New European car CO₂ limits must not be too strict - EU commissioner
The Clean Energy Wire
European budget commissioner and member of Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party Günther Oettinger says new EU car emission limits must not be so strict they harm the industry. “Some politicians are simply too naïve on this and think that the car industry is able to fulfil any requirements,” Oettinger said at an annual car industry summit organised by business daily Handelsblatt. He added that eastern European countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania could help to dampen "ideologically driven" ambitions in EU negotiations, and called for a balance between environmental and industry concerns. The EU Commission plans to present its proposals for the new CO₂ limits to take effect after 2021 in November.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
It will be easier for CDU, CSU, FDP and the Green Party to find an agreement on migration and asylum than on climate policy, the CDU’s Armin Laschet, state premier of Germany’s industrial heartland North Rhine-Westphalia, told Rheinische Post in an interview. First talks on climate, energy and the environment start today. Laschet represents his party on these topics. “Climate protection is important, but keeping jobs is also a moral goal," he said on the topic of shutting down coal-fired power plants. "If Germany’s status as an industrial location is put in danger, we cannot form a coalition,” Laschet said. He added that Germany would continue to rely on a conventional power for supply security. “We need a mix of lignite, modern hard coal power plants and gas,” he said, adding that there were still no power lines to transport wind power from northern Germany, or adequate storage solutions. NRW’s state government has put together an internal list of topics and proposals for the ongoing government coalition talks, seen by Rheinische Post, including the introduction of a capacity power market.
Find the interview in German here.
Stay up to date with CLEW’s coalition watch and find background in the factsheet The long road to a new government coalition in Germany.
A new Jamaica coalition government of CDU, CSU, FDP and the Greens could “improve the energy transition”, Andreas Kuhlmann, head of the German Energy Agency (dena), told Die Welt in an interview. Kuhlmann said the different demands brought forward by the parties in the election campaign were “not incompatible”. The introduction of a price on CO₂ for example would be an easy and extensive framework for th ecountry's Energiewende policy that could solve the problem of Germany's coal emissions. The next federal government should focus on making Germany’s energy taxes and levies system less complex and put more emphasis on CO₂ reduction.
Read the interview in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Vote2017: German parties' energy & climate policy positions and What energy & climate stakeholders want from Germany's next government.
There is a large gap between the standards in climate protection that German Chancellor Angela Merkel proclaims on an international stage and the actual results of her policies at home, according to a Greenpeace Germany paper. The NGO charts Merkel’s political climate career from her time as environment minister in 1994 until her tenure as Chancellor from 2005 to 2017, and calls the period “12 lost years for climate protection”. Annual average greenhouse gas reductions were lower than under previous chancellors Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schröder, and Merkel gave in to pressure from the coal lobby and car industry instead of phasing out coal-fired power generation and the combustion engine, Greenpeace says. Greenpeace held a protest demanding a German coal exit in front of the chancellery today.
Find the paper in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet The story of "Climate Chancellor" Angela Merkel.
Cologne Institute for Economic Research
German companies booked revenues of some 66 billion euros with products and services aimed at environmental and climate protection in 2015, the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW Köln) says in a report. Metal working and electronics manufacturers raked in the lion share, with machinery makers accounting for the largest part of any individual industry group. Nearly half the turnover came from exports. Some 260,000 jobs were linked to environmental protection, 174,000 of those in the manufacturing industry.
Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS)
Germany’s distribution grid operators are calling for a legal reform to limit the transmission grid operators’ (TSO) powers to intervene in distribution grids, Klaus Stratmann writes for Handelsblatt. An increasingly decentralised power supply due to the energy transition has made distribution grid management more complex, and the national TSOs should be allowed to intervene without warning only in rare instances, Katherina Reiche, director of the German Association of Local Utilities (VKU) told Handelsblatt.
Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.
Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (SNV)
A technology think-tank is calling for an overhaul of legislation, to unlock the huge potential of digitalisation to catapult Germany’s energy transition to a new level. A paper by Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (SNV) says digital solutions can make the Energiewende much cheaper and advance climate protection. This requires liberalisation of tightly regulated energy markets in order to make the system more flexible and increase incentives to reduce CO2 emissions, its author Fabian Reetz argues.
Read the paper in German here.
For background, read the dossier Digitalisation ignites new phase in energy transition