11 Jul 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

SPD frontrunner backs diesel / E-car optimism

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Martin Schulz, the Social Democrats’ (SPD) frontrunner for Germany’s 2017 federal elections, has suggested that the country’s carmakers should not fear a major attack on their diesel technology if he is elected Chancellor in September, Markus Mayr reports for Süddeutsche Zeitung. “The diesel engine will still be needed for some time to come,” Schulz said while visiting a factory of Audi, of which a former employee was recently arrested for allegedly helping to create emissions fraud software, Mayr writes. Schulz also said diesel bans in inner cities made no sense. This contradicted his fellow SPD politician Dieter Reiter, the mayor of Munich, who recently pondered such a ban to curb particulate matter pollution.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW dossier Vote2017 – German elections and the Energiewende for more information.

Environmental Action Germany

Consumer protection association Environmental Action Germany (DUH) has filed lawsuits against regulatory authorities in ten cities in order to withdraw roadworthiness of VW vehicles affected by the carmaker’s emissions fraud scandal, the association has said in a press release. Air pollution by nitrogen oxide (NO2) is constantly very high in the targeted cities, which include Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Stuttgart, the DUH says. DUH director Jürgen Resch said the association wanted to ensure that “air quality in these cities no longer suffers from the use of fraud-diesel cars from the Volkswagen-group”.

Read the press release in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

German prosecutors have expanded their investigations over diesel emissions fraud to sports car manufacturer Porsche, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. The luxury brand subsidiary of Germany’s largest carmaker VW has so far not been in the focus of the scandal that broke in late 2015. But prosecutors have now formally announced “an initial suspicion” that Porsche could be guilty of fraud and illicit advertising, the article says. Porsche said it took the investigations “very seriously” and would do “anything” for a comprehensive clarification of the allegations. Porsche has not used diesel engines in its cars for many years but started buying them from fellow VW subsidiary Audi for use in the successful SUV model Porsche Cayenne, the article says.

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

pv magazine

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in May that her government was probably going to miss its goal of putting one million e-cars on the road by 2020 - but now the mood seems to have changed, Peter Hannen writes in pv magazine. In a response to a parliamentary inquiry by the Green Party, the government said a support programme started last year was going to “significantly speed up the market penetration of e-cars”, although gauging the exact magnitude was difficult. However, the government still had the goal to get “as many e-cars as possible” on the road by 2020. The international trend towards e-mobility was going to aid the government’s intentions, it added, saying that the exact time was less important than a “dynamic” transformation process.

Read the article in German here.

Find background in the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.


The German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) will present a proposal to put a tax on the use of fossil fuels in power generation, which would complement the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), writes Klaus Stratmann in Handelsblatt. A study by consultancy Energy Brainpool, commissioned by BEE, showed that a tax of 20 euros per tonne of CO₂ would lower the renewables surcharge (EEG-surcharge) and result in “considerable additional emission reductions”, because coal-fired power production would decrease, writes Stratmann.

Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW factsheet Germany ponders how to finance renewables expansion in the future.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The fact that climate protection has been one of the most discussed topics at the G20 summit in Hamburg is “one of the paradoxical achievements of Donald Trump”, Michael Bauchmüller writes in an opinion piece for Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Alas, the climate won’t be saved by talking about it,” he says. The climate and energy action plan agreed on in Hamburg “essentially is a derivation of the Paris accord” for climate protection made in 2015, Bauchmüller argues. G20 members like Germany, China, Australia, Russia, Canada, Indonesia or South Africa continue to use and produce coal unchecked, he adds. US President Trump has “already shifted the balance” so gravely that a simple “commitment to a matter of course”, namely the majority of the G20’s affirmation to eventually act on the Paris Climate Agreement, “is seen as remarkable”, he says.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

See the CLEW dossier G20 2017 – Climate and energy at the Hamburg summit for background.

Handelsblatt Global

The financial sector must quickly incorporate risks and opportunities arising from the global move to a low-carbon economy into their strategies, write German and French central bankers Andreas Dombret and Anne Le Lorier in a guest article for Handelsblatt Global. This presented a challenge, as “firstly, it concerns a long-term development whose outcome remains uncertain. Secondly, historical data is of little use in projections. And thirdly, the whole process is politically influenced to a high degree, adding still greater uncertainty”, write Dombret and Le Lorier.

Read the guest article (behind paywall) in English here.


Ilse Aigner, economy minister of Germany’s biggest state Bavaria, aims to make lowering power prices a key topic in the coalition negotiations after the general elections in September, reports news agency dpa. She demands a reform of Germany’s renewables support system. Should the CSU [Christian Social Union] be part of the coalition talks – which I hope – we will enter the negotiations with concrete demands for predictable and affordable power prices,” said Aigner. She plans to present a report on the system reform before the summer break, writes dpa. The CSU is the Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel’s CDU.

Read the article in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW factsheet Germany ponders how to finance renewables expansion in the future and the dossier Vote2017 - German elections and the Energiewende.

Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS)

The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), with the support of the federal economy ministry (BMWi), will invest about 18 million euros in a research project on possible effects on human health by power lines, BfS said in a press release. “So far, there is no proof of a connection between power lines and health burdens. But we don’t rest on these findings because there are individual scientific indications regarding health effects,” said Inge Paulini, director of BfS.

Read the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.

The German government will support several research projects on sustainable city development with 100 million euros over the coming five years, the federal economy and research ministries say in a press release. “Six flagship projects are to show how energy supply can be decreased, the intelligent linking of power, heating and mobility can become a success and renewable energies can be integrated into the energy supply in districts,” said state secretary in the economy ministry Rainer Baake.

Read the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier Cities, municipalities, and the Energiewende.

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