Gov't: Close ranks of remaining G20 / US move draws sharp criticism

Clean Energy Wire / Federal German government

“Close the ranks of the remaining G20 members”

After the US decision to leave the Paris Agreement, the German government will work on uniting all remaining G20 members in climate protection efforts in the run-up to the summit in July, said government spokesperson Steffen Seibert at a press conference in Berlin. “We will probably not have complete unanimity on this topic. Our task will be to close the ranks of the remaining G20 members and rally them behind the Paris Agreement,” said Seibert. The German government will work towards this goal in the preparatory meetings for the summit. At the summit, the G20 action plan on climate and energy - initiated by the German presidency - will also be debated, according to Seibert. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed in a telephone call after the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement that the two countries will propose additional initiatives for climate protection, said Seibert.

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

 

Tageszeitung (taz)

“Start playing hardball”

“Syria, Nicaragua, and now the United States” – these are the countries that do not take part in the Paris Agreement, Bernhard Pötter writes in a commentary for the left-wing newspaper Tageszeitung (taz). These cases might be different but they share a common trait, he says. “Their leaderships disregard the law, are extremely short-sighted, and only care about furthering their own interests. And that’s the way they should be treated”, Pötter argues. Other states, first and foremost Germany, “need to start playing hardball” and sanction this “betrayal of trust”. The EU should remember “its diplomatic threat potential” and – just like with the sanctions on Russia – “temporarily withdraw its ambassador, support the opposition in the US politically and economically”, and “valorise insubordinate states like California”.

Read the commentary in German here.

See the CLEW article German reactions to US decision to withdraw from Paris Agreement for background.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“On-the-job accident of historic proportions”

Back in December 2015, the Paris Climate Agreement was hailed as a “historic” achievement - 17 months later it rather looks like international diplomacy has incurred an on-the-job accident of historic proportions, Andreas Mihm writes in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Climate diplomacy has visibly lost momentum “partly due to Trump, whose criticism of environmental policy greatly irritates conservationist organisations and leaves other governments clueless”, Mihm says. “But it’s not all Trump’s fault” – many economists are convinced that the voluntary commitments by signatories of the Paris Agreement are inadequate to substantially bring down emissions, and instead they call for a global carbon price. This “change of strategy” would incentivise cost-efficient clean energy generation and ensure that Germany’s renewables expansion does not become “a negative example” that deters other countries due to its costs, Mihm says.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article German reactions to US decision to withdraw from Paris Agreement for background.

 

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Why the fight against global warming is so important – and not contingent on the US”

A rule of thumb in international environmental policy so far has been that it will move forward as long as the US and China agree – “but this rule seems to have become obsolete”, Jan Heidtmann writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. At the latest G7 summit, as well as in the run-up to the G20 summit, new alliances have emerged led by China, Canada, and the EU, “and especially by Germany,” he explains. Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang made a vow in Berlin that his country will remain committed to the Paris Climate Agreement’s targets, and so will India and Russia, Heidtmann writes. While the treaty is unlikely to reach its goal of keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius – “also due to Germany, which despite its Energiewende constantly waters down targets and bows” to industry pressure – “it is a success inasmuch as it forms a global alliance for climate protection,” he argues.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article German reactions to US decision to withdraw from Paris Agreement for background.

 

Handelsblatt Online

“German government falls behind on its obligations“

The decision by US President Donald Trump to pull his country out of the global Paris Climate Agreement has been met with dismay and defiance by the German government, Silke Kersting writes on Handelsblatt Online. Meanwhile, environmental organisations criticise Germany for its largely stagnant emissions reduction and reprimand it for taking“ “mincing steps at best,” she writes. “The federal government has no real clue how ambitious climate protection could work in an industrialised country”, Kersting argues, pointing at watered down ambitions in Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050. Olaf Tschimpke, president of the environmental group NABU, says that “Germany finally needs a legal framework for exiting coal,” which is responsible for 80 percent of its emissions, Kersting writes. According to Tschimpke, the government’s refusal to adopt such a framework lets Germany “drag behind its global obligations and leaves people in coal regions mired in uncertainty”.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal? and the CLEW dossier The energy transition and climate change for more information.

 

Reuters

“Daimler, BAIC team up to make electric cars in China”

German carmaker Daimler has agreed to make a “significant” investment in the production of electric vehicles in China, news agency Reuters reports. Together with its long-term partner company BAIC, the German luxury car brand has made “an important first step” toward making China a production site for the new Mercedes e-car brand EQ, although the decision is not final yet, a spokesperson told Reuters.

Read the article in German here and in English here.

See the CLEW factsheet Reluctant Daimler plans “radical” push into new mobility world for background.

 

Handelsblatt Online

“Let there be light again”

After three years of rapid shrinking and the loss of more than 100,000 jobs, Germany’s solar industry seems to have bottomed out, Franz Hubik writes on Handelsblatt Online. “Although the market has shrunk to a fifth of its original size, it now was at least growing, albeit at a low level”. This signalled a “trend reversal,” Hubik ays. The industry would now “hope for a solar boom 2.0,” which was backed by a year-on-year expansion of 65 percent in the first quarter 2017, he explains. But this time the reason people buy solar panels is not because they receive financial support from the German government. In fact, such support has been drastically cut. “Since the costs of battery storage have fallen by about 40 percent, it becomes increasingly profitable to not feed the electricity coming from the roof into the grid, but instead to store and consume it privately,” Hubik writes.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article Last major German solar cell maker surrenders to Chinese competition for more information.

 

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