Political tug-of-war over Germany's Climate Action Plan
The federal government’s “Climate Action Plan 2050" will influence next year’s general election campaign, writes German weekly Der Spiegel. The Green Party would like to speed up the plan, and any other party that might want them as a coalition partner after the election will have to work with them on this goal. Currently, Germany has a coalition government between the two big parties, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, which is run by the economy and environment minister Sigmar Gabriel. According to the magazine: “If they do not want a grand coalition again, Merkel and Gabriel would each need the Greens to make it into the chancellery next year."
Read about the Climate Action Plan in CLEW’s article Germany’s roadmap to CO2-neutrality delayed amid industry objections.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The federal government’s “Climate Action Plan 2050" is “a continuation and intensification of a purely national climate policy,” says German economist Joachim Weimann in a guest commentary in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The emissions avoided in Germany – if the current plan were implemented – would simply be used by other countries that are part of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). “Europe would not avoid more CO2 than without a German solo effort, but at much higher cost,” because international differences in cost to avoid emissions are not being exploited, writes Weimann. He calls for a development of the EU ETS and more investment in technologies to generate energy.
Süddeutsche Zeitung / NDR / WDR
The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) plans to initiate its own programme to measure emissions from diesel vehicles in real-life conditions, setting up parallel structures to those of the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), reports Süddeutsche Zeitung. “In the future it will be UBA versus KBA,” write the authors, adding that the KBA still has not published some of the results of the emissions tests it carried out. UBA president Maria Krautzberger said that diesel cars “surely do not have a future in the heavily polluted city centres.”
Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.
The effect of Brexit will be “controllable” for German energy company E.ON, which is also one of the largest power suppliers in Britain, CEO Johannes Teyssen told the Bild Zeitung in an interview. The devaluation of the British Pound is a risk, he said, but on the other hand E.ON has financed its offshore wind parks in pounds, which means paying back these loans will cost less in euros.
German municipalities see energy supply and mobility management as important topics in 2030, according to a survey by the Society of Automotive and Traffic Systems Technologies of the Association of German Engineers (VDI). 68.3 percent of the surveyed mayors say that the expansion of intelligent energy grids and storage possibilities will be more important than today, 61.6 percent see alternative mobility concepts as an up-and-coming topic.
See a summary of the results of the survey in German here.
Germany should follow the Swiss example and take a huge step towards future mobility with a policy offensive. This would include an all-encompassing mobility ticket covering all forms of public transport, as well as car- und bike-sharing, write Green politicians Anton Hofreiter and Oliver Krischer in a guest commentary in the Frankfurter Rundschau. “Sadly, Germany is still a very long way away from this integrated mobility,” write the authors. The current government is heading in the wrong direction by focussing on “yesterday’s automobility” and planning to build innumerable roads, say Hofreiter and Krischer.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
German carmakers haven't taken electric mobility seriously, but suddenly it is even dawning on faithful VW drivers that cars with fossil combustion engines will be phased out at some point, writes Henning Peitsmeier in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. VW and Daimler have made big promises to start the transition to electric cars, and they hope politicians will do whatever is necessary to kickstart the process. “But even optimists do not expect a massive boost from the introduction of a buyer’s premium in Germany. There simply aren’t enough electric car models on offer that get clients excited,” Peitsmeier says.
Read more about the buyer’s premium in the CLEW article Federal government decides on 4,000 euro buyer's premium for e-cars.
Representatives of the opposition Green and Left parties criticised the planned reform of the Renewable Energy Act in the first Bundestag debate on the federal government’s proposed draft. “It would have been more honest to talk of an energy transition prevention act,” said Katja Kipping of Die Linke, according to an article on the parliament’s website. Green politician Oliver Krischer said that Germany’s climate goals could now definitely not be reached, while economy minister Sigmar Gabriel called this statement “simply false.” The plenary forwarded the reform draft to the responsible parliamentary committees for further debate.
Read the article in German here.
Find more background in the factsheet EEG reform 2016 – switching to auctions for renewables.
The economy minister of the state of Hesse Tarek Al-Wazir called the federal economy ministry’s plan to declare parts of the state as grid congestion zones “ludicrous” and “preposterous,” writes the Rhein-Main-Zeitung. This would “vaporise the Energiewende in Hesse from one day to the next,” said Al-Wazir. The government plans to streamline wind power development and grid expansion to make sure that all renewable energy can be transported and used.