29 Oct 2018, 13:28
Julian Wettengel

Merkel to make way for new party leader / EU car CO2 goal "not mature"

Clean Energy Wire

After heavy losses for her conservative CDU/CSU alliance in regional elections in Bavaria and Hesse, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that she will not seek re-election as party chairwoman. She also said she would not run for chancellor again. “This term is my last one as chancellor. I will not run for chancellor or parliament in 2021 and do not seek to occupy other political positions thereafter. […] My party can now prepare itself for the time after I'm gone,” Merkel told a press conference in Berlin. "The government's work has not always met my own quality standards in the last months,” she said, adding that the intention of her decision is to enable the government to focus on good governance. Merkel, who has in the past been nicknamed “climate-chancellor” for her long-standing international engagement for emissions cuts, has been chairwoman of the CDU since 2000 and chancellor since 2005. Stepping down as CDU chairwoman further undermines Merkel’s authority, wrote Andreas Rinke and Paul Carrel for Reuters. Party sources said Merkel’s favoured successor, CDU party secretary general Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Friedrich Merz, a former parliamentary leader of Merkel’s conservative alliance, and Health Minister Jens Spahn had announced their candidacies for the party chair, writes Reuters.

Find the Reuters article in English here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet The story of "Climate Chancellor" Angela Merkel.

The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on the topic later today.


While the Greens were strengthened by their success in the regional elections in the German federal state of Hesse, it remains to be seen whether they can convert this political success into concrete green policy, writes Joachim Wille in an opinion piece for the klimareporter. The Green Party would certainly be a stronger partner should the current coalition with the Christian Democrats continue. “Unfortunately, no help comes from the federal government as – despite its slump in voter favour – there is no end in sight for the grand coalition, which steps on the brakes,” writes Wille.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

Find background in the CLEW article Fresh Green upset in Hesse state election may derail Merkel government and the factsheet Facts on German state elections and the energy transition in Hesse.


The proposed goal by EU ministers to cut the average CO₂ emissions of new passenger cars by 35 percent by 2030 is “not mature,” the head of the metal industry union IG Metall Jörg Hofmann told Alfons Frese in an interview with the Tagesspiegel. “I can't imagine how this can be achieved with the timeframes for planning procedures in Germany,” he said. While more ambitious targets are good for the climate, “targets that are fakes from the outset because the preconditions for achieving them have not been clarified are detrimental to an ambitious climate policy,” he said. Battery prices are skyrocketing, and coal still has a large share in Germany’s power mix, making e-mobility comparatively CO₂-intensive.

Read the interview in German here.

Find background in the news digest EU governments agree to cut car emissions faster than proposed by Germany.

Clean Energy Wire

Germany is able to live up to its obligations in international climate protection and should not give up the pioneer role it has played in areas such as renewable energies and environmental technologies, said German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the award ceremony for the German Environmental Prize. Environmental and climate protection are tasks to which all citizens must be committed, and there are many challenges, said Steinmeier. “That is why it is important to involve all actors in society in finding solutions in order to achieve a balance between ecological, social, economic, and industrial interests.” This had not always been the case in the past, as was shown by the dispute surrounding the fate of Hambach Forest. “We must act, we must act together, and we must act quickly,” said Steinmeier.

Find the text of the speech in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Court's halt to forest clearing fans talk of easier German coal exit and the dossier The energy transition and climate change.

Deutsche Welle

Thousands of people have protested against coal use in Germany, some blocking a railway line leading to the Hambach lignite mine, others occupying an excavator there, reports Deutsche Welle. A court has recently ordered that clearing operations at the embattled and symbolic Hambach Forest – which protesters had occupied for about six years and energy company RWE wants to clear to make way for expanding the nearby open pit mine – be stopped.

Read the DW article in English here.

For background, read the CLEW article Court's halt to forest clearing fans talk of easier German coal exit and the Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out.


While many German companies have recognised the need for more transparency and other changes in measuring climate risks, the quality of reporting on the topic is not high enough, writes the consultancy Ernst & Young (EY). In a report, EY examined how well companies followed the recommendations on the voluntary disclosure of climate-related financial risks by corporations, which the industry-led Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) had published in 2017.

Find the study in German here.

The Independent / Church of England

An alliance of investors, led by the Church of England Pensions Board and the Swedish Pension Fund AP7, has written a joint letter to 55 high-carbon companies in Europe, including German carmaker VW, urging them to better align their lobbying stance with the aims of the Paris Agreement, reports The Independent. “Misleading and misaligned corporate lobbying practices undermine the ability of governments to act on climate change and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Adam Matthews, director of ethics & engagement at the Church of England Pensions Board, in a press release.

Find the article in English here and the Church of England press release in English here.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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