24 May 2017
Sven Egenter Julian Wettengel

SPD less ambitious on CO₂ floor price / "Action plan without action"

SPD / Clean Energy Wire

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) has toned down its ambition regarding the introduction of a carbon floor price in its proposal for a party programme, to be decided at a federal party conference on 25 June. The party, which currently governs together with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU but trails the conservatives in the polls for the upcoming elections, maintains that it wants to develop a national climate protection law. “We will continue to develop European emissions trading so it can fulfil its function as the key instrument to protect the climate. Should this be impossible to achieve, we will start negotiations to agree minimum prices for CO₂ on a European level," the paper says. A first draft stated the introduction of a minimum price as a goal. Other key provisions on energy and climate policy were left largely unchanged and include:

  • Develop national Climate Protection Law in dialogue with all relevant sectors; based on technology neutrality and openness towards innovation
  • Examine all subsidies and taxes for the effects on the climate
  • Want to examine alternative ways to finance the Energiewende
  • “Will make Germany the most energy efficient economy in the world”
  • Energiewende: energy must be environmentally friendly, affordable, and the supply secured (all equally important)
  • Push sector coupling
  • Secure competitiveness of German industry during energy transition
  • Prevent carbon leakage / take into account different competition conditions regarding climate protection
  • Fossil fuels necessary for way to successful and complete energy transition / natural gas becomes more important
  • Uphold ban of unconventional fracking
  • Push other countries to exit nuclear power generation / promote removal of EU support for construction of new nuclear power plants
  • Promote e-mobility “for climate and industry policy reasons” / push for ambitious EU passenger car emissions limits

Find the paper in German here.

For background on the federal elections read the CLEW dossier Vote2017 - German elections and the Energiewende.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s advice for other countries to invest now in climate friendly technologies proves a “boomerang“, because her own government has too often been content with the status quo, writes Michael Bauchmüller in an opinion piece for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Structural changes were often hard but the necessary transformation will become harder if politicians put it off.

Find the opinion piece in German here.

Taz/Clean Energy Wire

The proposal for a G20 energy and climate action plan, prepared for the summit in Hamburg on 7 and 8 July, remains vague and lacks ambition - and might yet be stopped completely by the United States, the tageszeitung (taz) newspaper writes. The 13-page proposal, also seen by the Clean Energy Wire, refers to the Paris Climate Agreement, promises more money, and calls for rapid reduction of emissions. But there is no mention of decarbonisation or a carbon price. Compared to the first version put forward by the German presidency, there is no reference to “human induced” with regards to climate change, and the timetable of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century has also been dropped. The whole paper carries the disclaimer in form of a footnote: “The United States is currently in the process of reviewing many of its policies related to climate change and continues to reserve its position on this document and its contents.”

Read the taz article in German here and find more background on the G20 process in the Clean Energy Wire story on Germany’s call on the United States to stick to the climate agreement.

Clean Energy Wire

This week's G7 summit in Italy comes “at the right moment" to talk about the Paris Climate Agreement with the US administration, but it will be a “continuous dialogue” in a long process until the G20 summit in Germany in July, said a German government official. The discussion within the G7 forum was "extremely important" - also because it was the first G7 for four of the leaders - but there is little hope that the US administration will decide anything in the run up to or at the G7 summit in Italy, according to the official.

For background read the CLEW article Merkel vows to convince climate sceptic “elephant in the room” and the CLEW factsheet The story of "Climate Chancellor" Angela Merkel.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The German car industry and transport sector receive hundreds of billions of euros in state support through different systems, writes Manfred Schäfers in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Diesel is taxed at a lower rate than petrol, meaning the government missed out on 254 billion euros in taxes from 1990 until 2015, according to a government reply to a parliamentary inquiry by the Green Party. Other examples include almost 1 billion euros in support to German carmakers for research and development from 2007 to 2017, or the sale of 15,000 cars by Volkswagen to the government since 2007, writes Schäfers.

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


Renewable energy employed about 334,000 people in Germany in 2016, making the country the European leader, according to the report “Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017” by International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). China, Brazil, the United States, India, Japan and Germany accounted for most of the renewable energy jobs worldwide. The shift to Asia continued, with 62 percent of the global total located in the continent, says IRENA.

Find the full report in English here.

For background read the CLEW dossier The energy transition's effect on jobs and business.

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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