01 Jun 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann

Germany, China vow to fight climate change amid Trump concerns


Germany and China vowed to continue their fight against climate change hours before U.S. President Donald Trump announces whether he will quit the Paris Agreement, according to a Reuters report. "We are living in times of global uncertainty and see that we have a responsibility to expand our partnership in all the different areas and to push for a world order based on law," Merkel said at a joint news conference with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. "China will stand by its responsibilities on climate change," Li said.
On Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chancellor Merkel had said they wanted to intensify bilateral cooperation on climate and environmental protection.

Find the article in English here.

For background read the CLEW articles German reactions to reports on US withdrawal from Paris Agreement and Germany, China urge US to remain in climate agreement.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

A basic principle of international law says that “agreements must be kept,” Stefan Kornelius writes in a commentary for Süddeutsche Zeitung. By publicly pondering whether to pull his country out of the Paris Climate Agreement, US President Donald Trump “ignores” this principle and provides proof for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s warning that the US currently cannot be fully relied on anymore, he writes. It would be an “almost insane contradiction” if Trump decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as he would ignore the opinion of climate, economics, and energy experts, and would instead listen to a group of advisers, “who might well believe the world was made in six working days”, Kornelius argues. Even if Trump “doesn’t understand anything about climate policy”, he should be made wary by the fact that strategists from both political camps in the US fear that Washington could say farewell to its leadership role, and could instead become “a bizarre disruptive factor in global politics”.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article German reactions to reports on US withdrawal from Paris Agreement for more information.

Zeit Online

As long as Donald Trump is president of the US, it is “basically irrelevant” whether or not his country remains a party to the Paris Climate Agreement, development economist Stephan Klasen says on Zeit Online. Even if the US remained within the treaty, “Trump has made clear he has no interest in reducing emissions in climate-harming sectors,” Klasen argues. But remaining would be the better option for a post-Trump era, “because the US would take its responsibilities seriously again and could join efforts to further develop” the agreement, Klasen says.

Find the article in German here.

See the CLEW article German reactions to reports on US withdrawal from Paris Agreement for more information.

The European Union can reach its 2030 climate targets at a much lower cost than predicted by the European Commission because the recent drop in renewables’ costs has exceeded expectations, according to a discussion paper published by energy think tank Agora Energiewende*. “The EU renewable energy target – currently to achieve a 27 percent share of renewable energy in final energy consumption by 2030 – can be considerably raised without additional cost”, according to a press release.

Find the press release and the paper in English here.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.

Germany will have to build new power plants in the south of the country to preserve supply security after its nuclear exit in 2022, according to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). Rapid response plants with a total capacity of 1.2 gigawatts will be required until the construction of major transmission lines will be completed that will carry wind power from Germany’s north to the industrial south. The new plants will only serve as an emergency backup, and will not be allowed to sell power on the exchange, says the agency. Grid operators called for additional capacities of “about two gigawatts” in February.
Utility association BDEW said the need for additional plants showed a massive lag in urgently needed grid extensions. “Therefore, it would be dangerous to question the grid extension,” said the association’s head, Stefan Kapferer, in a press release.

Find the grid agency’s press release in German here.

Find the utility association’s press release in German here.

Environmental Action Germany

The likely new coalition government in Germany’s most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) seems to aim for watering down energy efficiency standards for new buildings, Environmental Action Germany (DUH) said in a press release. During their coalition talks, the conservative CDU and the economic liberal FDP parties have signalled that they consider Germany’s new Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) to be a hurdle for housing investments, DUH explained. The organisation’s head, Sascha Müller-Kraenner, said that “efficiency standards only play a minor role if you look at total construction costs”. He argued that “the alleged conflict” between affordable housing and climate protection “is being used once again to further business interests”.

See the press release in German here.

Read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency for background.

Tageszeitung (taz)

A regional branch of Germany’s Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) intends to push for a moratorium on wind power expansion in northern federal states in order to protect birds from being killed by wind turbine blades, David Joram writes in Tageszeitung (taz). According to a species protection study, “half a common buzzard is being killed per year and turbine”, totalling 12,500 dead birds, or the equivalent of five percent of the population every year, Joram explains. NABU therefore argues that a standstill agreement on wind power expansion is necessary to contain the impact on local bird populations. Jan Schüring, NABU’s branch leader for East Frisia, adds that most turbines cannot currently be used in absence of transmission and storage capacities anyway, and calls for tightening the environmental protection rules for the licensing of new turbines.

Read the article in German here.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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