“More eco and a little less nuclear”
Many German media are reporting about France’s new energy transition law, passed on Wednesday. The law says energy usage must be halved by 2050 and nuclear’s share of electricity production cut to 50 percent from 75 percent today within ten years. The law also stipulates an increasing share of power generation from renewables and specifies targets for cutting CO2 emissions. French environment minister Segolene Royal called the law “the most ambitious in Europe.”
Barbara Kostolnik from public broadcaster ARD reports on tagesschau.de: “According to experts, the paper shows striking similarities to the German Energiewende … The law is of great symbolic significance. A few months before the climate summit in Paris, the host wants to set a good example.”
Read the report in German here.
“Energiewende à la Hollande”
The French "Energiewende law" is a long way from sealing the fate of nuclear power, writes Stefan Ulrich in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “In France's self-image, the nuclear industry is among the country’s top trumps. Even on the left and among unions, it represents technological progress, cheap electricity and France’s independence as far as energy supplies from abroad are concerned,” writes Ulrich.
French efficiency targets “exemplary” for Germany
France’s binding efficiency targets are a model for German and European energy policy, according to the Bündnis Effizienzwende, an association of players from business and society, which aims to give the subject of efficiency more public attention. With this law, “France, together with Denmark, will lead the way in Europe,” the association said in a press release. Olaf Tschimpke, president of environmental group NABU, said efficiency played a crucial role for achieving Germany’s 2020 climate targets. “This is why we need a political commitment to more efficiency – one that reaches beyond the short-termism of one legislative period.” In contrast to France, Germany’s efficiency targets are not legally binding. This is why Germany also needs an efficiency law, according to the Bündnis Effizienzwende.
Read the press release in German here.
Decarbonising the world economy involves more than substituting oil, gas and coal in energy generation, writes Michael Schmidt, executive chairman at BP Europe in a guest article for Handelsblatt. Petroleum is a vital component of almost all the things we use in daily life, including computers, smartphones, furniture, clothes, cosmetics and medicine – an aspirin pill is 30 percent petroleum, Schmidt says. It is therefore pure theory to think that we can stop using fossil raw materials and maintain our current standard of living – this would only be possible at very high costs, Schmidt concludes. A worldwide decarbonisation will only be possible as an evolutionary process and over a very long period of time, Schmidt writes.
“Why citizens want solar power and brown coal at the same time”
Comparing two representative opinion polls conducted in 2013 and 2015, Angela Hennersdorf at WirtschaftsWoche finds that the majority (up to 88 percent) of Germans support the nuclear phase-out and would like to see more renewable power and climate action implemented sooner rather than later. What has changed in the latest survey is that suddenly two thirds of participants believe that next to sun and wind, coal and gas are needed as energy sources, otherwise the reliability of the power system would be endangered, Hennersdorf finds. A possible explanation is the way the questions in the poll were asked, who they were posed to and who funded the survey, Hennersdorf explains. The 2015 poll was commissioned by utility RWE which operates lignite-fired power stations. The poll at some point first explained that “the critical discussion about lignite in media and politics were having adverse effects on the image of brown coal.”
Read the article in German here.
Read a CLEW factsheet about Energiewende polls here.
Die Welt / Deutsche Wildtier Stiftung
Germans oppose wind power in forests
79 percent of participants in a representative survey by pollster Emnid have said they would oppose wind turbines in forests, Deutsche Wildtier Stiftung (German foundation for wild animals), who commissioned the poll, reports. While the wind energy industry says that turbines on flat land in northern Germany aren’t sufficient and some must be built in forests and mountainous areas in middle and southern Germany, nature protection associations and local citizens are mostly opposing these plans, says an article in Die Welt by Ulli Kulke. If in doubt, the protection of birds and other animals should be given priority over wind turbines, 65 percent of participants said in the Emnid poll.
Read the Die Welt article in German here.
See the Deutsche Wildtier Stiftung press release in German here.
German Chemicals Industry Association (VCI)
“Mixed results for German chemicals industry”
With a rise in production of 1 percent, an increase in sector turnover of 0.5 percent and an increase in employment of 1 percent, the German chemicals industry was showing mixed results in the first half of 2015, industry association VCI says. The German chemicals industry was investing more abroad than at home, the VCI press release said. Two thirds of investments were made in the US where energy was cheap, thanks to the shale gas boom. Even small and medium-sized chemical enterprises in Germany were now postponing their investment. “The renewable energy surcharge troubles small and medium sized companies especially,” said VCI president Marijn Dekkers.
Read the press release in German here.