VW cuts up to 23,000 German jobs / Putting jobs before the climate?

Volkswagen

VW to cut 23,000 jobs in Germany in shift towards e-mobility

Volkswagen is cutting up to 23,000 jobs in conventional areas in Germany in a bid to recover its financial stability and steer its production towards e-mobility, Germany’s largest carmaker announced at a press conference. VW’s “Pact for the Future” is supposed to “lay the foundations for a transformation from a car manufacturer to a successful mobility services provider in times of digitalisation and increasing e-mobility”, it said. VW, whose finances were heavily hit by compensation claims following the emissions fraud scandal, expects a positive impact on the global bottom line of about 3.7 billion euros by 2020. The company plans to invest 3.5 billion euros in Germany in the coming years to restructure the company. Contrary to earlier news reports, VW will build a “pilot plant” for battery cells and cell modules in Germany, not just an assembling factory, the company said.

Read the company’s press release in English here.

For more information on the impact of the emissions scandal on VW’s strategy, read the CLEW factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility.

 

Die Welt

“Are jobs more important than the climate?”

Job security should be valued higher than environmental protection, according to a motion for the federal party conference of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) in December, writes Thomas Vitzthum in Die Welt. The motion calls for an impact assessment for the German job market development before new environmental standards are introduced. “Until now, there is hardly any weighing of job losses and environment protection goals. We demand that this play a role in the discussions, and that some environmental standards are given up, if need be,” says motion author Karl-Josef Laumann, president of the Christian Democratic Employees' Association (CDA). CDA is the social wing of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Read the article in German here.

 

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Between the worlds”

Environment minister Barbara Hendricks receives respect abroad for Germany’s reputation as a defender of climate protection – but encounters problems at home when she tries to live up to that role, writes Michael Bauchmüller in an opinion piece for Süddeutsche Zeitung. This makes her a “minister between the worlds”, he adds. Economy minister Sigmar Gabriel – Hendricks’ fellow social-democrat – is giving her a particularly hard time as she tries to distinguish herself as an assertive environment minister, Bauchmüller writes. Gabriel almost embarrassed Hendricks by obstructing her efforts to come up with an ambitious Climate Action Plan but “she avoids open controversy” with her party leader, according to the author. It is the first time in Germany that the same party has led both the environment and economy ministries, leading to a situation in which “loyalty comes before comprehension” of the other’s political aims, he adds.

Read the article in German here.

Read more in the CLEW factsheet Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050.

 

FAZ Woche

Climate expert says economy minister bows to lobby

Ottmar Edenhofer, German economist and Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), accused federal economy minister Sigmar Gabriel of bowing to lobby interests in the negotiations about the country’s climate plan, writes FAZ Woche. “He yielded to lobbyists and sadly put short-term interests before long-term interests,” Edenhofer told the German weekly.

Read the article in German here.

 

Australian Financial Times

"Germany wrestles with brown coal headache"

Low carbon prices within the EU have helped coal power plants remain competitive, and put German emissions targets in danger, writes Angela Macdonald-Smith for Australian Financial Times. The “political argy-bargy” surrounding the approval of the government’s Climate Action Plan 2050 showed that Germany “hasn’t found the answer […] to the problem of brown coal”, writes Macdonald-Smith.

Read the article (behind paywall) in English here.

 

California Environmental Protection Agency

Germany and California vow to expand cooperation on climate protection

Germany and California have agreed to ramp up their cooperation and commitment to reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement and limiting the effects of global warming, the California Environmental Protection Agency said in a press release. Germany’s State Secretary for Environment Jochen Flasbarth and California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection Matthew Rodriguez discussed at the UN’s COP22 in Morocco “how solutions to climate change, like investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate smart technology, will help grow our economies and create jobs”. The secretaries also agreed on supporting the work of the Under2 Coalition on Subnational Global Climate Leadership, a “pact of 165 cities, states and countries” formed in 2015 by California and the German state of Baden-Württemberg “to mobilise bold climate action” around the globe.

Read the press release in English here.

 

Frankfurter Rundschau

“Unburden power price, start heating transition”

The renewable surcharge scheme in Germany’s renewable energy act (EEG) is increasingly slackening the Energiewende, writes Robert Busch, chairman of Germany’s Association of Energy Market Innovators (BNE), in a guest commentary for Frankfurter Rundschau. The surcharge that recently had been raised to 6.88 euro cents/kWh “is making it hard to expand the use of renewable energy to the heating sector”, Busch says. While sector coupling that makes renewable energy production available for the heating of buildings would be necessary to reduce Germany’s CO2-footprint, the high EEG surcharge renders renewables uncompetitive with regard to fossil fuels for heating, he argues. If fossil fuels were surtaxed according to their emissions, the EEG surcharge could fall as much as 50 percent, which could pave the way for effective sector coupling, Busch adds.

For more information on the EEG’s structure, see the CLEW dossier The reform of the Renewable Energy Act.

 

Agora Energiewende

“Energiewende: What do the new laws mean?”

German energy think tank Agora Energiewende* has published the English version of a paper that examines the implications of regulation reforms such as the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) and the power market reform. These will bring “fundamental changes” for large parts of the energy industry, but little changes for the economy and consumers, according to Agora Energiewende.

Find the background paper in English here.

Also read the CLEW article Ministry projections highlight risk of Germany missing emissions goal.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.  

 

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