral attitudes, a carbon tax might be easier to communicate than emissions trading.

Read the press release in English here and find the article in English here.

Federation of German Industries (BDI)

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) has published demands for the coming legislative period in the form of a 10-point plan. It calls for new ways to finance renewables expansion, tax-based support for energy-efficient building renovation, grid fee increases to be kept in check, and for the EU emissions trading system to be used as the key instrument in energy and climate policy. The BDI also insists policies for the transition to greener transport should not favour any one technology over another. 

Find the paper in German here.

For background, read the CLEW What energy & climate stakeholders want from Germany's next government.

DNR / BUND / WWF Germany

Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), WWF Germany and other environmental and development NGOs in the umbrella organisation DNR have presented a proposal for Germany to reach its 2020 goals. The emergency climate protection programme includes concrete measures, including cutting coal-fired power generation capacity in half by 2020, which it says is essential to reach the target. Expansion of renewable capacity should be accelerated, energy efficiency improved, and the mobility transition pushed forward, for example by setting a deadline to phase out the combustion engine through “a clear regulatory framework by the federal government”.  

Read the press release in German here and the paper in German here, and read a Clean Technica article on the topic in English here.

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