07 Aug 2017, 00:00
Julian Wettengel

Transport biggest contributor to emissions rise / Cities want e-buses

With an increase of almost 5 million tonnes of CO₂ emissions, the transport sector contributed most to the rise of German energy-related CO₂ emissions in the first half of 2017, compared to the same period last year, according to think tanks Agora Energiewende and Agora Verkehrswende [CLEW reported]. Higher use of petrol, diesel and kerosene led to an increase of emissions from oil of 4.6 million tonnes CO₂. “Germany won’t be able to reach its ambitious climate targets if a comprehensives transport transition is not a focus in the next legislative period,” said Christian Hochfeld, head of Agora Verkehrswende.

Development of greenhouse gas emissions in Germany by sector 1990-2016. Source of graph - Agora Energiewende 2017.

Read the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheets Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets and Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts, and the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.

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

Der Spiegel

The public transport companies of several large German cities have formed an initiative to increase pressure on the auto industry to accelerate the development of electric buses, reports Ann-Kathrin Nezik in Der Spiegel. Carmakers had to prove that they are able to supply e-buses ready for series production, said Henrik Falk, head of the Hamburger Hochbahn. “The market exists,” he added. Until now, public bus transport relies almost entirely on diesel vehicles, and there are only few pilot tests for alternative drives, writes Nezik.

Read an online version of the article in German here.

The American Interest

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the “de facto leader of the global green caucus” after US President Donald Trump decided to pull out of the Paris Agreement, writes Jamie Horgan in a blog article for The American Interest. But with the nuclear phase-out and an intensive use of coal for power production, German emissions rose last year, while US emissions fell three percent. “Words matter, but so do numbers, and the data tells us that lately — whatever Trump is trumpeting — the United States is doing more to combat climate change than Germany,” writes Horgan.

Read the article in English here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and climate change.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

It is surprising that climate protection is not a big election campaign topic in Germany, writes Andreas Mihm in an opinion piece for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The government will not be able to avoid “harsh interventions with expensive repercussions” if it is serious about its climate targets, he adds. In addition, the US government’s formal notification to the United Nations that it intends to leave the Paris Agreement shows that things are far from being decided regarding global climate protection, writes Mihm.

Read the opinion piece in German here.


Germany is not the “poster child” it likes to portray itself as, writes Ursula Weidenfeld in an opinion piece in Tagesspiegel. She points to the German government’s Nord Stream 2 policy, years of electricity loop flows through neighbouring countries, and the country’s acceptance of French nuclear power on days with little wind or sunshine. Germany puts national interests first instead of developing a joint EU energy policy, writes Weidenfeld.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

For background, see the News Digest entries Germany and Austria say US sanction plans against Russia threaten Europe’s energy security and Merkel calls US gas sanctions against Russia “irregular behaviour”, and the CLEW factsheet Loop flows: Why is wind power from northern Germany putting east European grids under pressure?

dpa / Aachener Zeitung

The oppositional Social Democrats (SPD) in North Rhine-Westphalia say that the restrictive wind power policy of the new CDU-FDP government coalition endangers 18,000 jobs in the state, reports news agency dpa in an article carried by Aachener Zeitung. The coalition wants to “fully pull the plug on the Energiewende”, said Michael Hübner, deputy chairman of the SPD state parliamentary group. In their coalition agreement, the parties had decided larger distances between wind turbines and residential areas, reducing the available space for wind power production in the state by 80 percent, writes dpa.

Read the article in German here.

Find background on the election in NRW here and key points of the coalition treaty here. For more information on German federal elections and the Energiewende, see this CLEW dossier.  

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Andreas Mihm takes a closer look at NordLink, a direct power connection between Norway and Germany for the exchange of Norwegian hydropower and German wind energy, in a long article in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The more the Energiewende was discussed in Germany, and the shut-down of coal power plants in all of Europe, the more the image of Norway as the ecologically flawless “battery of Europe” came up, writes Mihm.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Software updates for diesel cars, decided at the diesel summit in Berlin, are unlikely to reduce emissions enough and prevent driving bans, writes Christian Lindner, head of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in a guest commentary in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Planned economy measures such as e-car quotas would also be the wrong approach as they are expensive and inhibit progress. “We have to support researchers and carmakers in developing the mobility of tomorrow in a technology-open way,” writes Lindner. Expectations for the industry were justifiably high. “At the same time we should give all those that build the future the chance to do just that,” writes Lindner.

For more on the summit’s outcome, read the CLEW articles German carmakers pledge diesel software updates and buyer’s bonus and "Win for car industry" - First reactions to German diesel summit.

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.
« previous news next news »


Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

+49 30 62858 497

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee