04 Jun 2018, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Gov agency says Germany must step up climate action / G7 pledge leader

German Energy Agency (dena)

The German government should quickly narrow down its mid-century greenhouse gas reduction goal because energy policy decisions in the here and now depend on it, said German Energy Agency (dena) head Andreas Kuhlmann. “My recommendation to the government is to aim for a 95 percent target,” otherwise climate protection in Germany could “fail dramatically”, Kuhlmann said at the press presentation of dena’s new energy transition study “Integrated Energiewende” in Berlin. The study compares four different scenarios in reaching the 80 or 95 percent climate targets by 2050. It concludes that a mix of technologies and renewable energy sources – including renewable power-based fuels – is more robust than betting largely on electrification, because existing infrastructure can be used and public acceptance is greater. On the whole, the transformation scenarios using a mix are up to 600 billion euros cheaper than those betting on intensive electrification, but Germany will be more dependend on imports of renewable power-based fuels. In all scenarios, renewable power production must more than quadruple by 2050. dena calls for more speed in energy efficiency measures and renewables expansion as well as the development of renewables-based hydrogen capacities of 15 gigawatt by 2030. Kuhlmann said that the Energiewende was more about investments in the future than costs in the present.

Find the press release in German here and the study in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheets How much does Germany’s energy transition cost? and Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets, and Sector coupling - Shaping an integrated renewable energy system.

Overseas Development Institute

German climate policy announcements are the most ambitious among all of the western industrialised nations in the G7 but the country only comes second to last in the group when it comes to ending support for fossil fuel use, the think tank Overseas Development Institute (ODI) says in a report on the G7’s support payments for fossil fuels. According to the ODI, the G7 spend at least 100 billion dollars in subsidies every year that “may hinder or delay” the shift towards a decarbonised energy system, out of which Germany contributes around 18 billion dollars. “Despite being the most transparent about the scale of its fossil fuel subsidies, Germany is lagging behind ending support for fossil fuel-based power,” the ODI says.

Find the report in English here and infographics on all countries in English here.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw his country’s support from the Paris Climate Agreement in June 2017 had outraged many commentators around the world, but the reality in many nations one year later is that they too do not seem determined to take sufficient action to implement the agreement, Markus Schulte von Drach writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “The commitments made so far are not enough to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius as agreed – with or without the US on board,” he says. Neither Germany’s emissions reduction plans nor those of the EU are enough, Schulte von Dach writes, adding that the indignation over Trump’s move “was a bit hypocritical, especially from the Europeans”. To overcome this tacit complicity with Trump’s policy, other industrialised nations “need to pursue a policy that dares to demand constraint from people to ensure that future generations do not find a planet that has been plundered and overheated.”

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW dossier The energy transition and climate change  and the CLEW article Merkel calls for honouring Paris deal as climate action at home falters for more information.

ADAC motorwelt

Manipulated diesel cars in Germany will need a mechanical engine retrofitting to ensure the European Union does not sue the country over exceeding emissions levels in transport for several years, environment minister Svenja Schulze says in an interview with the influential German Automobile Club’s (ADAC) magazine motorwelt. The EU’s lawsuit shows that measures taken so far to improve air quality in German cities are insufficient. “That’s why we need quicker progress. Only mechanical retrofits can do this. Those who oppose this risk provoking driving bans,” Schulze said, adding that her fellow government member, transport minister Andreas Scheuer, was wrong to believe that a mere software update for manipulated diesel cars will bring down emissions sufficiently. Schulze said the coalition treaty “clearly” states that retrofits need to be done if they are technically feasible and economically viable. “Both conditions are met,” she said, adding that carmakers themselves have to pay for all measures needed to solve the problem “they themselves have caused”.

Read the interview in German here.

For background, read the factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q&A.


Solar power plants Germany produced more electricity than ever before in May, which brought 275 hours of sunshine instead of the average 196, the Renewable Energy Industry Initiative (IWR) reports. According to preliminary data by grid operators, solar panels produced nearly 6 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of power, about 16 percent more than in the previous record month in May 2017. Wind power production in May 2018 was also much higher than the previous year. Onshore and offshore turbines combined supplied about 7.2 billion kWh, nearly one-third more than in 2017, IWR says.
According to the German Meteorological Service (DWD), May 2018 was also one of the warmest in the country on record to date, after the April before already claimed an absolute record for that month. With an average temperature of 16 degrees Celsius, it was nearly 4 degrees warmer than any month of May from 1961 to 1990, the international standard reference period. The temperature was “about the same as in the absolute record year 1889,” the DWD adds.

Read the IWE article in German here and the DWD press release in German here.  

For more information, see the CLEW factsheet Volatile but predictable: Forecasting renewable power generation.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

German luxury car brand Porsche has halted sales of custom-made new cars as it struggles to comply with new emissions regulations for petrol engines, Holger Appel writes in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The new WLTP emissions norm introduced by the European Union mean that a car’s individual features have to be taken into account when assessing its emissions output, Appel says. Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) is said to be overwhelmed by licensing applications, meaning the carmaker cannot get the permits in time to satisfy customer demands, he writes. “It seems that some of those responsible have underestimated the enormous efforts that are needed here,” Appel says.

Find the article in German here (paywall).

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