23 Jul 2018, 14:42
Luke Sherman

State premier against too strict car CO2 limits/E.ON CEO talks climate

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The European Commission’s proposal on limiting average CO₂ emissions from new cars is already ambitious, and the German government should not push for even stricter limits, Stephan Weil (SPD), premier of carmaker Volkswagen’s home state of Lower Saxony, said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “I can only strongly warn against further tightening [the EU proposal],” said Weil. Environment minister Svenja Schulze is urging more ambitious limits at EU level. A transition to e-mobility will lead to a drop in employment in the auto industry, Weil said, adding that this structural change is inevitable. “However, if you set too high demands too fast and overwhelm the whole system, then you will see that larger parts of the industry end up in serious trouble. We absolutely must avoid that,” he said. While cars have become more efficient, emissions from the transport sector have hardly changed since 1990, also because the number of cars increased and they became bigger. “That must change,” said Weil.

Read the interview (behind paywall) in German here.

For background, read the factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility and the article German environment ministry pushes for tougher EU car emission rules.


Plans to open a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein could weaken arguments about the country's dependence on Russian gas - a key criticism of US President Donald Trump, Klaus Stratmann writes in the Handelsblatt. Supported by both federal and state officials, the terminal would be Germany’s first. “The federal government would very much like for an LNG terminal to be established in Germany,” Norbert Brackmann, Christian Democratic (CDU) member of parliament and the government’s coordinator for maritime economy, told Handelsblatt. US President Donald Trump criticised Chancellor Angela Merkel at the NATO summit earlier this month for Germany’s alleged over-dependence on Russia for natural gas. According to the Schleswig-Holstein government, investment in the project totals 450 million euros.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the news digest item Trump lashes out at Nord Stream 2, says Germany is “totally controlled” by Russia and the factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.


The industrialised world has created the problem of climate change and now must work to solve it, Johannes Teyssen, CEO of electric utility E.ON, writes in a guest commentary in the Handelsblatt. Mitigating global warming would not only improve the lives of the world’s poorest, it would also reduce migratory flows to Europe - a topic that currently dominates the political agenda, according to Teyssen. “If climate change were to be slowed down, migratory pressure in developing countries would be mitigated by a not-to-be-underestimated amount,” he writes.

Read the commentary in German here.

For background, read the factsheets Germany’s largest utilities at a glance and German utilities and the Energiewende.

Zeit Online

A coal exit in Cottbus, the largest city of one of Germany’s most important coal producing regions, is inevitable, writes Nick Reimer in Zeit Online. The municipal utility’s lignite power plant will be taken off the grid and replaced by a new gas-fired facility by 2022 at the latest. “Brown coal is politically and morally worn out,” Vlatko Knezevic, managing director of Cottbus’ public utility, says. Despite criticism from coal workers and pro-coal associations, Knezevic says that his job is “to avert damage for the city, the public utility, and its employees. Lignite is a major burden for the Cottbus utility; natural gas is more sustainable.”

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the factsheets Coal in Germany and When will Germany finally ditch coal?

World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF)

Germany needs to rapidly and decisively reduce its coal-fired power generation capacity by roughly 50 percent to meet its 2020 emissions reduction target, writes the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) in a letter addressed to economy minister Peter Altmaier. Since the launch of the coal exit commission in June, ten thousand German citizens have filled out postcards calling for Germany’s climate policy to be aligned with the Paris Agreement, according to WWF. Germany should introduce a minimum carbon price in the power sector, and ensure that it meets its 2030 renewable energy expansion goal by introducing special auctions “as soon as possible,” the WWF writes.

Read the letter in German here.

For background, read the factsheet on Germany’s coal exit commission here, running updates on the commission’s work here, and the article Energy minister rejects idea of changing fees and taxes on energy.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Germany’s energy transition is expensive and ineffective, writes economist Joachim Weimann of the University of Magdeburg in a guest commentary in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Despite high financial support for green energies and high electricity prices, CO2 emissions have hardly sunk. Between 2005 and 2016, energy-related carbon pollution fell by just 7.2 percent, while the feed-in tariffs cost electricity consumers 25 billion euros last year alone, according to Weimann. “Gigantic effort, ridiculously low returns – that is the reality of Germany’s climate policy,” he writes.

Read the commentary in German here.

For background, read the dossier Energiewende effects on power prices, costs and industry and the factsheet How much does Germany’s energy transition cost?

Clean Energy Wire

 Illustration - Mwelwa Musonko.

Our visiting cartoonist Mwelwa Musonko (@MwelxTax) marvels over Germans' diligence when it comes to saving energy - including at the office.

Find all of Mwelwa Musonko's cartoons on the Energiewende in the article Elephants and aliens - a cartoonist's take on the Energiewende.

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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