25 Nov 2015
Sören Amelang

Study says banks put billions into lignite / A "deceptive" CO2 balance

Spiegel Online/Urgewald

“German banks still put billions into brown coal”

A study by environmental NGO Urgewald shows that German banks continue to finance climate-damaging brown coal, reports Spiegel Online. Deutsche Bank alone has invested about 3.3 billion euros in the European lignite industry, and Commerzbank around 3.1 billion euros. Utility RWE is the largest lignite client in both cases, says the study. German banks have in total invested 8.7 billion euros in brown coal, according to Urgewald. The NGO appeals to the banks to change course, because, despite high hopes for the Paris summit, politics alone cannot achieve the phase-out of fossil energies, reports Spiegel Online.

Read the article in German here.

Find the Urgewald study in German here.


Süddeutsche Zeitung

“A beautiful symbol”

The announcement by German insurance company Allianz that it will no longer invest in companies that get more than 30 percent of their revenue from coal mining or generate over 30 percent of their energy from coal is an important move before the Paris climate summit, writes Michael Bauchmüller in a commentary for Süddeutsche Zeitung. But he says it is only a symbolic boost for the climate because other investors will buy Allianz’s fossil shares and push for a continuation of this dirty business model. “To phase it out in spite of this, concrete political decisions are required – also at the climate summit beginning on Monday in Paris.”

Find the commentary in German here.

Read yesterday’s News Digest for an entry on Allianz’s announcement here.



“Wrestling over reforms” / “Germany’s deceptive CO2 balance”

German industry observes the pending reform of the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) with anxiety, reports Klaus Stratmann in Handelsblatt. Companies fear the EU proposals will increase costs for climate protection substantially, damaging competitiveness. The companies hope economics minister Sigmar Gabriel will avoid the worst at the upcoming negotiations in Brussels, but he has an adversary within the government – environment minister Barbara Hendricks. She says she can’t understand “industry’s moaning”, because companies have enough certificates, writes Stratmann.

In a separate article in the same paper, Stratmann writes that Germany’s climate ambitions come at a high cost, because part of domestic CO2 cuts are purely down to the relocation of production abroad. “The CO2 emissions are only exported, for example to countries like China.” A study by ewi Energy Research & Scenarios shows that aluminium imported into Germany alone accounts for CO2 emissions of 4.5 million tonnes per year, writes Stratmann.

Read the article in German (behind paywall) here.



“Drop in gas prices does not reach all consumers”

Only just over half of more than 700 gas suppliers have lowered household prices or announced a price cut for the new year despite the falling cost of gas, according to price comparison website Verivox. Wholesale prices on spot markets fell by 17 percent year-on-year but household prices only decreased 2.7 percent on average. Verivox says the rapid increase in costs for gas grids often counteracts the effect of falling gas prices.

Read the Verivox press release in German here.



“First results of Delphi Energy Future 2040”

A majority of 350 energy experts from more than 40 countries believes that the international community will have agreed on binding targets for reducing CO2 emissions by 2040 and will also put them into practice, according to a survey by utility association BDEW, development agency giz, and consultancy PwC. Some 80 percent of participants believe renewable energies will be the cheapest alternative for electricity production by then. The experts also agree that Europe will build a harmonised energy policy and an effective domestic energy market in the coming two decades, according to a BDEW press release.

Read the BDEW press release in German here.


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