14 Dec 2015
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A 'terrific day for humanity' or just 'the lowest common denominator'?

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“For humanity”

The Paris treaty is a “terrific day for humanity” and spells out clearly that the fossil era is coming to an end, writes Michael Bauchmüller in a commentary for Süddeutsche Zeitung. “The plans for a faraway future will already have an impact today… the language of the Paris treaty is so clear, that the message to investors alone will lead to a fall in global greenhouse gas emissions.” Germany now has no other option than to make a reliable plan for a coal exit. The Paris agreement also made clear that other countries will follow the example of the German Energiewende, writes Bauchmüller.

Find the comment in German (behind paywall) here.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Lowest common denominator in Paris”

The treaty is nothing but the lowest common denominator and will not reduce emissions by a single tonne of CO2 in the short and medium term, writes Andreas Mihm in a commentary for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The problem is not a lack of ambition, but reliable mechanisms to make them become reality, according to Mihm. “The celebrations of Paris… will be followed by a massive hangover.” Mihm argues the treaty “is not enough to convince business that the age of coal, oil and gas will be over soon. But exactly this would be needed.” Mihm writes that extending emissions trading systems would help the climate more than the Paris treaty.

Read the commentary in German here.



“Germany must exit coal”

Germany must exit coal fast and without yielding to industry, argues Mathias Werth in a commentary in public broadcaster ARD. “It’s no longer a question of technology or energy balance, but only a problem of political will,” argues Werth. “It would be a disgrace for Germany not to make full use of this chance, to exit from coal and nuclear.”


Environment ministry

Germany sees boost for energy transition in the Paris long-term target

Given the Paris climate agreement, opponents of the Energiewende can no longer insist Germany was alone with its ambitious climate actions, Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said at a press conference in Berlin. She said the government was talking to all industry sectors and trade unions, to lay out a plan how Germany would pursue an exit from coal power production by 2050. The climate action plan 2050 is due to be decided by the government in summer 2016.
Germany's ambitions were backed up by the new long-term target of the Paris Agreement, that prescribe net-zero anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of the century, the minister said. Those emissions that couldn’t be reduced to zero, such as those from agriculture, would have to be offset by sinks such as forests and moorlands. Unavoidable industrial emissions, for example from steel production, could be reduced by using carbon capture and storage (CCS), the minister said. The target of balancing emissions with sinks would allow countries like Poland to offset coal emissions with CCS or afforestation, Hendricks said. “I cannot exclude CCS in other countries – from a climate perspective, it is a method of choice which has also been named by the IPCC as an option,” she said. But Germany’s aim was to transform the power sector completely to a system based on renewable energies.



“We manage the coal exit”

The Paris treaty in effect seals the global coal exit, writes Dagmar Dehmer in a commentary in Tagesspiegel. “The age of renewable energies has begun – everywhere.” Dehmer argues the agreement sends the decisive signal to investors the world over: “Your wealth will not grow if you invest it in coal, oil or gas.”

Read the commentary in German here.



“Two thirds of Germans expect larger commitment from Merkel for coal exit”

A large majority of Germans wants Chancellor Angela Merkel to increase her commitment to a coal exit, according to a representative survey by pollster Emnid for Greenpeace. Some 69 percent answered the following question with ‘yes’: “Should Merkel do more for a coal exit in Germany?” Among people who said they voted for Merkel’s conservative party CDU, 66 percent agreed, compared to 77 percent of supporters of the Social Democrats (SPD), according to a Greenpeace press release. The survey was conducted before the end of the Paris Climate summit.

Find details of the survey in German here.



“Freiburg leading Germany’s green energy revolution”

CBC correspondent Margaret Evans reports from Freiburg on the origins of the Energiewende. She interviews some early trailblazers of green energy and writes the renewable energy act made it “economically feasible for small energy producers to offset the higher costs of going green”. Evans says “there is no indication that Germany’s renewable industry is in retreat”.

Read the article in English here.

Find a CLEW dossier on the history of the Energiewende here.


Renewables International

“German government clamps down on renewables growth”

The government’s new paper for amending the renewable energy act (EEG) shows it plans to slow down the Energiewende, writes Craig Morris in Renewables International. “Wind power, which the transition needs the most, will suffer the most, especially on shore”, according to Morris. He explains Germany is already close to its 2020 renewable targets and, therefore, the government plans to rein in renewable growth. “A lot of offshore wind power is to be auctioned off by 2020 regardless of the share of electricity. The result will be a dramatically shrinking auction amount for onshore wind power.” Morris argues that the development shuts out German citizens and hands over the entire Energiewende to larger players. He warns that this puts the whole project in danger.

Read the article in English here.

Find the government’s position paper on the reforms here.


Federal Grid Agency

Private individuals and co-operations successful in PV tender

In Germany’s third round of tenders for large-scale solar arrays, private individuals and co-operatives were among the successful bidders for the first time. The Federal Grid Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) said it accepted 43 bids with a total capacity of 204 MW, out of a total of 127 bids with 562 MW. “The positive impression from the first two auctions has been confirmed: The competition again led to a lower price for the support of ground-mounted solar arrays,” said Jochen Homann, the agency’s president.

Find the press release in German here.

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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