Stuttgart diesel ban "unavoidable" - NGO / Flying e-taxi gets funding

Environmental Action Germany

Court ruling shows Stuttgart diesel ban “justified” and “unavoidable”, says NGO

German NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH) says a court ruling in Stuttgart on banning certain diesel models from entering the inner city showed the bans were “justified” and “unavoidable”. The group that originally filed the lawsuit said the ruling had to become effective by the beginning of 2018 at the latest. The court said that voluntary software updates for vehicles with manipulated emissions were inappropriate for protecting public health, warranting “immediate” action to reduce NOx levels in the city, the DUH said in a press release. DUH head Jürgen Resch called on Winfried Kretschmann, Green state premier of Baden-Wuerttemberg, to accept the ruling “for the sake of Stuttgart’s people”. Kretschmann told journalists on Monday his government would wait for the court’s statement before deciding whether to file an appeal.

Read the press release in German here and the court's statement in German here.

Get background in the CLEW article Merkel at second diesel summit: must avoid driving bans "by all means".

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Mining Union IG BCE calls for government commission on transport transition

Mining Union IG BCE, which represents many workers at car industry suppliers and is a fierce opponent of a quick coal exit, has called for a “future commission transport transition” shortly after the upcoming elections, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “We’re talking about investment decisions with massive consequences and hundreds of thousands of jobs,” said union head Michael Vassiliadis. “A modernisation effort of this magnitude requires a convincing strategy that provides orientation for decades.”
Vassiliadis warned of placing a single bet on electric cars because of carbon emissions in the power sector and an unsuitable power grid. Germany should stop “talking with gusto about how to exit key industries as quickly as possible without having alternatives,” he added.

Find background in the factsheet The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany.

 

Lilium / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Start-up Lilium secures 90 million dollars funding for electric air taxi project

Munich start-up Lilium has secured financing worth 90 million dollars from prominent funders to pursue its project of building an electric five-seat autonomous air taxi that takes off vertically. “This investment is a tremendously important step for Lilium as it enables us to make the five-seat jet a reality,” said CEO Daniel Wiegand in a statement. “This is the next stage in our rapid evolution from an idea to the production of a commercially successful aircraft that will revolutionise the way we travel in and around the world’s cities. It makes Lilium one of the best funded electric aircraft projects in the world.”
In a commentary on the news, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says the start up plans a transport revolution that is hard to imagine. “But you have to give engineers credit for pursing their dream. This is how innovation develops.”

Read the press release in English here.

Read the commentary in German here.

 

Handelsblatt Global Magazine

“Too close to the Sun”

The spectacular boom and bust of Germany’s solar industry provides a cautionary tale for state intervention in the name of clean energy, according to an article in Handelsblatt Global Magazine. While ordinary German consumers have been forced to pay higher energy bills, a handful of individuals like SolarWorld founder Frank Asbeck made a fortune. “In a final insult to commercial sense, it's clear that China was the greatest beneficiary of the subsidies regime,” according to the article.

See the CLEW article Last major German solar cell maker surrenders to Chinese competition.

 

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Immense efforts required to reach Germany’s climate targets

Germany needs to significantly step up its climate policies to reach the government target of reducing CO2 emissions by 55 percent by 2030, according to energy state secretary Rainer Baake. At an event in Munich, Baake singled out the transport sector for urgent action, reports Jan Schmidbauer in Süddeutsche Zeitung. Baake, who is a member of the Green party, said Germany should stop registering new combustion engine cars by 2030. “What is the alternative?” Baake asked. His suggestions showed that Germany faced immense efforts to reach its climate targets, writes Schmidbauer.

Read the article in German here.

Find background in the Factsheets Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets and Vote2017: German parties’ energy & climate policy positions.

 

NABU / Greenpeace / WWF / DNR

Environmental NGOs take stock: Merkel’s climate policy “lacks farsightedness”

German climate, transport and agricultural policy under Chancellor Angela Merkel has “lacked farsightedness” and needs rerouting by the next government, German environmental NGOs WWF, NABU, Greenpeace and DNR say in a joint press release. “Environmental challenges cannot be met with lip services,” the NGOs argued, calling for an implementation of Germany’s climate goals in the next legislative period to avoid a loss of trust in German policy. The NGOs said Germany had to initiate a coal exit and begin a transition in the transport and agriculture sector to meet the Paris Climate Agreement’s stipulations. “Germany needs an immediate action programme Climate Protection 2020 – with a coal exit at the centre,” WWF Germany board member Christoph Heinrich argued.

Find the press release in German here.

Find background in the Factsheets Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets and Vote2017: German parties’ energy & climate policy positions.

 

Tageszeitung (taz)

“Confrontation instead of consensus”

Germany’s political culture has ceased to vividly debate environmental challenges because “everybody has become green nowadays”, Bernhard Pötter writes in an op-ed for Tageszeitung (taz). “But the price for this is high,” he says, arguing that a consensus on a certain topic apparently means that it is no longer open for debate. Environmental achievements such as  Germany’s nuclear exit or the Paris Climate Agreement “simulate that we’re making progress” but tend to cause complacency and adaptation to ongoing environmental destruction, Pötter writes. A slogan of the anti-nuclear movement had been “Peacefully into the catastrophe” – “this warning is as up-to-date as anything”, he says.

Read the commentary in German here.

For background, see the CLEW factsheet Polls reveal citizens' support for Energiewende.

 

Der Tagesspiegel

“Why the search for a final nuclear repository will fail”

Germany’s new search for a final nuclear repository officially began yesterday with environment minister Barbara Hendricks insisting “mistakes of the past will not be repeated”, Paul Reimar writes in Der Tagesspiegel. But critics are convinced that the new approach “will lead into a cul-de-sac as well”, he adds. A premature commitment to finding an underground repository, political compromises instead of sound geological criteria, and insufficient involvement of affected communities will eventually derail the search, anti-nuclear organisation “ausgestrahlt” told the newspaper. Even the “utterly unrealistic” determination of a 2031 deadline was creating enough time pressure to cause “sloppy procedures and airy decisions”. Many residents living near the current, temporary repository Gorleben do not believe that the government is trying to find a new location as “billions have already been invested” in exploring the salt stock in northern Germany.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany's nuclear phase-out for background.

 

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