German Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz has unveiled a ten-point plan for a better Germany in his quest to unseat Chancellor Angela Merkel in the 24 September elections. The party’s goals include massive investment in infrastructure, including in fibre-optic connections for high-speed internet, renewable energies, research and development, schools and universities, hospitals and railways and roads. Schulz is calling for an active industrial policy and an “innovation alliance” for German industry that would help build battery cell production for electric vehicles and set up a digitisation fund to assist small and medium-sized enterprises. The candidate is also proposing policies on climate change protection.
Read Martin Schulz’s plan in German here.
The political debate on imposing a ban on diesel engines in German cities continues unabated after the state government in Baden-Württemberg was forced by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure to withdraw a clean air plan, Josef Kelnberger, Michael Bauchmüller, and Frank Müller write in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The state government had aimed to ban diesel cars from Stuttgart’s city centre, but the transport ministry blocked the plan, saying such a move would be unlawful as it would create a new low-emission zone. The ministry instead supports retrofitting older diesel cars in order to meet emissions limits for nitrogen oxide and fine particulate matter. Environmental Action Germany (DUH) is campaigning to ban all diesel cars from entering Stuttgart.
Find the article in German here.
Read about the German auto industry’s role in the energy transition here.
Production of natural gas is declining in Germany, and as corporate demand for an increase is becoming more marked, environmentalists fear fracking could become an accepted alternative, Thomas Strünkelnberg writes in Die Welt. Such fears persist despite the broad public acceptance of natural gas as an alternative fuel in home heating, and of the role of gas-fired power stations in the energy transition. People are especially worried about the potential effects of fracking on the environment. While there is a legal ban on commercial fracking in Germany, exceptions can be made for trial drillings as part of scientific research to explore environmental effects. According to critics, this legal clause could be a backdoor to unwanted fracking, the article says.
Read the article here.
International Council on Clean Transportation Europe
Mandatory CO2 standards for newly registered trucks and buses in the EU could reduce emissions by about one-quarter, a study conducted by the Berlin-based International Council on Clean Transportation Europe (ICCT) has found. The study argues that there is “sufficient technological potential” to quickly introduce a demanding regulation for such vehicles, which account for about 25 percent of all emissions in Europe’s transport sector. The EU is the only major vehicle market without such mandatory standards in place, the ICCT says.
Find the study in English here.
This year’s G20 summit was not a major step forward in solving the climate problem, yet it did not result in a major clash with US President Donald Trump either, Brigitte Knopf writes in the T20 blog, an initiative led by the German Development Institute (DIE) and the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW). The confrontation with Trump was more of “a diplomatic climate dance – taking one step back, one step to the side, and one step forward,” Knopf adds. “This presents an opportunity to continue with a climate tango from a new starting point in Argentina in 2018.”
Read the article here.