German energy companies E.ON, RWE and EnBW are expecting billions of euros in tax refunds after the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that a nuclear fuel tax law was unconstitutional.
For background read the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.
Deutschlandfunk’s Theo Geers blames the government, and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in particular, for the Constitutional Court ruling over the nuclear fuel tax. “Clumsy errors mean champagne corks were flying in the executive boardrooms of E.ON, RWE and EnBW,” Geers writes. “The state could have invested the roughly 7 billion euros elsewhere, and above all better. Now the money is gone and the damage to the treasury is not recoverable. It is not just a financial, but also a political disaster.”
Writing a commentary in Die Welt, Daniel Wetzel takes aim at German politicians’ calls to prevent the 6.3 billion-euro nuclear fuel tax refund to energy companies. Katja Kipling, co-chair of the Left party has called on the government to redirect the companies’ tax reimbursement into the country’s nuclear waste disposal fund, for example, while Carsten Schneider, deputy chair of the SPD parliamentary group, said the nuclear industry had to "make its financial contribution in a different way”, Wetzel reports, arguing that the court ruling must be upheld.
Read the Die Welt commentary in German here.
Volkswagen’s diesel engines are still emitting nitrogen oxide above legal limit, even after being recalled and upgraded, Gerald Traufetter writes for Spiegel Online, citing a report by ZDF. In the wake of the VW emission scandal, German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt agreed to VW’s offer to provide affected cars in Germany with a software upgrade at a cost of 100 euros per vehicle, which appears to have actually exacerbated the problem. The new software features defeat devices that lead to higher nitrogen oxide emissions on the road than in test situations.
Read the Spiegel Online in German article here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt told the Passauer Neue Presse that Germany will have the word’s most modern transport system by 2025, with electric vehicles and automated buses playing a key role, FAZ reports. “In order to further improve air quality in metropolitan areas, we do not need to ban cars, but rather electrify those vehicles that are intensively on the road every day in the inner city,” Dobrindt said.
Read the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung article in German here.
Read a CLEW article on innovation in German transport systems here.
German energy group Uniper, formed last year from the fossil fuel assets of E.ON, achieved all its financial targets in 2016, CEO Klaus Schäfer said at the company’s first annual shareholders meeting in Essen on Thursday. Uniper posted an adjusted pre-tax profit of 1.4 billion euros, up from 800 million euros in 2015, and expects a pre-tax profit of between 900 million euros and 1.2 billion for the 2017 financial year. Net profit in the first quarter of 2017 reached 733 million euros, up from 652 million in the prior-year period. “Uniper is on a good course,” Schäfer added.
Read Uniper’s press release in English here
In a joint press release, regional branches of the German Wind Energy Association (BWE), the Industrial Union of Metalworkers (IG Metall) and the German Trade Union Association (DGB) have called on the future Schleswig-Holstein government “to continue to position the state as a pioneer of the energy transition.” In a press release, they said the wind power sector was the basis of sustainable industry policy in the state, and called on legislators to promote citizen participation and advocate for abolishing federal wind power expansion caps. Coalition talks in Schleswig-Holstein are ongoing.
Read the press release in German here.
For background read the CLEW article Wind power course at stake in election in "cradle of Energiewende" and the CLEW dossier Vote2017 - German elections and the Energiewende.
German pension institutions aren’t taking account climate risks in their investment strategies, according to a survey commissioned by WWF Germany. “This can have serious consequences,” Matthias Kopp, director of sustainable finance at WWF Germany, said in a press release. “If, for example, the institutions continue to put their customers’ money into coal businesses while the world economy orients itself more and more climate-friendly and turns its back on fossil fuels, this could mean tremendous loss of value,” Only 41 of 351 institutions contacted replied to the survey.
Read the press release in German here.
"Designing the world's future" was the topic of this year’s Youth20 Dialogue Forum in Hamburg, where young people from more than 20 countries met to discuss global issues including climate change. The forum presented recommendations to Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday, demanding compliance with the Paris Climate Protection Agreement. Merkel expressed support for a review of international climate protection targets, but added that unfortunately, not all countries were ready to participate.
Read additional information about the Youth20 Dialogue Forum here.