05 Jul 2016, 00:00
Sören Amelang Kerstine Appunn Julian Wettengel

Merkel says climate to be G20 priority / Coal-related deaths

Petersberg Climate Dialogue VII

Implementing the Paris Climate Agreement will be challenging, according to Chancellor Angela Merkel.  She said at the second day of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin this was already evident at Germany’s present work on a Climate Action Plan. All nations were called upon to deliver a long-term climate strategy, not only for climate protection reasons, but also for maintaining prosperity and growth, Merkel said. When taking over the presidency of the G20 at the end of 2016, Germany would make climate targets and growth important aspects of the discussions, Merkel said.

Deutsche Welle

The regional court (Landgericht) in Hanover has ruled against awarding damages to German utility E.ON. The energy giant had sued the federal government, as well as several states, over the abrupt decision to temporarily shut down two nuclear power plants after the disaster in Fukushima in March 2011, writes Deutsche Welle. E.ON demanded 382 million euros in damages. The court reasoned that the company had failed to seek immediate legal action after the decision. E.ON had earlier claimed that such a process would not have been dealt with fast enough for the moratorium of only three months. In a similar case, a court in Bonn rejected claims by utility EnBW earlier this year.

Read the article in English here.

Read more about Legal disputes over the nuclear phase-out in this CLEW factsheet.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

After the rejection of E.ON’s damages claims by a regional court in Hanover, hope for the big German utilities lies with the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe which is yet to decide related lawsuits, writes Andreas Mihm in an opinion piece in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “As long as the heavily beat companies have unsettled scores like the nuclear clean-up financing, their willingness for early termination of a lawsuit is low. They have every right,” writes Mihm.

Die Welt

Germany’s radioactive waste will probably stay in castor casks above ground near (former) nuclear power stations for a century, writes Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. A final underground repository is unlikely to be filled before the year 2117, Wetzel says. The parliamentary commission for finding a final repository will present its results to the environment minister today. The search procedure, which will focus on possible storage sites in rock salt, clay rock and crystalline granite, will look at Germany as a “white map”, without any pre-conceived favourites. It will therefore also include the salt mine at Gorleben, where explorations had already begun but were terminated amid large protests from citizens. The nuclear waste is to be stored for millions of years in the final repository but shall be retrievable for the first 500 years, the commission suggests. This is in case a treatment is found to reduce radioactivity earlier (transmutation), the article says.

Read a CLEW factsheet about storing radioactive waste in Germany.


Germany suffered more premature deaths linked to coal plant pollution than any other EU member state, according to a new study, reports Euractiv. Some 3,630 people in Germany died from coal-related illnesses in 2013, according to the report by the Health and Environment Alliance, Climate Action Network Europe, WWF and Sandbag. The report says 1,860 premature deaths in Germany were down to domestic coal plants, while 1,770 were traced to emissions from plants in other EU countries. German coal plants cause 2,490 deaths abroad, second only to Poland which causes 4,690 premature deaths abroad.

Read the article in English here.

Find the report in English here.


The diesel emissions scandal has not slowed sales of new diesel cars, reports Henrik Mortsiefer in Tagesspiegel. Sales of diesel cars actually reached a new record of 812,000 in the first half of 2016. Total German car sales rose seven percent to 1.73 million, according to a Handelsblatt report.
The carmakers’ association (VDA) said it expected total vehicle sales to increase to 3.3 million this year. German carmakers increased the number of employees by 15,600 within 12 months due to strong demand. They employed a total of 801,100 permanent staff in April, according to the report.

 Find the Tagesspiegel report in German here and the Handelsblatt report here.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Many cities might be forced to introduce bans on diesel cars because their nitrogen oxide emission levels exceed legal limits, reports Jasper von Altenbockum in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The German Cities Council blames the situation on carmakers’ emission manipulations. “We don’t know how we could guarantee emission limits in the short-term without driving bans […] The car industry must offer concrete solutions,” said council head Helmut Dedy.

Read the article in German here.


The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has told news agency dpa that people should reduce long-haul flights and instead spend their free time locally or on bike and hiking holidays in order to save greenhouse gas emissions. The government should reduce the subsidies that make flying artificially cheap, the UBA said. But environment minister Barbara Hendricks said she did not think people should be asked to abstain from long-distance flights for climate reasons. The real solution would be to make global aviation more climate friendly, she said on Monday.

German Cities Council

The reform of the Renewable Energy Act, which includes the introduction of tenders for renewables, is a challenge for all Energiewende players - but especially for citizens, according to a new brochure by the German Cities Council, local utilities association VKU, the Renewable Energies Agency AEE, and others. The cooperation with partners becomes increasingly important if citizens want to remain part of the energy transition, and the brochure lists many examples, according to a press release.

 Find the brochure in German here.

For background on the effect of the reform on citizens energy, read the new CLEW dossier The reform of the Renewable Energy Act.


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.
« previous news next news »


Sören Amelang

Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

+49 30 62858 497

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee