Greens vow to fight climate adversaries/ Pope urges Merkel on climate

Green Party / Clean Energy Wire

“We’ll take up the fight against climate adversaries”

The German Green Party has strengthened its focus on ecology and economic transformation as core topics for its election campaign. Following the Green’s convention last weekend, the party published a set of amendments to its draft election campaign programme, titled: “We’ll take up the fight against climate protection adversaries.” Party co-leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt said US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement amounted to “picking a fight against the earth. We’re up to that challenge!”
Göring-Eckardt also lashed out against German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s record on climate protection, saying that “she’s been leading for nearly twelve years now. And what good did that bring to the climate?” Merkel was “blocking renewables, blocking a coal exit, blocking the e-car” and therefore was “no climate chancellor, but rather the opposite of that,” the Green co-leader argued. At their party convention, the Greens agreed to “shut down Germany’s 20 dirtiest coal-fired power plants immediately” to enable the country to still reach its 2020 climate targets.
Party members also voted for only issuing licenses to emission-free vehicles after 2030, effectively “ending the era of combustion engines” in order to concurrently protect the environment and save German industry jobs through innovation. The Greens’ final election programme will be published later this week, a party spokesperson told Clean Energy Wire.

Find the party’s convention overview in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet on The Green Party’s draft election programme and a CLEW interview with Green parliamentary group leader Hofreiter for more information.

 

Zeit Online

“Green death wish”

The Green Party has failed to learn from past experience that insisting on controversial demands can cost the party dearly in terms of voter approval, Ludwig Greven writes in a commentary for Zeit Online. While the world is “grappling with Donald Trump,” the Paris Agreement “has been shaken” and terrorism and political instability are challenging European cohesion, “the Greens actually make same-sex marriage an indispensable coalition requirement,” Greven writes. “Don’t they have any other woes?” While the party deserved credit for protecting citizen rights by advocating equality for homosexuals, making the demand central to their programme “shows they haven’t quite understood past failures,” Greven argues. The Greens’ traditional insistence on prohibitions, such as a rapid ban of dirty coal plants and combustion engines together with other “red lines” for potential coalition agreements leads Greven to ask “whether the Greens want to govern at all.”

Find the commentary in German here.

See the CLEW dossier Vote2017 - German elections and the Energiewende for more information.

 

Reuters

“Pope tells Merkel to keep pressing for international cooperation”

Pope Francis has urged German Chancellor Angela Merkel to stand firm over international climate protection and protect the Paris Climate Agreement against dissenters, news agency Reuters reports. "The Pope encouraged me to continue to fight for international agreements, including the Paris Agreement," Merkel said according to Reuters after meeting the head of the Catholic Church in the Vatican. Merkel added that the Pope supports the G20 agenda for the group’s summit next month in Hamburg, which “assumes that we are a part of a world in which we work together through multilateral cooperation.” The Paris Climate Agreement has faced challenges since US President Donald Trump said earlier this month he will pull  out of the international deal, claiming  it treats the US unfairly.

Read the article in English here.

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

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Germany’s green energy account surplus exceeds five billion euros

The surplus on Germany’s green energy account continues to exceed five billion euros, compared to 4.3 billion euros in May 2016, reports Andreas Mihm in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. But the surplus will shrink over the summer to pay for seasonally higher solar feed-in. The surplus has risen strongly because the green power surcharge rose to 6.88 cents per kilowatt-hour, because relatively moderate wind speeds put a break on wind feed-in at the start of the year, and because many renewable operators sold their electricity directly on the power exchange due to high wholesale prices, according to the article.

Find the article in German here.

Find the grid operators’ most recent data on the green energy account here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Balancing the books: Germany’s “green energy account”.

 

Roland Berger

China moves to e-car pole position

China has moved into pole position in management consultancy Roland Berger’s international e-mobility ranking for the first time. Whereas Chinese e-car sales doubled last year, the German market remains sluggish, potentially causing German carmakers to miss EU fleet emission targets, according to the consultancy. German and French carmakers are still ahead of China when it comes to technology, but China’s numerous e-car start-ups are a wild card in this race. “The ever-growing presence of dynamic start-ups in the Chinese market is ramping up the pressure on incumbent automotive manufacturers,” according to a press release.

Read Roland Berger’s E-mobility Index Update in English here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

 

Tageszeitung (taz)

“Windy invitations”

Successful citizens’ energy projects in Germany’s first onshore wind power auction still have to prove that they can live up to their name, Bernward Janzing writes in the Tageszeitung (taz). While 93 percent of successful bidders in the auction were identified as citizens’ projects, “a closer look” raises the question as to whether the projects actually match their label, he writes. According to the German Wind Energy Association (BWE), the eased requirements for citizens’ projects in the auction “might encourage all market actors to label their projects as citizen co-operatives,” Janzing says. Employees of large project developers were engaged in many citizens’ projects, Janzing argues, fuelling speculation that these projects ultimately might end up in the larger players’ portfolios. The BWE therefore suggests legally ensuring that citizens’ projects cannot change ownership for five years.

Read the article in German here.

For background, see the CLEW article Citizens’ energy projects dominate first onshore wind power auction and the CLEW factsheet High hopes and concerns over onshore wind power auctions.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Bosch needs a new ignition”

The world’s largest supplier of diesel technology Bosch will build a new chip factory for around one billion euros to produce future mobility technology in Germany, writes Susanne Preuß in a commentary in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “The new factory is a symbol for the German car industry’s hopes to manage the mobility transition, or even to spearhead it, and to preserve prosperity in this country.” But pessimists believe this is an illusion, given the quick success of newcomers like Tesla or even Deutsche Post. Bosch employs 50,000 people in diesel technology alone and will have to overcome the diesel crisis before a successful relaunch focused on future mobility is possible, writes Preuß.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

 

Welt Online

Saxony’s SPD backs continued lignite mining in Lusatia

Social Democrats (SPD) in Saxony have made clear they consider lignite mining to play an important role as a “bridging technology” in Germany’s energy supply for the foreseeable future, Welt Online reports. “We rely on a gradual approach that equally considers the needs of local people and creates a sufficient number of sustainable jobs,” said the SPD parliamentary group from Saxony, where part of  Germany’s second largest coal mining area is located. Saxony’s conservative state premier, together with his social democratic colleague from neighbouring Brandenburg, last week called for more than a billion euros in public money to mitigate the economic transformation that comes with ending coal mining.

Find the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal? for more information.

 

Frankfurter Rundschau

Merkel calls US gas sanctions against Russia “irregular behaviour”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed her foreign minister’s criticism of US Senate plans to further tighten economic sanctions on Russia, Thorsten Knuf writes in the Frankfurter Rundschau. “This is, to put it mildly, irregular behaviour by the US Senate,” said Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert. Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, together with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, last week criticised US Senate plans to extend sanctions, which would affect the gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2 that links Germany with Russia via the Baltic Sea. According to a foreign ministry spokesperson, the German government would consider the sanctions to be “in breach of international law,” if carried out as announced, Knuf writes. The Senate gave as reasons for the move: Russia’s attempt to influence the US election, its role in the Ukraine crisis, and support of Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad, Knuf writes.

For background, see the News Digest entry Germany and Austria say US sanction plans against Russia threaten Europe’s energy security.

Read the article in the Frankfurter Rundschau in German here.

 

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