U-turn on 2020 climate targets "fatal signal," but "no surprise"
In an opinion piece for Süddeutsche Zeitung, Michael Bauchmüller asks if Chancellor Angela Merkel can be trusted, after the parties in exploratory talks to form a new grand coalition government dropped Germany’s 2020 climate target. The outgoing coalition government between conservative CDU/CSU and centre-left SPD failed on climate protection, Bauchmüller writes. Despite various action plans and the expansion of renewable power generation, emissions barely budged. They now stand at just 27 pecent below 1990s levels, well short of the 2020 goal of 40 percent reduction. Bauchmüller says tougher measures are needed: either the decommissioning of coal-fired power stations or a higher price on CO2 emissions. But both parties have lost credibility on climate policy, he writes.
See the article in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Writing for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Jasper von Altenbockum says the prospective government has made unexpectedly short work of climate protection policy. Where the CDU/CSU, FDP and Greens haggled over fossil fuels for weeks, the conservatives and SPD have quickly swept away campaign promises by doing away with the "unrealistic" 2020 climate target, he writes. Von Altenbockum says the SPD would have liked to put up more of a show of having backed down on the targets only after a struggle. The FDP meanwhile, must be irritated that policy they fought so long over has been so easily conceded – but are also vindicated by proof that the "Jamaica" talks were geared towards satisfying the Greens.
See CLEW's report on the development here.
In an interview with taz, Agora Energiewende* director Patrick Graichen says he expected the prospective government to abandon Germany’s 2020 climate targets. "Saving 150 million tonnes of CO2 within two years is clearly urealistic unless you want to resort to very drastic measures," Graichen told the taz. He goes on to say that putting things off until the 2030 target does raise the risk of a decade of inaction, and that a serious package of measures is needed to ensure this next goal is met. But he says the parties’ exploratory paper gives grounds for cautious optimism on the issue of coal, with the 2030 renewable energy target boosted to 65 percent of the country’s power consumption by 2030. Although the paper does not mention a CO2 tax, Graichen says this discussion is far from over, with pressure coming from Europe, and French President Emmanuel Macron in particular.
See the interview in German here.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.
Speaking to Die Welt, Claudia Kemfert, climate policy expert at the German Institute for Economic Research, says the prospective coalition partners’ giving up on “their own climate targets” is a “declaration of bankruptcy”. This not only damages Chancellor Angela Merkel’s credibility, but also that of the entire country as a climate pioneer, Kemfert told the paper. There is no possibility of reversing the energy transition, she says, but it will take longer, be more expensive and less efficient. The longer we do nothing, the harder it will be to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, she says.
See the interview in German here.
Find a recent CLEW interview with Kemfert on Germany's 2018 Energiewende policies here.
Environmental Action Germany
NGO Environmental Action Germany is launching a campaign to supplement what it says is inadequate air pollution testing by the government. A new web portal will allow citizens to report locations with high traffic pollution. DUH will then use a network of volunteers to gather emissions data at 500 selected locations, with results expected in March this year. "Four times as many people in Germany die from the diesel toxin NO2 as from traffic accidents,” DUH head Jürgen Resch says in a press release. “With our hands-on campaign we want to give citizens who are suffering from diesel exhaust fumes a voice aside from the far-too incomplete official monitoring network.”
See the press release in German here.
The German Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has announced that over 90 percent of projects approved for the third round of bidding for ground-based photovoltaic plants have been built. Of the 40 winning tenders, four missed deadlines to file their applications. Jochen Homann, head of the agency, said the “high implementation rate” showed the auction system was working and bidders had put forward realistic prices for the construction and operation of their facilities.
See the press release here.
See the CLEW article Auctions bring German solar power price to new record low for more information.