Government approves Paris climate deal
The German cabinet of government ministers has approved the Paris Agreement on climate change, which 195 countries successfully negotiated in December 2015. The first climate deal that obliges all countries to participate in mitigating climate change will be signed in a ceremony in New York on 22 April 2016. At least 55 countries accounting for 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions have to ratify the agreement afterwards for it to come into force. The government said it would push for the treaty to come into effect as early as possible.
Read the government press release in German here.
Read a CLEW dossier about the COP21 climate summit here.
“Germany 1.4 degrees warmer”
Temperatures in Germany have increased by 1.4 degrees Celsius since the beginning of observations in the 19th century, Germany's National Meteorological Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst – DWD) said. The rise is more than the global average, where temperatures increased by around 1 degree. Climate scientist Mojib Latif told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that Germany’s geographic location was to blame. Temperatures always increase more over landmasses than over oceans. With an average temperature of 9.9 degrees, 2015 was the second hottest year on record in Germany.
Read a CLEW dossier on Germany’s emissions and climate targets here.
“E.ON’s $10 billion write-down clouds spin-off prospects”
Germany's largest utility E.ON posted a record loss for the second year running following write-downs worth more than half its market value, reports Christoph Steitz for Reuters. The results casted doubts over plans to spin-off its ailing fossil power generation and energy trading business into a new company called Uniper. E.ON’s net loss more than doubled to 7 billion euros and the company warned that future profits were expected to drop further amid worsening conditions in the power sector, according to the report. "Our numbers reflect the far-reaching structural transformation that our industry is experiencing and that continues unabated in the current year," Chief Executive Johannes Teyssen said in a statement. "The course ahead will be tougher and longer than anticipated."
Read the Reuters report in English here.
Find the CLEW dossier on the utilities troubles here.
“E.ON posts record loss – The future of the energy giant”
Life for the new and renewable E.ON will not be a picnic even after the split, writes Angela Hennersdorf in WirtschaftsWoche. “While the energy market has adapted to green power for years, E.ON and arch rival RWE race to keep up with the Energiewende,” according to Hennersdorf. “Now, of all times, when the highly regulated renewable business is being slowed down, E.ON and RWE want to step on the gas in green energy.” Hennersdorf argues that the record loss is meant to ensure a clean slate for the new E.ON, and is also a strong message directed at the federal government, which is currently examining the financing of the nuclear exit. “’Just look, we don’t have anything anymore’ sounds the call from utilities’ vale of tears to Berlin.”
Read the article in German here.
Read the CLEW factsheet “Securing utility payments for the nuclear clean-up” here.
“Giant company all sheepish”
RWE’s renewable business is starting from an even weaker position than E.ON’s, writes Varinia Bernau in Süddeutsche Zeitung. While E.ON generated more than 13 percent of its power from renewables last year, RWE managed just 10 percent. The success of RWE’s renewable business will depend on the success of its partial sale on the stockmarket later this year. CEO Peter Terium admits that many innovative energy business ideas are no more than tender shoots. “But he doesn’t mention that he might have run out of money long before those shoots bear fruits,” writes Bernau.
Find a report on RWE’s results in Tuesday’s News Digest here.
“Five years after Fukushima – Nuclear energy, please!”
Nuclear energy is dangerous but climate-friendly, writes Ralf Nestler in a commentary in Tagesspiegel. “Because energy demand will rise in many countries, a supply purely based on renewables is illusory,” argues Nestler. “Whoever does switch off nuclear power plants or does not build them will have to fill the gap to a large extent with fossil energies... whoever takes climate protection and adequate energy supply seriously, will find it hard to get by without nuclear. Every country will have to decide its share in the power mix and the share of fossil energies. Sadly, it’s impossible to do without the two.”
“The decreed revolution”
The CEOs of German carmakers seem to understand that their industry faces drastic upheavals due to e-mobility and autonomous vehicles, writes Markus Fasse in a commentary in Handelsblatt. The problem is that cheap oil and a lower euro mean bumper earnings for the companies. “At a time of record profits, it’s very difficult to get the message across that sticking to old business models is the largest threat,” writes Fasse. “The alternative is to wait until sales and profits collapse. This would turn the transformation of a blooming industry into a conflictive restructuring. Given the size of its automobile industry, Germany must avoid that.”
Read our dossier on the Energiewende in transport here.
“Advisor at EU’s top court rejects German firms’ appeal for more CO2 allowances”
An advisor to Europe’s top court has rejected appeals filed by four German firms over the European Commission’s decision to refuse their request for more free EU carbon allowances, Carbon Pulse reports. The firms had applied to the German government earlier for free allowances for their installations under a “hardship clause” in German law. A final ruling by the European Court of Justice is due later this year, but the court typically follows its advisors’ guidance, the article says.
See the article in English here.