19 Jun 2015, 00:00
Kerstine Appunn Ellen Thalman

In the media: Pope's climate message a "wake-up call" for fossil fuels

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)

“The environment encyclical is a historic event”

The Pope’s environment encyclical “Laudato si” could have a big climate impact on climate politics in Poland, Latin America, parts of Africa, the Philippines and on Australia’s prime minister Tony Abbott, according to Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Schnellnhuber, who is one of the scientists who briefed the Vatican on climate change, made the comments in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “The Pope accepts the scientific consensus on climate change,” Schellnhuber said. This year the stage has been set for solving the climate problem, and while G7 summits were held every year, the environment encyclical was a first in over 2000 years of Roman Christian history, Schellnhuber said. “This document cannot be apolitical. It is a historic event.”

Read a PIK press release about Schellnhuber and the encyclical in English here.


Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUB)

“Hendricks: Encyclical is incentive for all”

Germany’s Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks commented on the encyclical: “The encyclical is an incentive for all of us to stand up for environment and climate protection. I hope that his line of argument will persuade particularly conservative circles who want to belittle the enormous effect of climate change.” People in rich countries were putting a much bigger burden on the environment and therefore also had a special responsibility to lead by example and adapt their lifestyles to the ecological limits of our planet, Hendricks said. “This means first and foremost: We have to stop using fossil fuels, step by step […] I am very happy that Pope Francis shares this concern.”

Read the Ministry press release in German here.  


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Jesus would like car-sharing”

What would Jesus do, considering the current climate threat? This question is not part of the new environment encyclical but the answer is, writes Patrick Bahners in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Jesus would for example join a car-sharing scheme, since "Many cars, used by one or more people, circulate in cities, causing traffic congestion, raising the level of pollution, and consuming enormous quantities of non-renewable energy”, the encyclical says.



“Encyclical: A successful provocation”

Environmental NGO Germanwatch welcomed the Pope’s encyclical as a “successful provocation.” The Pope was making precise points, said Policy Director Christoph Bals in a press release. “The pope advocates replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources in the decades to come,” Bals said.

Read the press release in German here.



“Wake-up call for the end of coal, oil and gas”

Pope Francis’ environment and climate encyclical comes at exactly the right time, says a press release by Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND). The German government has been rejecting an end to power generation from coal, said BUND chairman Hubert Weiger according to a press release. With his encyclical, the Pope was strengthening all those who want to further the change from fossil to renewable energies. “The encyclical will help efforts like energy saving and the Energiewende,” he said.

Read the press release in German here.


International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)

“Statement on Papal Encyclical on Climate Change”

The IETA acknowledge the importance of Pope Francis’ call for climate action, it said in a press release. But it didn’t agree with the Pope’s views on carbon credits. On page 126 of the encyclical Francis warns against “The strategy of buying and selling ‘carbon credits’ can lead to a new form of speculation which would not help reduce the emission of polluting gases worldwide. […]” “Carbon markets are typically quite competitive, and they contain safeguards against the excessive speculation warned about in the encyclical.  It misses the more important point that market mechanisms can help keep the costs down for producers and consumers alike.  Through their cost-effectiveness, market approaches can enable more ambitious emissions cuts to be achieved – and more quickly than cumbersome regulations,” the IETA replied.

Read the press release in English here.


European Commission/

"Commission gives Germany a final warning regarding the transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive"

The European Commission says it has issued warnings to 27 countries over the implementation of its Energy Efficiency Directive. The directive requires countries to meet energy savings targets between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2020. To meet the targets, countries must make policies that encourage energy efficiency improvements in households, buildings, industry and transport. Greece was referred to the EU Court of Justice, with the Commission asking for a  financial penalty for failing to comply,  while Germany has been give 2 months to comply or it will also face such a penalty. Other countries have been issued warnings. In March, Hungary was also referred to the European Court of Justice for a penalty. The directive aims to cut Europe’s annual primary energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020.  Separately, the Commission Vice President and energy chief Maroš Šefcovic said that new laws will be established next year and the Commission will increase monitoring and enforcement of the current rules, according to

Read the press release in English here.

Read the story in English here.



“Bayer-Chief Dekkers wants considerably slower Energiewende”

The CEO of German chemicals company Bayer told the German daily Bild-Zeitung that he wants the government to put the brakes on the Energiewende, according to an article in the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Dekkers said, “The goals of the German government are much to ambitious. Everything is meant to happen much too quickly: The nuclear exit, the decline in CO2 emissions.” This is causing a rapid rise in energy prices, which is damaging to medium-sized companies that are very energy intensive and can’t easily move production abroad, he said.

Read the article in German here.



“RWE’s race for renewables seen as too little, too late”

Tino Andresen writes on that German utility RWE’s Gwynt y Mor offshore wind park in the UK is a last-ditch effort to help the company expand renewables after it has failed to keep up with the transformation of the European power industry. RWE started its largest renewables project Thursday, but the utility still generates most of its power from coal-fired plants, BloombergBusiness writes, adding that the company only generated 4.8 percent of its power from renewables last year. Germany and other European countries are expanding the share of renewables in their power mix, in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions.

Read the article in English here.

Read a CLEW dossier on German utilities here.


Dow Jones Newswires

“Power Lines/Economy ministers rebuff Bavaria’s proposal”

With the exception of Bavaria, the economy ministers of the all German states have agreed to plans for expanding Germany’s power lines to connect wind power from the north to industry in the south, Dow Jones Newswires reports. The ministers, meeting in Hamburg, rejected a proposal from Bavaria that would shift power lines to neighbouring states like Hesse and Baden-Württemburg, west of Bavaria. “The Bavarians want affordable power, but they want their neighbors to carry the burden,” said social democratic minister from Baden-Württemburg Nils Schmid, according to Dow Jones. He added that Bavaria had isolated itself through its refusal to comply with the plans, which he noted was a nationwide project. “It can’t be that Bavaria simply wants to remove itself from its responsibility for this generational project. Bavarian egoism can’t be the deciding factor in this,” he said.

Read a CLEW dossier on grid expansion here.



“vzbv  and bne want greater transparency in network regulations”

The regulation of Germany’s power distribution network must be “encouraged in an efficient and targeted manner,” the Association of Energy Market Innovators (bne) and the Association of Consumer Organisations (vzbv) say in an open letter to the public. The groups called for more transparency and the avoidance of unnecessary costs for the power customers. The German government urgently needs to take action to reform the regulation of incentives and to ensure greater transparency, according to vzbv official Ingmar Streese. 900 network operators are too many, making the management of the Energiewende cumbersome and leading to higher costs for customers, vzbv says. The groups called for regionally grouped units of network operators with a shared operating management. The proposals by the German economics ministry are a “step in the right direction,” the press release said.

Read the letter in German here

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