30 Aug 2018, 13:08
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann

Strict EU car emissions limits crucial for 2030 climate target- study

Clean Energy Wire

Germany can only reach its 2030 climate targets for the transport sector with ambitious EU car emission limits and a host of additional measures, according to a study by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) and the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). “Ambitious EU fleet emission limits are a precondition for Germany to reach its transport climate targets, but they are not sufficient,” said Christian Hochfeld, director of transport think tank Agora Verkehrswende*, which commissioned the study.
Germany is aiming to cut emissions in the transport sector by 40 to 42 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. But in a business-as-usual scenario, emissions will only fall by 11 percent, resulting in a 2030 gap of around 50 million tonnes of CO2, according to the study. “The government has ambitious transport targets, but it hasn’t yet proposed any measures for achieving them,” said Hochfeld. “The weaker the EU fleet emission limits, the larger the patchwork of measures needed on a national level.” To get anywhere near its targets for reducing CO2 emissions, Germany also needs a profound reform of taxes and levies in the transport sector, according to Hochfeld.

Find the study and a press release in German here.

For background, read the article German environment ministry pushes for tougher EU car emission rules, and the dossiers Cargo transport and the energy transition, The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector, and The Energiewende and German carmakers.

*Like Agora Energiewende and the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Verkehrswende is funded by the Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.  


In the row over the expansion of a lignite mine and the clearing of a nearby forest, German economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier said that “solutions can only be found through negotiations and talks, and not in public debates,” news agency Reuters reports. Altmaier said it was not easy to fulfil the wishes of environmental organisations and halt expansion works until the coal exit commission has finished negotiations, as RWE has a legal right to resume forest clearance at the site.

Find the article in German here.

See the CLEW article Logging row continues to weigh on coal commission’s work for background and CLEW’S Commission watch for constant updates on the body’s work.

Westdeutsche Zeitung

Germany’s environment minister Svenja Schulze has reiterated her opposition to the clearing of Hambach Forest for the expansion of a nearby lignite mine while the country’s coal exit commission discusses the end of the fossil fuel in Germany, the Westdeutsche Zeitung reports. Schulze responded to criticism by mining labour union IG BCE, which said the minister’s call for a moratorium was inappropriate as the commission’s task was to find long-term solutions for coal and not debate short-term business activities by energy companies. The minister said that it should be respected by everyone involved that the Hambach Forst had a symbolic meaning to many people – “we should take this serious and look for a way towards societal consensus,” Schulze told IG BCE head Michael Vassiliadis in a letter, the newspaper says.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article Logging row continues to weigh on coal commission’s work for background and CLEW’S Commission watch for constant updates on the body’s work.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The head of German energy company RWE’s workers’ council, Harald Louis, says activists in the embattled Hambach Forest who are trying to prevent the expansion of a nearby coal mine are “blackmailing” the company by using the country’s coal exit commission as a vehicle for their own particular agenda. In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Louis said the environmental organisations that threatened to leave the commission should the clearing of Hambach Forest proceed as planned are deliberately conflating the Hambach issue with a long-term coal exit and threatening the region’s energy supply. Louis said that while most anti-coal activists in the forest are protesting peacefully, a “hard core” of violent activists that are directly threatening RWE employees are spoiling it for everyone.

Read the interview in German here.

See the CLEW article Logging row continues to weigh on coal commission’s work for background and CLEW’S Commission watch for constant updates on the body’s work.


Exiting coal-fired power production will be the litmus test of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s climate policy record, write Bloomberg’s Brian Parkin and William Wilkes. “Merkel will want a credible end date for coal to burnish her reputation as a climate-change fighter,” the authors say.

Find the article in English here.

See the CLEW factsheet on Germany’s coal exit commission for more information.

Welt Online

German economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier will discuss options for closer cooperation with its neighbour Poland on battery cell production for electric cars, Welt Online reports. On a working trip to Poland next week, Altmaier will meet the Polish ministers for technology, Jadwiga Emilewicz, and energy, Krzysztof Tchorzewski, to talk about a joint project to advance e-car production in Europe. Germany has significantly increased the funding of battery research in its latest budget, but German car companies have so far been reluctant to invest in battery cell production. South Korea’s LG Chem, the global battery cell market leader, is set to open a factory in Poland in 2018, the article says.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW articles Chinese-German battery cell deal key step for mobility transition and Government advisors say Energiewende will only thrive in European framework for more information. 


Contrary to the German government’s promise to close the gap towards reaching the country’s 2020 climate target as much as possible and take steps towards reaching the 2030 target, it “is doing nothing," Malte Kreutzfeldt writes in an opinion piece in the Tageszeitung (taz). “The drought and heat wave this summer could have been a wake-up call that brought climate change back onto the agenda,” he says. But neither the additional renewables auctions promised in the coalition treaty nor additional funds for energy-efficient building modernisation have been delivered as of yet, he says. Meanwhile, the “central question” of ending coal-fired power production “has been outsourced to a commission” and another commission that is supposed to help make the transport sector more sustainable has not even been set up yet. “The only measure that would lead to immediate effects in the transport sector, namely tighter EU emission limits for new cars, are being actively blocked by the German government,” much like the EU Commission’s proposal for more ambitious European climate goals, Kreutzfeldt says.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

See the CLEW dossier The energy transition and climate change for more information.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Welt Online

Several German federal states have revamped their approach towards the energy transition and climate protection. In a joint initiative, the states of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate are calling for a reform of Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG) to speed up the expansion of wind power, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. Hesse’s Green economy minister, Tarek al-Wazir, and his fellow party member Ulrike Höfken, environment minister in Rhineland-Palatinate, called for additional wind power auctions to further increase the share of renewable energy sources in their states’ power mix. Al-Wazir said that despite protests against wind power in the state, the overwhelming majority of people in Hesse continue to support the expansion of renewable energy sources.
In a separate article on Welt Online, Green energy minister Claudia Dalbert from Saxony-Anhalt said the state had identified over 70 individual measures to reach its climate protection goals. These include more solar power panels on buildings, greater storage capacity, better use of industrial heat and the planting of more mixed forests.

Read the Welt article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet German federalism: In 16 states of mind over the Energiewende for background.

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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