In the media: Unions at odds over coal levy
“Metal vs coal”
Unions are deeply split on the issue of the proposed coal levy, according to an article by Michael Bauchmüller in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Germany's IG Metall industrial metalworkers union attacked protests against the plan in a letter sent to energy minister Sigmar Gabriel and the head of coal union IG BCE, Michael Vassiliadis, one of the most vocal opponents of the levy. “We advocate coming clean with colleagues in the coal industry,” the paper quotes from the letter. Electricity generated from coal “is a climate killer that can no longer be justified." The letter continues: “Green energies are an important engine for growth and already provide employment to dozens of times more people than brown coal.”
Find the article in German here.
Read a CLEW article about the ministry's proposal for the levy here.
Read a CLEW article about the current debate over job losses here.
Read a CLEW article about the role of the unions in the energy transition here.
“Coal has to stay in the ground“
The government’s proposal for a CO2-levy on old coal-fired power stations is a credible and sensible blueprint, writes Paul Ekins from the Energy Institute at University College London (UCL) in a commentary in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “This year is eminently important for climate protection and the decision to gradually reduce the use of coal will strengthen Germany’s leadership role and will be noted far beyond Germany,” writes Ekins with reference to the Paris climate summit at the end of the year and the G7 summit in Germany in June. “The logic for a phase-out of coal is inescapable in Germany and the rest of the world,” he says, adding that industrialised nations have promised to lead by example in the effort to stop global warming. “There comes a time when the fulfilment of such a promise requires hard decisions. Germany has now reached that point,” writes Ekins.
Read the article on-line in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)
“We can’t just wipe out coal”
Energy minister Sigmar Gabriel’s proposal for a coal levy cannot become reality in its current form, according to Volker Kauder, parliamentary leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU. “We can’t just wipe out coal now, not even through the back door,” Kauder said in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He added: “We have no intention of organising the exit from coal. But it’s also clear that we have to achieve our climate goals.”
Read an article about the interview in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
“The battle for brown coal”
Despite the unexpected revival of brown coal in the past years, it’s obvious that this inefficient fuel will be phased out in the not-too-distant future – even if the government does not yet dare to phrase it this way, writes Lena Schipper in a two-page article in the Frankfurter Allgmeine Sonntagszeitung. But a phase-out carries economic risks, according to Schipper. “Therefore, the current conflict is about fundamental issues. Which has higher priority over the medium term: Ecology or jobs?”
“Honey, I shrunk the power pylon”
Transmission grid operator 50Hertz is investigating the use of a new, smaller kind of power pylon, Daniel Wetzel reports in Die Welt. The “CompactLine” masts would be 36 metres instead of 60 metres high but could still serve to build 400 kilovolt power highways; from 2017 on they will be tested on a pilot route. 50Hertz hopes that smaller masts will increase public acceptance of power lines, the article says.
Read the on-line version of the article in German here.
“Merkel opposes capacity markets”
Chancellor Angela Merkel and Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel have come to an agreement concerning the reform of Germany’s power market, the Handelsblatt writes. Citing un-named government sources, Daniel Delhaes and Dana Heide write that Merkel had opposed subsidies for conventional power stations to ensure security of supply. However, according to sources from the Bavarian state government, there will be a special financing arrangement for the gas-fired power station in Irsching, in order to secure power supply from this modern plant in Bavaria that operator E.ON had threatened to close down.
Frankfurter Allgmeine Zeitung (FAZ)
“A mandatory two-degree-limit would be a success”
The German government will emphasize the need for the G7 countries to hand in their national climate commitments for an international climate protection agreement before they attend the G7 meeting in Bavaria in June, Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks told the FAZ in an interview. “The G7 summit should create momentum for the climate conference in Paris,” Hendricks said. The large industrialised nations have to pioneer the mitigation of climate change by setting themselves ambitious targets, she added. Apart from committing to the two-degree warming-limit, it is important that countries agreed on binding rules for measurements and reference years for greenhouse gas emissions, she said.