22 Apr 2016
Kerstine Appunn Julian Wettengel

Record CO2 levels / 'TTIP destroys climate achievements'


Record high CO2 measurements in Germany

Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has measured the highest annual CO2 concentrations ever in 2015. In its research stations on the Zugspitze (Germany’s highest mountain) in Bavaria and on Schauinsland in Baden-Württemberg, the average annual values exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time, the UBA reports. During pre-industrial times the concentration was around 280 ppm. “This data shows how badly we need to implement the Paris Climate Agreement,” said UBA president Maria Krautzberger in a press release.

Read the press release in German here.

Read a CLEW factsheet about greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets in Germany here.


Süddeutsche Zeitung

“They are destroying their own work”

President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel have achieved a lot in climate policy, but they are putting it all in jeopardy by pursuing the transatlantic trade agreement TTIP, writes Joseph E. Stiglitz, economics professor at Columbia University New York, in a guest article for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The Paris Agreement requires that investments are diverted from fossil fuel industries into new renewable infrastructure but TTIP will cement existing structures, he says. The trade agreement lacks rules that prohibit distorting subsidies for companies that pollute the environment and it would enable companies to sue against environmental and climate standards imposed by governments.

Read the article in German here.



“Nuclear commission wants 24 billion euros from utilities”

The commission working on the financing for nuclear decommissioning and waste storage in Germany will propose that the four nuclear utilities E.ON, RWE, Vattenfall and EnBW transfer some 24 billion euros of provisions into a state administered fund, according to a Reuters report. The money would be used for paying for the storage of nuclear waste but the power station operators would cease to be liable for all risks and costs of the nuclear clean-up. The finance commission will present its final report on Wednesday, 27 April.

Read the article in German here.


Frankfurter Rundschau

“Stimulus instead of brakes”

The heads of the German Wind Energy Association (BWE), the Industrial Union of Metal Workers (IG Metall) and Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) are together calling for continued support for renewable energy in Germany. In a guest article in the Frankfurter Rundschau they say that the Renewable Energy Act has brought Germany new jobs and leadership in new technologies. Changing the system from feed-in tariffs to auctions was exchanging a successful support mechanism for a risky one, they write.

Read the article in German here.

Read a CLEW factsheet about the switch from feed-in tariffs to auctions here.


Süddeutsche Zeitung

“German customers are alone in their fight against VW”

German customers have few prospects for compensation payments resulting from the emissions scandal in spite of the deal between German carmaker VW and US authorities, writes the Süddeutsche Zeitung. A company spokesperson said that the agreement in the United States “does not have any legal effect in processes outside of the US.” The paper says consumer groups are worried Germans will come up short and cites laywer Andreas Tilp - who counselled the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV) - as saying that the absence of class action lawsuits in Germany makes the situation especially difficult and costly.

Read the article in German here.



“RWE must end lignite chapter”

Utility RWE should swiftly shut down lignite power plants and close mines to evade big losses resulting from changes in the power sector due to the Energiewende, writes Angela Hennersdorf in the WirtschaftsWoche. In North Rhine-Westphalia, RWE would not be able to find a buyer for its lignite-fired power production like Vattenfall found in EPH last week, because it simply could not afford “a billion-euro dowry,” writes Hennersdorf. But, phasing out lignite power production in the state would be difficult in light of resistance by the Social Democrats government which feared job losses.

Read the article in German (behind paywall) here.

Find a CLEW factsheet on RWE’s plans for a new renewable subsidiary here.



“E.ON; bleak prospects everywhere”

Uniper’s CEO Klaus Schäfer will have a tough time trying to find investors for E.ON’s new natural gas and coal-fired power production subsidiary, writes Angela Hennersdorf in the WirtschaftsWoche. Uniper is expected to have to shoulder part of E.ON’s current debt, deal with low wholesale electricity prices resulting from the surge of renewables in Germany and has little cause for hope when it comes to its business abroad, adds Hennersdorf.



“23 April: Energy Dependency Day in Germany”

If Germany were to only use domestic energy sources, this year’s supply would end on 23 April, writes the German Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF) in a press release, calling for more efficiency. DENEFF compared the country’s energy needs (3.7 trillion kilowatt hours) with its purely domestic energy generation (1.1 trillion kilowatt hours), mostly from lignite and renewables and concluded that Germany depends on 70 percent energy imports. DENEFF Chairman Carsten Müller calls for more efficiency to lower energy consumption and claims this is the only way “a renewable energy system can stay affordable and keep Germany resilient to international crises.”

Read the press release in German here.


Carbon Pulse

“EU Market: EUAs at 11-week high on German power price surge”

A surge in German power prices led to an 11-week high of EU carbon prices, reports Mike Szabo on Carbon Pulse. The development followed recent record lows of German power prices due to reduced demand and a surge in renewables.

Read the article in English here.


Renewable Energies Agency / Prognos

“Energiewende demands more power for heating and transport”

Future peaks in electricity production from wind and solar power can be used to decarbonise the heating and transport sector, consultancy Prognos finds in a meta-analysis of 25 studies looking at flexibility in the new German power system, commissioned by the Renewable Energies Agency (AEE). By coupling the power, heating and transport sector, the whole energy system would become more flexible and would be able to cope more easily with fluctuating generation from renewables, the AEE said.

Read the analysis in German here.


AG Energiebilanzen

Status report on energy consumption 2015 published

Data researchers from AG Energiebilanzen have published their 2015 report on energy consumption in Germany in English. The report has been available in German since March 2016.

Download the report in English here.


On the Paris Agreement signing ceremony in New York

Der Tagesspiegel

“168 signatures for the climate”

Germany’s environment minister will today sign the Paris Agreement in New York – together with 167 other ministers and heads of state and government. The ceremony is above all symbolic because the agreement will only enter into force when 55 states, responsible for at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, have ratified the treaty, writes Dagmar Dehmer in Der Tagesspiegel. The US and China are taking a leading role again. They want to ratify the agreement this year. But the EU is faltering in its leading position on the fight against climate change – it doesn’t believe that it should raise its ambition because of Paris, Dehmer says. Europe might even see the treaty come into force before it has ratified it itself. The German government is currently preparing a Climate Action Plan 2050, to further its path toward decarbonisation.

Read a CLEW factsheet on the Climate Action Plan 2050 here.



“Government should present climate protection law”

In light of the Paris Agreement signing ceremony in New York today, the Green parliamentary group in the Bundestag put forward a motion demanding that the government create a law on Germany’s climate goals and include climate protection in the federal constitution. The act should codify annual targets for the sectors power generation, transport, building, industry and agriculture to create “planning security for investment and product decisions.” In addition, the Greens want to phase out coal over the coming 20 years and abolish the cap for the expansion of renewables.  

Find the text of the motion in German here.


European Commission

“EU calls for swift ratification”

The EU Commission calls for the swift ratification of the Paris Agreement. “Our signature […] sends also a clear signal that we are signing up to a fundamental and disruptive transition to a low-carbon economy and society. This transition is now irreversible and unstoppable,” said Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič in a press statement.

Read the press release in English here.


German Climate Consortium (DKK)

“Paris Agreement: Fine words? Sharp tools!”

“The agreement is not yet a breakthrough for climate protection,” said deputy director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) Ottmar Edenhofer in a commentary for the German Climate Consortium (DKK). Contrary to the goals laid out in the agreement, the global economy is currently on a “carbonisation-path” with many new coal-fired power plants under construction in countries like China, Vietnam and Turkey. Edenhofer calls for the restructuring of Europe’s emissions trading, as well as coordinated national minimum prices on CO2–emissions on a global level.

Read the commentary in German here.


Oxfam Germany

“Historical climate pact must not become paper tiger”

Oxfam Germany emphasised that while the signing of the agreement was an important symbolic act, the ratification by national parliaments should follow soon, so that the agreement could come into force. According to Oxfam’s climate expert Jan Kowalzig, the Paris deal had certain implications for Germany: “With the German signature on the agreement, the federal government commits to a phase-out of climate-killer coal. Anything else would be a negligent disregard of this agreement.”

Read the press release in German here.



“Climate does not wait – federal government must now implement Paris climate promise”

The non-profit environmental protection association Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) want the German government to set a concrete agenda. “A quick coal phase-out, no maximum ceiling for renewables growth and serious efforts regarding energy efficiency are key when implementing the goals of Paris,” DUH writes in a press release.

Find the press release in German here.


German Chemicals Industry Association (VCI)

No Climate Action Plan needed to reduce emissions from chemicals industry

“The German chemicals sector is supporting the Paris Agreement,” said chief executive of the German Chemicals Industry Association (VCI) Utz Tillmann in a press release. By participating in the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), industry would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 87 percent in 2050 compared to 2005, the VCI said. Additional national regulation, such as a Climate Action Plan 2050 was not necessary for the chemicals sector, the VCI said.

Read the press release in German here.



“Paris Climate Agreement starts to work”

Never before have so many national representatives gathered to sign an international treaty, says environmental NGO Germanwatch in a press release. “This makes the signing ceremony more than just a formality. The nations are showing how important the agreement is to them,” said Germanwatch chairman Klaus Milke.

Read the press release in German here.

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.
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