25 Sep 2015 | Kerstine Appunn

In the media: CO2 emissions from cars; citizens' energy pushed out?

Spiegel Online

“Exhaust affair: VW tricks increase doubts about climate calculations”

Car manufacturers are not only using tricks to stay under nitrogen oxide thresholds in tests but also to reduce fuel consumption and thereby CO2 emissions of their vehicles, reports David Böcking on Spiegel Online. Environmental organisations have warned for years that true CO2 emissions of cars can be up to 50 percent higher than under unrealistic lab conditions. The German government made reducing emissions from cars a key element of its Climate Action Programme in December 2014. But the VW affair shows that emission reductions based on manufacturers’ own information are not to be trusted, Böcking says.

Read the article in German here.

 

International New York Times

“Germans take a tumble from moral high ground”

“Volkswagen’s deception raises doubt in a nation known for following rules,” writes Alison Smale in the International New York Times. It also puts the nation in “an awkward spot” ahead of the UN climate change summit in Paris in December, where Germany would be held up as a model for how an industrial nation can replace fossil fuels largely with renewables, the author says.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Tesla head advises more electric cars for Germany”

Elon Musk, CEO of e-car company Tesla said in a discussion with German economy and energy minister Sigmar Gabriel that Germany’s amazing car manufacturers and engineers should now dare to take up electric mobility, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes. While Gabriel suggested incentives to urge people to buy more e-cars, Musk said he would prefer if the state kept out of the vehicle markets, saying that penalties for high CO2 emissions would work better than subsidies to ensure that clean engines were winning. With regard to VW’s diesel scandal, Musk said that this was about nitrogen oxide emissions but he was more worried about global warming and the condition of the sea. Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said Germany would decide on e-car incentives in 2015, the article says.

Read the article in German here.

 

Zeit Online

“Burying the opposition”

The plan to bury large power lines between northern and southern Germany is causing headaches for those in charge of the project and could delay the grid expansion by years, writes Marlies Uken in a commentary for Zeit Online. The decision by Chancellor Angela Merkel and energy minister Sigmar Gabriel over the summer almost went unnoticed, but its implementation is not so simple, she says. The cost of burying the cables and whether tunnels will be needed where cables cross railways or rivers is unclear. In addition, there are not enough cables, Uken writes. Only two companies produce the necessary technology and not yet in large amounts. It’s good if politicians listen to citizens who oppose overland cables and pylons. But the citizens have to know it will cost them more to bury the lines.

Read the op-ed in German here.

 

Dow Jones Newswires

“Bottom-up development of a European support system for renewables”

Looking at the wide variety of state incentives for renewable energy across Europe, there is no apparent plan for a uniform system any time soon, Rainer Baake, state secretary in the energy ministry, said in Berlin, Dow Jones Newswires reports. Instead Germany was looking to develop common rules from the “bottom up”, by making bilateral and regional arrangements with other countries. Germany’s next Renewable Energy Act foresees allowing foreign project developers to participate in its auction system for renewable power stations, if the other country granted the same right to German projects, Baake said.

 

Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

“Economy ministry supports heating checks to increase energy efficiency”

The Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is giving 1.5 million euros in 2015 and 2016 to consumer associations that organise so-called heating checks for households. From 1 October 2015, households can hire independent energy consultants to analyse how their home heating systems can be made more efficient and less expensive. Heating often accounts for the largest share of energy consumption in households, the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV) says. The heating check costs 30 euros; for low-income households it will be free, the ministry press release said.

Read the press release in German here.

 

Frankfurter Rundschau

“We are being pushed out”

All new draft laws show that the government sees large energy companies as the future and not decentralised power from citizen cooperatives, Thomas Banning, head of citizen energy association BBEn told the Frankfurter Rundschau in an interview. The government’s new auction system for wind and solar power would eventually force citizen cooperatives and small utilities out of the market, as they can’t compete with large suppliers in the bidding process. Banning suggests that auctions should only be used for large projects like offshore wind parks while small, decentralised projects under 10 MW capacity should receive administratively determined feed-in tariffs.

 

Burlington Free Press

“Germany's renewable energy path: Right for Vermont?”

People in Vermont and Germans share a lot of dreams about energy independence, smart grid solutions and lowering emissions, writes Joel Banner Baird in the Burlington Free Press, reporting on the visit of Berlin-based renewable energy consultant Miranda Schreurs to the University of Vermont’s Clean Energy Fund / Energy Action Seminar. While Germany wants 60 percent renewables’ consumption by 2050, Vermont is looking to become 90 percent renewable by then, but it is also less industrial and benefits from higher solar power efficiency, the article says.

Read the article in English here.

 

Nature Climate Change / Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC)

“How to tackle climate change and poverty simultaneously”

Economist Ottmar Edenhofer and a team of authors from the MCC have published an analysis finding that poverty in developing and emerging nations can only be overcome by limiting climate change. The researchers conclude: “Economic analyses have shown that limiting the use of the atmospheric carbon sink would have significant consequences for the global distribution of wealth.” Furthermore, they say, “This would devalue the assets of fossil fuel resource owners.” The authors say wealthier nations should contribute more to the cost of climate protection. They also propose putting a price on carbon either through an emissions-trading system or a tax to raise revenue for sustainable development funding.
Today (Friday), the UN Summit in New York will adopt the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, containing 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Read the MCC press release in English here.

Read the article in Nature Climate Change (behind pay wall) here.

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