03 Apr 2018, 00:00
Sven Egenter Benjamin Wehrmann

New env min against driving bans / Nuclear decommissioning concerns

Clarification: The news digest item "Environment minister wants to prevent diesel driving bans" has been changed to clarify the following sentence: "Many municipalities are calling for this badge to prevent a patchwork of different methods to enforce of air quality regulations."

Germany’s new environment minister, Svenja Schulze, is against driving bans for diesel cars, website reports. Schulze said driving bans, aimed at curbing air pollution in inner cities, would not “make old diesel cars any cleaner”. Instead, she would like to see carmakers – some of which were responsible for “massive betrayal” – fund the hardware retrofitting of affected vehicles. Contrary to her predecessor, Barbara Hendricks, the new minister said she opposed the nationwide introduction of a “blue badge” to identify cleaner cars. Many municipalities are calling for this badge to prevent a patchwork of different methods to enforce air quality regulations. Schulze added that she wants to introduce a buyer’s premium for electric delivery vans to increase the share of e-vehicles on German roads.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article New government gets little credit in quest to regain climate lead for more information.

Bayerischer Rundfunk

The deconstruction of the nuclear plant Isar 1 in the southern German state of Bavaria is proceeding as planned, according to the state’s environment ministry. But environmentalists are concerned that radioactive fuel elements remain in the plant as deconstruction gets underway, public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk reports. Erwin Hadersbeck of citizen initiative Isartal says there had been numerous warnings against leaving fuel elements in the plant. Christian Barth of the Bavarian environment ministry said the plant is regulated and monitored “as if it was still in operation” and that the radioactive fuel elements will be removed “in due course.” The deconstruction of Isar 1 is slated to cost more than 1 billion euros, and will take well into the 2030s, the article says.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany‘s nuclear phase-out for background.


Germany is increasingly lagging behind other countries on sustainability, the head of group sustainability at stock exchange operator Deutsche Börse, Kristina Jeromin, told financial daily Börsen-Zeitung in an interview. Germany has long since lost its lead on sustainability, she said, blaming a dangerous insistence on preserving status quo. Jeromin argues that Germany urgently needs concerted action by government, the finance sector and industry. Pressure to act sustainably could also drive innovation and create new business opportunities, she said.

Find a summary of the interview in German here.

See the CLEW dossier The next German government and the energy transition for background.

Observer Research Foundation

Germany’s energy transition has so far failed to achieve the desired level of emissions reduction “but this glitch might even foster the process,” Christoph Klunker writes in a research paper for the Observer Research Foundation.

Find the paper in English here.

Read the CLEW article Energy sector drives slight drop in German emissions in 2017 for background.


German heating costs between October 2017 and February 2018 were down several percent compared to the same period the previous year, price comparison website check24 says in a press release. The main reason for lower costs was a “relatively mild winter,” check24 says, meaning customers used 7 percent less energy. Costs for natural gas heating fell by 9 percent and costs for oil heating by 2 percent, bringing them roughly in line with one another, it adds.

Read the press release in German here.

Also see the Clew factsheet What German households pay for power.


The dieselgate emissions scandal posed an existential threat to German carmaker Volkswagen, yet the company has surmounted it to become the world’s biggest car seller, and has ambitious goals for electric mobility, Matthew Campbell, Christoph Rauwald and Chris Reiter write for Bloomberg.

Read the article in English here.

See the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers for background.

US carmaker Tesla is back on a list of e-cars that are eligible for subsidies in Germany, website reports. The Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (Bafa) had argued that Tesla cars were too expensive to qualify for subsidies, but the company has successfully demonstrated that basic versions of the model in question are available for less than 60,000 euros, the upper limit to qualify for subsidies.

Read the article in German here.

Germany’s ratio of cars per capita has reached a record high, the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) says in a press release. With 555 personal cars per 1,000 people in 2016, Germany had the seventh highest number of cars per capita in the EU. The table is led by Italy with 625, Finland with 604, and Poland with 571 cars per 1,000 people, according to Destatis.

Find the press release in German here.

German energy company RWE has the right to clear the Hambach Forest and continue lignite mining in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), website reports. Authorities issued a license for RWE, after mining and logging activities stopped last year following a lawsuit by environmental NGO Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND). Authorities argued that clearing the forest is acceptable as there are “enough” protected areas in the region.

Read the article in German here.

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Sven Egenter

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