In the media: VW's blatant deception; "error in the IEA energy bible"
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)
“The VW scandal”
It is a mystery why VW decided to take the risk of manipulating emission results with rather limited benefits, writes Holger Appel in FAZ. Why VW did not react earlier, since discussions between the company and supervisory authorities on the discrepancy between laboratory and real-life emission tests started in May 2014, is also a mystery. “Either the top management did know and covered up that a group of high-ranking developers secretly took illegal decisions, or it remained unaware. One is as bad as the other,” writes Appel. “Volkswagen has thrown itself and the German car industry propagating a ‘Clean Diesel’ image into a crisis of confidence.”
Environment Ministry (BMUB)
Ministry demands "complete clarification about extent of manipulations"
“The VW manipulations are a case of blatant consumer deception and damage to the environment,” says Jochen Flasbarth, junior environment minister, in a press release. He says all German car manufacturers must now prove that similar manipulations did not take place in other models. “Diesel car emissions on the road must decrease quickly and significantly. This is the only way diesel cars can have a future with regard to emissions.”
Read the press release in German here.
It is difficult to imagine that VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, a man interested in his cars’ every little screw, did not know anything about the manipulations, or at least had a suspicion about what was going on, writes Ulrich Schäfer in Süddeutsche Zeitung. He says the scandal could damage the whole German car industry, whose success relies on its image of clean and reliable engineering. “If this reputation is seriously endangered, then it also endangers growth and prosperity in this country, because one in seven jobs is still directly or indirectly dependent on the car industry.”
Read the commentary in German here.
“Mr Clean image is shattered”
The public feels deceived by VW’s manipulations and the company now has an ugly side, according to a commentary by Holger Ohmstedt in public broadcaster ARD. “The image of Mr Clean is shattered, not only in the US,” says Ohmstedt.
“Fatal error in the energy bible”
Researchers are criticising the International Energy Agency (IEA), saying its reports on the potential for wind and solar power are systematically set too low. This leads governments, economies and people to believe that they will not be able to cope without fossil fuels for a long time, Joachim Wille reports in the Frankfurter Rundschau. Researchers and parliamentarians from the international network “Energy Watch Group” (EWG) said the IEA’s prognosis in its annual “World Energy Outlook” damages the worldwide energy transition and is irresponsible since the IEA publication is something of an “energy bible” for many decision makers. Despite the exponential growth of wind power and photovoltaics in the past decades, the IEA was still assuming a linear increase in these technologies. While the IEA predicts a share of 14 percent renewables by 2030, the critics say that, according to the growth rates of the past 20 years, 60 percent are a more accurate estimate. German president of EWG, Hans-Josef Fell, accused the IEA of “blocking the international energy transition for years now”. The IEA was not able to comment, Wille writes.
Read the EWG study in English here.
“Meeting the refugees of tomorrow”
One can witness how climate change is already affecting Bangladesh, German news agency dpa writes. This will lead to even more refugees - climate refugees - Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his French counterpart said during a visit to Dhaka. Both ministers called upon governments around the world to agree on an ambitious climate deal that will limit the temperature rise – and thereby sea level rise - in countries like Bangladesh.
Read the feature in German here.
“Green Party recommends Energiewende for Athens”
A group of Green Party MPs have suggested that Greece adopts a “Green New Deal for renewable energies and energy efficiency”, the Frankfurter Rundschau reports. The Greek economy was highly dependent on imported fossil fuels and Greek islands particularly were often using inefficient and costly diesel generators - costing the state hundreds of millions of euros in subsidies, Stefan Sauer writes. “Without having to pay the bill for oil, Greece’s budget would be nearly balanced,” the Green Party paper says. The politicians suggest investment in renewables like wind, water and solar power, which should be backed-up by the European investment bank.
“Government postpones decision on nuclear liabilities”
Angela Merkel’s cabinet has postponed the decision on the unlimited liability for utilities after company restructurings, Welt online reports. Utility E.ON had reacted to the law proposal by announcing it would not spin-off its nuclear operations into a new company called Uniper. This could be one reason why the “lex E.ON” was now not so urgent anymore, authors Martin Greive and Daniel Wetzel say. E.ON and RWE, whose shares dropped dramatically amid the discussion about their nuclear clean-up liabilities and whether they would be able to pay for them, are given a breather by the postponement, the authors write.
Read the article in German here.
Read a CLEW factsheet about securing utility payments for the nuclear clean-up here.
“Vattenfall announces next step in lignite sale process”
Swedish utility Vattenfall invited bidders to state their interest in its German lignite assets, according to a press release. “All Vattenfall’s lignite generation and mining assets in Germany will be included in the sale,” it said. The company also said bidders can buy a portfolio of hydro assets, mainly located near the lignite areas. The sales process is expected to continue into 2016, according to Vattenfall.
Read the press release in English here.
Find our factsheet about Coal in Germany here.
Read CLEW’s blow-by-blow account of the debate about a climate levy here.
taz – die Tageszeitung
“Beautiful, more beautiful, energy transition”
Greenpeace is showing in its “energy (r)evolution” scenario that providing the world with 100 percent renewable energies by 2100 would be possible, writes Bernhard Pötter in the taz. But at the same time, the OECD has published figures that show how fossil fuels are subsidized with 200 billion euros in tax money by the 40 most important states, Pötter says. The optimistic Greenpeace scenario is based on a large growth of ever-cheaper renewables like wind, solar, biomass and hydropower and works without carbon capture and storage, without nuclear power and a without a global carbon price.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)
“Steel industry up in arms”
The German steel industry is building an alliance with workers’ unions and politicians to fight the reform of the European Emissions trading system (EU ETS), the FAZ reports. Cutting the amount of emission allowances would increase production costs to a degree that it endangered the existence of the sector in Germany, steel industry representatives said. Garrelt Duin, North-Rhine Westphalia’s economy minister, said it would not benefit the climate at all if steel production moved abroad, where environmental standards were much lower than in Germany. With 48,000 employees in the steel industry, North-Rhine Westphalia is Europe’s most important steel location, the article says.
Read a CLEW Dossier on power prices, costs and industry here.
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
“Funding renewable energy in an efficient way”
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has published the ninth issue of its English-language newsletter “Energiewende direkt”. It includes articles on pilot auctions for ground-mounted PV installations, the move to renewable heat generation, grid development, offshore wind, and many others.
Read the publication in English here.