In the media: praise and criticism for government's climate action
"Government advisors pick apart the Energiewende"
Official advisors to the German government have criticised Energiewende policies as “not concrete enough” and “not enough to achieve Germany’s climate targets,” writes Die Welt. Commenting on the Progress Report Energiewende, the expert verdict is particularly harsh on the energy ministry's energy efficiency plans: these measures would only reduce the deficit in this area by a little more than a third, they say.
See the article in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet on the Progress Report Energiewende here.
“Steps big and small”
The Climate Action Programme has it both: a host of small steps – like checking up on old heating systems – that contribute to larger greenhouse gas reductions, and big leaps in areas like the power sector where fast reform is needed, writes Michael Bauchmüller in an opinion piece for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. If the Economy and Energy Minister takes his own announcement seriously and has power stations reduce emissions, this would be an important next step in the Energiewende, he says.
“Self-praise is correct. In part”
Germany is a leader on climate action but when in doubt, short-term industry interests sway the government in Berlin, writes Bernhard Pötter in die taz. Despite Germany’s Energiewende and ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, Chancellor Angela Merkel likes to intervene at the EU level to weaken environmental requirements for the car industry as she did in 2013, the author says.
“A big empty vessel”
Writing in ZEIT online, Fritz Vorholz calls the government's Climate Action Programme "vague plans". The programme contains meaures such as making passenger traffic more “climate friendly” and helping low-income households find climate friendly accommodation, Vorholz writes in an opinion piece. But it lacks the details of how they can be achieved – instead referring to the need for numerous “preliminary studies” and “inspection orders”. In reality, the cabinet has not yet introduced a single new climate protection measure – it has only documented its good will.
See the op-ed in German here.
Writing for the Spiegel Online, Alexander Neubacher says the government’s push for thermal insulation for residential buildings as part of its new energy efficiency plans will benefit builders and the insulation industry but not tenants or the environment. The article says the costs of insulating building facades are not recouped in energy savings and push up costs for tenants. Much polystyrene used in thermal insulation also contains the UN-banned fire retardant chemical HBCD, Neubacher writes.
Read the article in German here.
“German government approves 80 billion euro climate package”
Euractiv reports on Germany's new Climate Action Programme, saying that the country would likely have missed its climate targets by 5 - 8 percent without it. The biggest CO2 reductions are to come from energy efficiency measures detailed in the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (NAPE), the article’s author Daniel Tost writes. The article outlines the positions of environmental organisations NABU and Germanwatch, who say the package does not go far enough, particularly in cutting emissions from coal power generation, transportation and building renovation.
See the article in English here.
The Wall Street Journal
“Germany Moves to Speed Renewable Energy Goal”
Andrea Thomas reports on the Climate Action Programme for the Wall Street Journal, saying it was met with mixed reactions from business. The EID, which represents energy-intensive industries said the deal would push up power prices and have little impact on climate change, Thomas writes, while RWE expressed concern over the lack of detail on CO2 reduction plans. Car markers meanwhile, welcomed a tax exemption for electric cars and the building sector was encouraged by funds to be made available for retrofitting.
See the article in German here.