Government advisers call for CO2 price / Tamed EU car emissions limits
Germany’s economic experts’ council
The German economic experts’ council (Wirtschaftsweise) has called for the introduction of a uniform price on carbon emissions that covers the transport and energy sector as well as individual households. In its annual report, the council of five economic advisors to the German government says a floor price on CO2 emissions well above the current price level of the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) is “favourable even if it can only be introduced on the national level”. The council stops short of defining an appropriate price level and says the German government should “do more than up until now” to strengthen the ETS, which should “consistently include all emitters and sectors of final energy consumption”. A uniform price on emissions in all sectors would “ensure that the electricity, transport and heating sectors jointly conrtribute to emissions reduction”.
See the CLEW article German carbon tax most efficient was to meet climate goals – study for more information.
A concerted lobbying effort by German carmakers was crucial in watering down new EU car fleet emission targets for the period after 2021, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung. “It seems a call from Germany’s chief car lobbyist, [car industry association VDA head] Matthias Wissmann, to [EU commission President] Jean-Claude Juncker’s cabinet chief Martin Selmayr, was crowned by success. Selmayr denies a connection. German EU commissioner Günther Oettinger has also acted in the interest of the car industry, says the article. “As if Dieselgate had never happened, Volkswagen in particular led a campaign against stricter environmental laws.” According to a Reuters report, the EU commission will propose today CO2 reduction targets for new cars of 30 percent by 2030 compared to 2021.
Read the SZ article in German here.
Find plenty of background in the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
Please note: The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on this topic later today.
The German Green Party’s new-found readiness to compromise on a coal exit and a ban on combustion engines by 2030 might give the impression that the party is caving in to pressure from its negotiating partners in the Jamaica coalition talks but this view misunderstands strategic considerations by the Green party leadership, Markus Decker writes in an opinion piece for the Frankfurter Rundschau. It was “tactically smart” of the Greens to avoid being the odd one out should the talks with the conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the pro-business FDP fail to form a new government coalition. And, from a climate protection perspective, it is not clinging to election slogans that matters but concrete agreements on coal power, transport policy and agriculture, Decker argues. “If these fail to materialise, the Greens can’t do Jamaica. New elections would be unavoidable”.
Read the opinion piece in German here.
See the CLEW article Greens ready to make climate policy concession in coalition talks for background.
Max Bögl Wind
German wind power company Max Bögl Wind has built the world’s tallest wind power turbine near the southern German city of Stuttgart. In a press release, the company says the turbine, with a hub height of 178 metres and a total height of over 246 metres, was “setting new standards” for the energy transition. The turbine, manufactured by GE, has a capacity of 3.4 megawatts and rests on a 40 metre-high water battery that can store energy for later use. It will start feeding power into the grid by 2018.
For background, see the CLEW dossier Onshore wind power in Germany.
Federal Statistics Office
The share of renewables in Germany’s gross final energy consumption has increased from 3.7 percent in 2000 to 14.6 percent in 2016, the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) announced. Most of this (7.2 percentage points) was achieved through renewable energy deployment from 2000 to 2010, despite the common notion that Germany’s energy transition only started in 2011, Destatis writes.
Read the press release in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts for more information.
Germany should use its experience from the energy transition, the ambitious transformation away from fossil fuels towards renewables, to advance digitalisation, American economist and social theorist Jeremy Rifkin has told Handelsblatt Global in an interview. “Germany has the problem that smart meters have been frowned upon as a “Big Brother” in your house because it collects data. The advantages of these systems need to be explained a lot better,” Rifkin said.
Read the interview in English here.
See the CLEW dossier The digitalization of the Energiewende for background.
German utility E.ON said retail profits fell by more than a third in the first nine months, according to a Reuters report. E.ON, currently in the process of selling its remaining stake in fossil spin-off Uniper to Finland’s Fortum, said it is hammering out a new growth strategy which it plans to present along with full-year results in March.
For background, check out the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition.
Renewable energy sources are booming in Germany as much as anywhere else but the country’s simultaneous rise in coal use and carbon emissions nevertheless make it “a dangerous role model” for countries setting out to emulate the German energy transition, Jan Steckel and Felix Creutzig from the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) write in a guest article for Zeit Online. “Falling costs for renewables alone will not suffice to end coal-fired power production” and therefore bring about the much needed reduction of CO2 emissions, the authors say. This is because capital costs for renewable energy sources, such as risk insurances and interest rates, remain high and outweigh the low running costs for many investors, they argue. “Additional political tools”, such as a tax-based CO2 floor price, a reformed emissions trading system and affordable loan and security schemes are needed to encourage investors, particularly in emerging economies, to put their money into renewables rather than investing in new coal plants, they say.
Read the article in German here.
See the CLEW dossier The energy transition and climate change for background.
Global warming is a phenomenon whose nature makes it very unattractive for the fast-paced news business, Dagmar Dehmer writes in Der Tagesspiegel. “The events are complex and non-linear”, Dehmer says, arguing that climate change as a news event is difficult to handle as it “requires immediate political action that might bear results only decades from now”. A result of these difficulties is that journalists reporting on the phenomenon often take recourse to dramatic weather events to demonstrate the dangers of global warming, leading to an oversupply of catastrophes for news consumers that normalises disasters and also allows to use local or short-term factors for explaining them rather than acknowledging the underlying change in climate patterns, she argues.
Read the article in German here.