Reuters / German government
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the upcoming G20 meeting in Hamburg will focus not only on the economic growth, but also on sustainable growth, Reuters writes, quoting a podcast of the Federal Press Office. "We've got to have a 'win-win' situation for everyone. The issues obviously revolve around: how do we achieve inclusive or sustainable growth?", Reuters quotes Merkel as saying. "We need the climate protection agreement, open markets and improved trade agreements in which consumer protection, social and environmental standards are upheld." Leaders of G20 countries will meet in Hamburg on July 7-8 under the current German presidency, where police are bracing for protests.
Read the Reuters article in English here.
Here Merkel’s comments in a podcast of the Federal Press Office here.
Read about the issues at the meeting in a series of CLEW articles here.
BEE / Reuters
Germany produced 35 percent of its power from renewable energy in the first half of 2017, up from 33 percent the previous year, according to the BEE renewable energy association. But in the heating sector, the gains were only minimal, the BEE said. “The Energiewende is advancing much too slowly in Germany,” Harald Uphoff, acting head of the BEE said in a press release.
Read an article about the developments in English on Reuters here.
Get details on Germany's electricity production and energy use in the CLEW factsheet.
The vice-president of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, told weekly news magazine Der Spiegel that the EU wants to negotiate with Russia over the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, instead of the German government, write Christoph Schult and Peter Müller. The pipeline will carry natural gas from Russia across the North Sea to Germany. The EU is concerned that the pipeline could go against many energy and foreign policy interests of its member states, according the the article. The German government abstained from commenting after 13 countries supported a plan to take over the negotiations in a meeting of energy ministers in Luxembourg last Monday, the authors write.
Read the article in German here.
Read CLEW news digest items about developments on the issue here.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has warned the global community against the anti-climate course of the United States and urged leaders to stick to the Paris climate agreement in an interview on the environmental magazine movum.info. “For the US itself, abandoning climate protection is environmentally irresponsible and economically wrong,” Gabriel said. “The US is damaging itself, us Europeans and all other people of the world.”
Read the interview in German on movum.info here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet German reactions to US decision to withdraw from Paris Agreement.
A new study by energy consultancy Brainpool, commissioned by Greenpeace, outlines a detailed plan for exiting coal in Germany, so the country can reach its emissions-cutting goals. The study details when which coal-powered plants should be shut off between now and 2030.
Find a copy of the study in German here.
Read about coal in Germany in a CLEW dossier.
Many of Germany’s medium-sized industrial companies say they are under pressure from rising electricity costs, and businesses want the government to cut levies that fund Germany’s renewables expansion, writes Klaus Stratmann in the Handelsblatt Online. Germany’s medium-sized companies are more heavily burdened than their competitors, according to DIHK German Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Eric Schweitzer. “German medium-sized companies pay the hightest power prices in the EU, double that of their French counterparts,” he told the Handelsblatt.
Read a CLEW dossier about the costs involved in the Energiewende here and find more proposals on how to change the renewables support the factsheet.
The Federal Network Agency reported new registrations of 6,589 photovoltaic installations with 136 megawatts total capacity in May. Including 76.4 megawatt from solar parks in the registry, the amount added was 212 megawatts.
Read the article in German here.
The German government holds an indirect stake in a decrepit Belgian nuclear plant, according to an article in the Aachener Zeitung, but is also lobbying to shut down the plant, writes Dagmar Dehmer in Der Tagesspiegel. This shows how sustainability has had played little role in Germany’s investment decisions in the past, according to Dehmer. Environment minister Barbara Hendricks has said she would aim to sell the shares, amounting to around 6.4 million euros, Dehmer writes.
Read the article in German here.
The conservative alliance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian sister party CSU has pledged to stick to the country’s national climate targets, including the long fought-over Climate Action Plan 2050. The two parties’ joint programme for September’s federal election calls the Paris Agreement on climate the “biggest success to date in international efforts to contain global warming”, adding that the parties regret the decision by the United States to leave the agreement. “Together with France and other countries, we will champion decisively for the preservation and success of the agreement,” the programme reads. It contains a commitment to expand renewable energy use, and states that electricity supply has to be “secure, affordable, and clean”. Overall, the programme is weak on detailed energy and climate policy proposals.
On climate, energy, clean transport, and heating, the parties say they aim to:
- continue the integration of renewables into the energy market
- continue research into, and development of, storage options, in order to make Germany a home to battery cell production again
- make accelerated grid expansion a priority
- stick to the Climate Action Plan 2050 by using market-based instruments rather than government orders
- create a structural development plan for coal regions in parallel with the “long-term exit from lignite”
- drive the coupling of the power, transport, and heating sectors
- keep modern diesel cars as an important option until the final breakthrough of e-cars, and reject bans on specific types of cars
- support the transition to alternative fuel vehicles in transportation, and pursue an open technology strategy to promote the use of alternative fuels, e-mobility, and fuel cells
- create a country-wide infrastructure of 50,000 charging stations for electric and hydrogen vehicles
- create a framework to make Germany a market leader in alternative and environmentally friendly modes of transportation, such as electric and autonomous vehicles
- make Germany a leader in new mobility concepts based on digitalisation
Read more about other parties’ energy and climate policy ideas in the CLEW dossier on the German federal elections.
G20 member states are beginning to decarbonise their economies, but the required investment in fossil fuels remains so high that the “well below 2°Celsius” global warming reduction target will be “missed by a wide margin”, according to the Brown to Green Report 2017 compiled by Climate Transparency, an international consortium of environmental organisations. The report evaluates the countries’ individual transition to a low-carbon economy, for example regarding emissions reductions, climate policy, finance, and decarbonisation. Coal has become a major issue in Germany, and while experts rate the country’s policy performance high, they point to the need for the country to improve its sectoral targets and to develop an adequate plan for the phase-out of coal.
For background on the G20, read the CLEW dossiers The energy transition and climate change and G20 2017 - Climate and energy at the Hamburg summit.