Germans commute by car / “Insincere German climate policy”
Most Germans use their car to get to their workplace, according to Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). More than two thirds (68 percent) use the car, while just 14 percent routinely take public transportation services such as buses or trains to get to work, Destatis says in a press release. The car is also Germany’s most used means of transport for short distances below five kilometres: with 40 percent of surveyed commuters using the automobile, whereas 28 percent walk, 23 percent use a bicycle and only 8 percent public transport.
See the press release in German here.
For background, see the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.
German coal states have been insincere by voting for the Paris Climate Agreement last year in the Bundesrat – the council of state governments – and now toning down their climate protection efforts, writes Michael Bauchmüller in an opinion piece in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “The lignite states believe they act in the interest of the employees. Quite the contrary. They are clinging to the past, while the world is searching for alternatives,” writes Bauchmüller. Exploring these alternatives and supporting businesses in doing so would “create jobs and future. Smart state politicians would know this”, writes Bauchmüller.
Read the opinion piece in German here.
It is incomprehensible that the Left Party in the Brandenburg state government does not defend existing ambitious emission reduction targets against its coalition partner SPD, writes Eva Bulling-Schröter, spokesperson for energy and climate policy for the federal Left Party’s parliamentary group in the Bundestag, in a guest commentary in Tagesspiegel Background. “Because a corporation’s district planning isn’t God-given, and cannot dictate a state government’s energy policy,” writes Bulling-Schröter.
Read the full guest commentary in German here.
The federal government has supported Germany’s private economy with a record amount of financial assistance and tax exemptions in the current legislative period, reports Cerstin Gammelin in Süddeutsche Zeitung. According to the government’s draft subsidy report, seen by Süddeutsche, the state gives 1.8 billion euros annually for building renovation, subsidises domestic hard coal sales with more than a billion euros, and spends 650 million euros on energy efficiency support. The federal cabinet is to approve the draft report this week.
Read the article in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Chemist Robert Schlögl, from Germany’s Max-Planck-Research-Institute, wants to save combustion engine technology and its infrastructure from being gradually replaced with electric vehicles by developing synthetic fuel from hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2), Andreas Mihm writes in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “The methodology is well-known, the technology can be bought off the shelf, the patents are registered – we just have to get started,” Schlögl told the newspaper. The professor for chemistry says a decisive emissions reduction in the transport sector cannot be done only by building e-cars – and neglecting one billion existing combustion engines around the world and their infrastructure, Mihm writes. Schlögl adds that using CO2 to produce synthetic fuel gives the greenhouse gas a second lease on life and turns the otherwise unwanted by-product into a usable resource.
For background on German manufacturers' struggle to shift to decarbonised mobility, see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
Employees of German utility Uniper have agreed on an austerity deal and forgo fringe benefits of five percent of their standard wages in order to avoid enforced redundancies until 2022, Rheinische Post reports. The conventional energy subsidiary of German utility E.ON wants to lower its expenses by 400 million euros until next year to compensate losses incurred by a drop in wholesale energy prices, the article says. “This is yet another step to make the company competitive,” Uniper CEO Klaus Schäfer said. However, the deal between employee representatives and the company board only protects 3,000 of Uniper’s 5,000 jobs in the country.
Read the article in German here.
See the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition for more information.
Climate protection protests in Germany’s western region Rhineland have become the new beacon of non-parliamentary leftist political activity in the country, Martin Kaul writes in a commentary for leftist newspaper Tageszeitung (taz). The planned blockade of coal mining pits in the region has the potential to unify left-wing protesters as much as demonstrations against nuclear waste transports (Castor) and the nuclear waste repository Gorleben in the northern region of Wendland in the 1980s, Kaul argues. “The energy question has always been an appropriate blueprint for testing systematic and social thinking,” he says. If thousands of protesters meet in the Rhineland next week to advocate a German coal exit, “they have something to gain – and to shape policy”.
Read the commentary in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet The history behind Germany’s nuclear phase-out for more information.
Die Welt / Bilfinger
German industrial services provider Bilfinger intensifies its nuclear power business regardless of the country’s nuclear phase-out, reports Michael Gassmann in Die Welt. The company has been awarded waste treatment orders in the UK and Sweden worth a total of 30 million euros, writes Bilfinger in a press release. The German nuclear exit will likely bring Bilfinger several additional orders worth millions or tens of millions of euros each, writes Gassmann in his article.