No climate plan ahead of COP22 / Power origin transparency
Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks does not expect the cabinet to approve her Climate Action Plan 2050 before COP22 in Marrakesh next week. “My assessment at this moment is that it will be ready for approval in December,” Hendricks said at a panel discussion organised by Tagesspiegel and German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Berlin. Hendricks said she attached more value to content than speed. In a joint press release, environmental organisations said not having the plan in Marrakesh would be “an embarrassment for Germany”.
“It’s hypocritical to celebrate oneself for the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement while doing nothing at home,” said Tobias Austrup, energy and transport expert at Greenpeace.
Earlier this year, more ambitious drafts of the environment ministry’s Climate Action Plan 2050 were watered down by the economics ministry and Angela Merkel’s chancellery. The plan still faces strong opposition from conservative members of parliament. The main points of contention include emission reduction targets for each sector (energy, transport, industry, buildings, agriculture), and establishing a commission to deal with the question of a German coal exit.
Find the press release by environmental organisation in German here.
Also read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s trimmed-down Climate Action Plan for background.
Trying to micro-manage Germany’s long-term path to decarbonisation with a government climate plan is doomed to fail, because “politics is regularly unable to plan and regulate for decades,” writes Klaus Stratmann in an opinion piece in Handelsblatt. He adds that some of the planned reduction efforts lack solutions, or are impossible because physical and technical limits have already been reached. “Even the most ambitious climate protection plan cannot circumvent the laws of nature,” writes Stratmann. “It could all be so simple. Politics should mainly restrict itself to putting a price on CO₂ emissions. Beyond that it should interfere as little as possible,” he concludes.
For background read the CLEW article Ministry avoids concrete targets in weakened Climate Action Plan.
Several German companies plan to provide customers with transparency on the exact geographical origin of the energy they purchase, writes Ralph Diermann on Spiegel Online. If consumers know their energy comes from the wind turbine next door and not from a faraway coal plant, “they are more likely to accept further expansion of renewables”, Christian Chudoba, co-founder of the start-up Lumenaza, told Spiegel Online. The company, partly funded by utility EnBW, links small-scale producers like energy cooperatives and municipal utilities to consumers in the same region. Like competitors LichtBlick or Grünstromwerk, Lumenaza is likely to benefit from the reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), which by 2017 will allow producers to market regionally generated power as so-called “green electricity” and also to indicate the individual wind farm or solar park it where it was produced.
Read the article in German here.
For detailed information on the future legal framework for renewables in Germany, read the CLEW dossier The reform of the Renewable Energy Act.
See the CLEW dossier The People's Energiewende for more information on regionally produced power.
German customers are being misled by inaccurate labelling of the origin of their electricity, the energy provider LichtBlick writes in a press release. Suppliers are obliged by law to indicate an averaged share of green electricity in their tariffs, even if the particular electricity they receive comes from a coal or nuclear plant, according to LichtBlick. According to Gero Lücking from LichtBlick, the current legal requirement is “state-approved false labelling” that urgently needs reform in order to prevent “greenwashing” of non-renewable energy sources.
Find the press release in German here.
For background information on the renewable energy surcharge see the CLEW dossier Energiewende effects on power prices, costs and industry.
State environment ministry, North Rhine-Westphalia
Tenants in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) will be able to benefit from solar PV panels installed on the rooftop of the buildings they live in. The state government has introduced a support programme for self-consumption power facilities, allowing tenants to acquire electricity generated on their own rooftops cheaper than with the regular local utility contract. “This way, tenants can directly experience the Energiewende,” said state environment minister Johannes Remmel in a press release. With the programme, NRW bridges a financing gap left open by the federal government, which plans to introduce tenant electricity regulation in the coming weeks. Currently, tenants have to pay the full federal renewables surcharge on electricity received from their own rooftops – even if the power is never fed into the local grid.
Read the press release in German here.
Read a CLEW dossier on the reform of the Renewable Energy Act.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Top representatives of the German government have criticised Chinese plans to impose a mandatory quota for e-cars by 2018, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports. Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Beijing erected market barriers that discriminate against German and other European carmakers, writes FAZ. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said Germany needed protection from unfair competition conditions. According to FAZ, China aims to obtain 70 percent of its e-cars from domestic producers in 2020.
For background on German manufacturers' struggle to shift to decarbonised mobility, see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
The German government does not yet have a unified position on the reform of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) planned for next year, write Till Hoppe and Klaus Stratmann for Handelsblatt. “We must not further embarrass ourselves as the only large member state without a coordinated position,” government sources told Handelsblatt. Points of contention include the number of free CO₂ certificates allocated to companies that compete internationally, and which companies should receive them. In July 2015, the EU Commission proposed legislation to revise the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) for the period after 2020, which is now being discussed in Brussels.
For background information read the CLEW article German steelworkers fight EU plans for emissions trading and the CLEW factsheet Understanding the European Union’s Emissions Trading System.
Institute for Ecological Economy Research
Scholars from the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) and several universities have published a handbook for local governments and other players on how to better engage citizens in the transition of Germany’s energy system. The handbook, entitled “The way to the climate citizen” presents different strategies and ideas on how to get the population to actively participate in the Energiewende, with the help of existing examples.
Zukunft Erdgas e.V.
The German gas industry believes gas is being “discriminated against” in Energiewende policies. In heating, renewable gas was being treated as a fossil fuel, and CO2-savings by gas-powered cars were not counted as decarbonisation measures, said Timm Kehler from the industry confederation Zukunft Erdgas e.V. during a press conference. He cited a lack of cross-sectoral thinking in energy policy and bickering over responsibilities by different ministries as examples why “innovative solutions” based on gas did not play the role they deserved. Last week, the gas industry launched a campaign against coal-fired power generation and on Monday criticised the government for failing to deliver a realistic Climate Action Plan 2050.
For more information on Germany’s struggle to come up with a roadmap for climate protection see the CLEW factsheet Germany’s trimmed-down Climate Action Plan.