Tagesspiegel / Petersberg Climate Dialogue VI
Merkel wants carbon trading scheme for the whole world
Environment ministers from around the world meet in Berlin today and tomorrow to discuss and prepare a climate protection negotiating text, due to be decided on at the UN climate conference in Paris at the end of the year. After the unsuccessful climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009, Chancellor Angela Merkel introduced the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, taking place this week for the sixth time, to allow for informal discussions ahead of the large UN summits, Dagmar Dehmer writes in the Tagesspiegel. Chances for an agreement are better than before, Dehmer says, because at least there will already be a draft agreement for discussion, and the US and China cannot “just put on the brakes” as before. Chancellor Merkel said on the weekend that she wants to promote financing for climate change adaptation in developing nations “because otherwise developing countries and countries that are hardest hit by climate change will not agree to the arrangement in Paris.” It would be particularly effective if a carbon trading scheme that puts a price on CO2 emissions could be implemented globally, Merkel said, but added that she feared an agreement on this would not be possible at the moment.
See/read Chancellor Merkel’s video podcast in German here. Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will speak at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue on Tuesday at 11 am.
You can follow some of the events at the Climate Dialogue in a live stream here.
“Electricity highway to bypass Bavaria”
The Bavarian government has proposed an alternative route for the construction of a controversial electricity superhighway that would largely bypass the southern German state, reports the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Neighbouring states Hesse and Baden-Württemberg immediately rejected the proposal as larger parts of the grid extension would have to be built within their borders. The DC power line Suedlink is meant to transport renewable power from the breezy north of Germany to industry hubs in the south, but local resistance against the project is strong and has prompted Bavaria’s government to reverse course and oppose the project after approving it in the first place.
Read a CLEW article about Bavaria’s resistance against the power lines here.
“Bavarian poison pill”
Bavaria’s proposal to shift the building of a power line, which most experts deem necessary, to neighbouring states is incredibly brazen and poisonous, writes Michael Bauchmüller in a commentary for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Disregarding all factual arguments, the Bavarian government has fed protests at home against the power lines for more than two years. Now it is also mobilising resistance in Hesse and Baden-Württemberg,” writes Bauchmüller. But killing the project might cost Bavaria dearly, as electricity might become more expensive in the south, writes Bauchmüller.
Renewable Energies Agency
Report sheds light on energy transition in federal states
The Renewable Energies Agency has published its annual report on the status of the energy supply transformation in Germany’s 16 states. The publication includes figures, statistics, interviews and articles that aim to explain the different strategies, focus and successes of the states.
Download the publication in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
“Nuclear Power? – Yes, Please”
Germany’s exit from nuclear power is irresponsible and endangers international efforts to stop climate change, argues Winand von Petersdorff in a prominent full-page article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. “Billions of people in poor countries are fighting for a better life. And such a life is linked to a significantly higher electricity consumption,” writes von Petersdorff. But most renewable power generation has harmful side-effects, for example because it requires huge amounts of land, according to the author. “A solution for a highly intensive and emissions-free energy supply exists. It is called nuclear energy.” This is why energy minister Sigmar Gabriel and Chancellor Angela Merkel should fund research into new nuclear power stations that are cheap and safe, concludes von Petersdorff.
Germany’s public “disposal committee” has investigated the state of metal barrels to store nuclear waste and found that “shockingly little” is known about the state of most containers, reports Michael Bauchmüller in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. In many cases, the barrels are stored so tightly they can’t be checked for rust, according to the committee. Committee head Michael Sailer told the paper it was likely around 2,500 barrels from a total of around 100,000 are rusty because they contain all sorts of chemicals. Most of the barrels do not contain highly radioactive waste, which is stored in special containers, he said.
Read the article in German here.
“Green environment ministers demand legal action against nuclear subsidies”
Environment ministers from German states where the Green Party is in government want to demand that federal government in Berlin takes legal action against subsidies for nuclear power stations in Europe, German press agency dpa writes. Subsidising new nuclear power stations with public money is a misguided energy policy, and in view of the lack of competitiveness of nuclear power also a questionable decision, Schleswig-Holstein’s green energy transition minister Robert Habeck told dpa. Germany should follow Austria’s lead and sue the EU Commission’s decision to approve state subsidies for the UK’s nuclear project Hinkley Point, he said.
Read the article in German here.
“The Energiewende lacks a concept”
In an interview with the Hamburger Abendblatt, Vattenfall manager Gunnar Groebler who has recently taken charge of the wind energy sector at the Swedish utility based in Hamburg, said that the German energy transformation (Energiewende) was lacking a connecting element. Various parts of the energy system have been separately addressed but the many opposing interests of different societal groups have kept the transition from taking the economically optimal way, Groebler said. These conflicts could be overcome “but we have to be brave enough to say that some of it will take a bit longer.”
Read a CLEW article about Vattenfall’s new coal power station in Hamburg here.
“The comeback of the immersion heater”
Power-to-heat could play an important role in Germany’s transition to a low carbon economy, Frank-Thomas Wenzel writes in the Frankfurter Rundschau. One of these giant water tanks, in which water is heated with excess power from the grid, has just become operational in Frankfurt and is designed to cover one third of the airport's heat demand. The technology could work as a means of storage in an energy system dominated by fluctuating renewable power, the article says. Think-tank Agora Energiewende and the Green Party have suggested supporting power-to-heat plants by reducing taxes and other levies for them, Wenzel says.