“Greenpeace excluded from Vattenfall bidding process”
Citigroup has excluded Greenpeace from the sale process of Swedish utility Vattenfall’s German lignite operations. The bank said the NGO did not intend to place a bid, according to a Greenpeace press release. Annika Jakobson, Greenpeace Sweden programme director, said: “Of course, Greenpeace Nordic wanted to place a bid. With our foundation model, we have developed a realistic possibility to avoid further ecological damages and mitigate social hardships.” She said Citigroup’s plan to select a buyer according to the highest bid alone did not fit the Swedish government’s decision that Vattenfall will not start new open-cast mines. A buyer must present a concept that is ecologically and socially coherent, she added.
Greenpeace had said it was interested in buying the lignite operations so it could prevent new mines from being opened and to make sure "the lignite is left in the ground".
Environmental NGOs Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), as well as several citizens’ initiatives, want to fight plans by Dow Chemical to build a private coal-fired power plant in the northern German town of Stade, reports Sven-Michael Veit in tageszeitung. The company argues the plant will be highly efficient and flexible, helping the region’s industry to remain competitive in the long term. BUND concedes it will be a modern plant but says it will also contribute to global warming, with emissions amounting to at least 5.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year. A local initiative says emissions of mercury, lead and dust particles will endanger the health of residents.
Read the article in German here.
“Energy transition burdens low-income households”
Consumer costs for the energy transition are rising, say Martin Greive and Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. An increasing renewables surcharge, higher grid fees and support of combined heat and power will lead to higher bills, according to calculations by research institute IW Köln. By the end of 2016, costs for renewables support will be 350 euros more per household per year than they were in 2011, the authors say. Industry representatives and green politicians both criticise the government for not reducing costs for power consumers.
Read the article in German here.
Find the CLEW factsheet "What German households pay for power" here.
“Survey: Many customers know little about their electricity”
If given the choice, 77 percent of Germans would want to receive their electricity from a renewable source, a survey by pollster GFK for renewable company BayWa r.e. shows. But 60 percent do not know where their electricity is coming from at the moment. The energy transition to renewable power sources makes sense, 77 percent of participants say, but 58 percent are not sure if the transformation will succeed.
Download the survey in German here.
Read the dpa report in German here.
“Exit now, pay later: Germany’s rushed farewell to nuclear power”
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to phase out nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011 was one of the biggest policy turnarounds in Germany's history and lays bare a lack of coordination untypical for Merkel, argue Christoph Steitz und Caroline Copley in a Reuters article. This is shown by the current crisis of the utilities, as the Fukushima disaster approaches its fifth anniversary. “The main problem is the lack of planning in how to tackle the up to 80 billion euros cost of decommissioning Germany’s atomic reactors”, write the authors.
Read the article in English here.
COP21 – Road to Paris
Climate expert Schellnhuber wonders after summits: Is there intelligent life on earth?
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, physicist and head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), admits that on bad days he gets depressed thinking about the climate summit in Paris, he told Der Spiegel in an interview. But at other times he believed “we can do this”. “It will definitely be a tight race for human kind,” Schellnhuber said. But he saw a glimmer of hope when looking at the climate change projections of his institute which, for the first time after pledges by China and India, showed a warming of 2.7°C by the end of the century. In a new book about climate change, Schellnhuber still puts the likelihood that humans will limit global warming at below 20 percent, citing his “Kafkaesque” experiences with climate summits. One leaves them “with the question whether there is intelligent life on earth”, he said.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
“Sign of Hope”
A global warming of 2.7°C by the end of this century will gravely affect livelihoods around the world, writes Andreas Mihm in a commentary for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. And temperatures might rise further as it is unclear how realistic the UN forecast is, he warns. “It would be careless to rely on great air polluter China to reduce emissions a few years before the target date 2030,” argues Mihm. “But however critical the evaluation of this insufficient collection of announcements - it also shows that the subject is taken seriously around the globe. That is a sign of hope.”
The UN said last week that the combined impact of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) are capable of limiting the rise in temperature to around 2.7°C by the end of the century.
Find a text on the UN climate forecast here.
“We don’t expect anything that we’re not doing ourselves”
Michael Otto, chairman of the supervisory board at Otto Group and member of the “Stiftung 2°” (2°C foundation) told the Tagesspiegel why companies in the foundation have composed a position paper on the Paris climate summit that includes a voluntary commitment to reduce emissions. Businesses are at the same time demanding a long-term plan by the government so that companies can invest in low-carbon technologies and efficiency without having to cope with changing rules every two or three years, Otto said.
Read the interview in German here.