Industry against raising EU climate goal / Call for coal moratorium
Federation of German Industries (BDI)
The European Commission’s proposal to raise the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target from 40 percent to 45 percent relative to 1990 levels is misguided, Federation of German Industries (BDI) Deputy Director Holger Lösch says in a statement. “Stricter EU climate goals bring nothing. We reject the idea of the EU going it alone,” he says. “Instead of talking about ever more ambitious goals, it is imperative now to focus on the tools with which the existing goals can be achieved.”
Read the statement in German here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier Germany's energy transition in the European context.
Several citizens’ and environmental groups in Germany have reiterated their call for a standstill agreement on lignite mine expansion until the speed and scope of the country’s coal phase-out has been determined, Ralph Jansen writes in the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger. The 16 groups say logging and clearing activities in the contested Hambach Forest must be halted, and the demolition of churches, other community buildings, and also a motorway standing in the way of the open pit coal mine must also be stopped. They call for pausing resettlement measures and other preparatory work “until the exact framework and conditions of the coal exit are known,” a task that Germany's coal exit commission currently tries to accomplish. The recent announcement by energy company RWE to resume clearing of the Hambach Forest has caused an outcry among environmentalists, with Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) saying the company is trying to quickly expand its activities in order to claim a higher compensation for a phase-out. RWE rejects the allegations, saying the mines’ size had already been fully determined. However, Dirk Jansen of BUND warns that starting to cut down trees in the Hambach Forest, which has become a symbolic place for climate activists over the last years, might be seen as an “attack on their personal integrity” by many coal commission members. “I don’t know if the commission could still exist in its current constellation after that,” he said.
Find background in the new article Contested forest and loud criticism cloud 3rd coal commission session and in CLEW’s Commission watch and the factsheet on Germany’s coal exit commission.
European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete’s proposal to raise the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to 45 percent from 40 percent relative to 1990 levels would catalyse action on the part of other governments and therefore merits support, Michael Bauchmüller writes in a commentary for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Because current commitments made under the Paris Agreement are insufficient to keep global warming within two degrees Celsius, additional action is needed, according to Bauchmüller. “If Europe raises its long-term goal during this time, it will have consequences for other [governments willing to take action on climate change] around the world,” he writes.
Read the commentary in German here.
Bosch / Handelsblatt
German automotive supplier Bosch will enter into partnership with United Kingdom-based Ceres Power to develop solid-oxide fuel-cell (SOFC) technology, which could be used in cities, data centres, and factories and as a power source for electric vehicle charging stations, Bosch has announced in a press release. SOFC technology uses an electrochemical conversion in the fuel cell stack to derive electricity from fuels such as natural gas and hydrogen. In a separate interview with the Handelsblatt, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess expressed concern that German automakers have become dependent on Asian firms for battery cells and said that domestic suppliers should invest in battery technology. “I believe that we need and can develop this technology in Europe, with expertise that goes beyond the capabilities of Asian cell producers,” he said.
For background, read the dossiers The energy transition’s effect on jobs and business and The Energiewende and German carmakers.
The German federal government supports the expansion of gas pipelines from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to Europe via Turkey, a government official said, the Handelsblatt reports. The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) are to deliver gas from Azerbaijan, where Chancellor Angela Merkel is currently visiting, to Europe after crossing through Turkey, the article says. The pipelines’ transmission capacity – at 16 billion cubic metres of gas per year – is much lower than that of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which transports Russian gas directly to Germany, as well as that of its controversial proposed twin, Nord Stream 2.
Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.
For background, read the factsheets Gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 links Germany to Russia, but splits Europe and Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and the dossier The role of gas in Germany’s energy transition.
Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) / Zukunft ERDGAS
With just one exception, all cruise ships operating in Europe are powered by heavy fuel oil, “the dirtiest of all fuels,” according to a new ranking from Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), the organisation writes in a press release. Newly-built AIDAnova will be the world’s first cruise ship able to run entirely on liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is less polluting than heavy fuel oil, according to a separate press release from Zukunft ERDGAS. However, from a climate perspective, LNG is unattractive, NABU argues. “A recently published study of our umbrella organisation [Transport & Environment] shows that LNG brings no advantages regarding greenhouse gas reduction compared to diesel,” NABU Head of Transport Dietmar Oeliger says. Nevertheless, more shipping companies are switching to LNG propulsion in advance of the imposition of the International Maritime Organisation’s new pollution standards, to take effect in 2020, Zukunft ERDGAS writes.
A combination of lack of transparency and denial of legal protection means that German power grid fees cannot be sufficiently checked by consumers, consumer organisations, or even politicians, according to a legal analysis published by the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) and the law firm Raue LLP, commissioned by the energy think tank Agora Energiewende.* Regulators’ reasoning for decisions on grid fees is published in incomplete form at most, and consumers may have to pay hundreds of millions of euros too much per year, but have no way of knowing or taking corrective action, writes the think tank in a press release. “Grid fees are a public matter and must be fully disclosed, as is done in other neighbouring EU countries,” said Agora Energiewende head Patrick Graichen.
Find the press release and the analysis in German here.
For background, read the CLEW fact sheet Power grid fees - Unfair and opaque?
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.