Germany Extreme Weather Event

Severe Storm Egon

The storm named Egon in 2017 was one of the strongest storms to hit Germany in recent memory. Storm Egon built up over the Atlantic Ocean on the 10th and 11th of January 2017 due to large horizontal differences in air pressure of 850hPa. As a result, the storm was characterized by strong violent winds that travelled at a speed of 315 km/h from Greenland to Scotland to Germany. The storm reached its peak on January 13th, 2017 over west and north Germany. That day, Fichtelberg in the Erzgebirge recorded the strongest wind gust at a speed of 150 km/h. The wind blew across Luxembourg, Saarland, southern Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse, north of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, and southern parts of Thuringia and Saxony.

The storm left behind considerable damage that was way beyond damages caused by other oceanic storms in the past. The strong winds uprooted over 80 trees in Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Hesse, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Thuringia and Bavaria causing train accidents, road traffic and injury of people. In the middle and lower regions of Saarland, buildings and cars were damaged and power lines fell causing power outages to thousands of households. In Hessen, Thuringia, Lower Saxony and Bavaria, road closures and heavy traffic caused by snowdrifts obstructed more than 30 roads. In Bavaria and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, some of the villages became inaccessible and were temporarily cut-off from the rest of the surrounding areas. Schools in some of the states were closed and passengers at the airport in Hesse (Hahn and Frankfurt) and Saxony (Dresden, Leipzig) were delayed. About 125 flight departures and landings were cancelled. The storm adversely affected the transport sector and many train tracks were temporarily obstructed. In total, about 13 traffic accidents occurred and the conditions in the Westerwaldkreis and Rhineland-Palatinate were in particular chaotic with a lot of trucks stuck in snowdrifts.

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Germany Media Organizations

Broadcast Media

Tagesschau ( is a German media outfit that broadcasts national and international news. Tagesschau is made up of:
• a TV station known as Das Erste (
• a radio station – radio ARD  (, and
• ARD Mediathek ( which is produced as a redaction of ARD-aktuell on behalf of the German public-service television network, ARD.

ARD-aktuell is responsible for the content of “Tagesschau”, “Tagesthemen” and “Nachtmagazin”.
Of interest to those concerned with climate, is the ARD Mediathek, an ARD media library of audio and video documentaries on different aspects of this issue. In regard to climate change, we see for instance, an interview accompanied by short film breaks, by Birgit Klaus and Dennis Wilms with Carl.A. Fechner on “the ecological price of energy.” Fechner is a film and documentary producer of the Energiewende and sustainable energy in Germany and in the interview he tries to answer the question, “What ecological price do we have to pay for our energy supply, and which problems could be avoided?”

Further, a documentary that can be translated into English as, “We make climate ourselves,” is also available. It starts with analyzing the effects of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines that was one of the most destructive tropical cyclones on record having killed 6,300 people in the Philippines alone. Also, it shows the Philippines chief climate negotiator, Yeb Sano, reading his speech amidst tears at COP19 in Warsaw, Poland where he calls for speedy action to curb the impacts of climate change. Later in the video we see Sano’s journey to making a difference that starts after the producer asks the question, “What have we changed since COP19?,” and he answers, “NOTHING”.  The film goes further to cover Sano’s attempts to make the world hear the voice of the Philippines. Sano says he feels sorry for those who do not still believe that the climate has changed. The film also shows the impact of global warming in Germany on the fruit growing sector, especially the effect of strong heat on apples that has reduced their production. The documentary also highlights the impact of climate change on Yam production in Ghana. This documentary tells us that no matter what goals the politicians have achieved at the World Climate Conference in Paris, man has long changed the climate and the first signs of climate change are facing people all over the world, thus it’s time to act.

Content Samples:
Watch more: selbst/ONE/Video?bcastId=13980890&documentId=40404800

Contact:, E-Mail:,
Chief Editor: Christiane Krogmann, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Anstalt des öffentlichen Rechts, Hugh-Greene-Weg 1, 22529 Hamburg, Ust-Ident-Nummer: DE 1185 09 776; Tel: 040 / 4156-0

Print Media

Die Welt is a leading newspaper company in Germany that reports on latest news ranging from politics, economics, finance, sports, culture, science, literature, travel, style and provides an online archive that is freely searchable. On science, there are different national and international articles on climate change from scientific and political perspectives. They particularly address implementation of the Paris agreement. For example, die Welt newspaper provides an article on one of the expected achievements of the Energiewende project where renewable energy from wind and solar power are expected to meet the electricity needs of Germany for many hours at a time.

Content Samples:

Contact: Editor, Tel:  +49 (0) 30 2591 – 0
Die Welt CEO:  Dr. Stephanie Caspar und Dr. Torsten Rossmann Axel-Springer-Straße 65 , D – 10969 Berlin.  Die WeltN24 GmbH is a company of Axel Springer SE.

Online Media

The Clean Energy Wire (CLEW) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan service for journalists and the interested public that is committed to provide and support quality journalism about energy transition in Germany. The Clean Wire URL provides news, dossiers, workshops, events, and resources such as experts, factsheets and libraries about the energy sector in Germany. Of particular interest is the article titled, “How can Germany keep the lights on in a renewable energy future?” In it, the Energiewende opponents argue that Germany will face unavoidable power shortages while proponents point out a number of alternative options to avoid such failure. Currently, a third of Germany’s electricity demand is met by renewable energy.

Also in the news digest is an article titled: “Germany must cut coal capacity in half by 2030 – gvt official.” This piece is about the talk that Rainer Baake, the state secretary in the economy and energy ministry, gave to a business conference in the run-up to Germany’s largest energy trade-fair, E-world in Essen. In his talk, Baake describes one goal of Germany’s climate action plan which is to cut their use of coal in half by 2030.

Content Samples:

Contact: Clean Energy Wire CLEW, Anna-Louisa-Karsch-Str. 2, 10178 Berlin, Germany; Email: , Tel: +49 30 700 1435 212

Germany Subnational Best Practices


Thüringen—Thüringen is a state of some 2.2 million people located in central-east Germany. In 2012, the state produced 30% of its energy using renewable sources, and is aiming to increase this figure up to 5% by 2020. To do so it has largely scaled up its use of wind energy, with 25,000 operating wind energy installations in 2014. Consequently, in 2013, Thüringen had the lowest state GHG emissions per capita in Germany, representing 4.8 Mt CO2 per inhabitant. This is especially low when compared to Brandenburg, whose state emissions per capita–23.4 Mt CO2–were the highest in Germany.

State Representative Günter Kolodziej
Tel: +49 (361) 3792-400
Mobile: +49 (152) 23097247

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Freiburg—Freiburg is a city in the South-west of Baden-Württemberg with some 220,000 inhabitants. Following the events of the Chernobyl disaster, Freiburg citizens were among the first to protest the production and use of nuclear power in Germany, ultimately leading to the nation-wide nuclear phase-out. Notable initiatives include revisited infrastructure design which has driven down domestic energy consumption, as well as integrated waste management systems that encourage waste reductions and organic compost efforts. Most ambitious of all is the city’s goal to reduce CO2 levels by 29% from 1992 to 2020, and 40% by 2030.

Manuela Schillinger, Head of Environmental Protection Bureau
Telephone:  +49 0761 201-6110
Melanie Sester
Telephone: +49 0761 201-6115

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Wildpolsried—Wildpolsried is a municipality of some 2,500 inhabitants in south-western Bavaria. It was highlighted in Al Gore’s recent climate change awareness project, 24 Hours of Reality, for having developed a sustainability action plan for 2020 as early as 1999. At the forefront of this plan was the community desire to become energy self-sufficient, using a primary mix of wind and solar, but also biomass and hydro sources. Today, Wildpolsried produces more energy from renewable sources than it consumes, exporting electricity to the German power-grid and reducing their carbon footprint to zero.

Susi Vogl, Chief Coordinator for Energy and Environmental Protection
Mail: Kemptener Str. 2, 87499, Wildpoldsried
Telephone: +49 08304 9205-0

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Germany Leaders and Opponents

Government Official
Barbara Hendricks
Minister of the Environment

As a member of the Germany’s Social Democratic Party, Hendricks spearheaded Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050. Additionally, she has pushed strongly for greater standards in the Paris Agreement, firmly stating it was “not the end, but instead the beginning of a long journey.” Green Party delegates, however, have criticized Hendricks for openly speaking of the importance of decarbonisation without pursuing it in any of Germany’s energy plans. Reluctance for more stringent decarbonisation may lie in the party’s “industrial roots.” Interestingly, party chairperson and Vice Chancellor of Germany–Sigmar Gabriel–has expressed concern about a hasty renewable energy transition, putting Germany’s productivity at the forefront of the party’s platform. Nonetheless, Hendricks has made early initiatives to block non-renewable expansion and is a leader in Germany’s energy transition. One given example was her influence in restricting fracking until 2019–a ban she had originally pushed to be indefinite–in order to ensure proper environmental impact assessment.

Contact information: Bonn office Rochusstraße 1, 53123 Bonn, P.O. Box 14 02 70, 53107 Bonn Phone: +49 (0) 22899 529-0

Climate Program Advocate
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber
Researcher and Physicist at University of Postdam

Schellnuber is a German theoretical physicist who has been an early advocate for measures to stabilize climate change and for environmental protection. In 1993 he became the director of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Only two years later did he propose the two degrees limit for global warming, first adopted by the German government and the European Union. For this and other research, Schellnhuber was awarded the German Environment Prize in 2007, contributing to the IPCC’s Nobel Peace Prize award that same year. Among his contributions is that for the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report, which projected “increases in future global mean temperature, rising sea levels, and increased frequency of heat waves.” The two-degree limit would then become a global target across governments worldwide following the Copenhagen accord in 2009.

Contact information:

Climate Program Opponent
Political Party – Alternatives for Germany (AfD)

Although few organizations actively oppose climate and energy measures in Germany, the AfD have come out against the Paris Agreement, calling it a tool the UN has used to transform the “world order into a system under its leadership.” Moreover, the party believes Germany’s Energy Transition action plan is a cost-generator which has hindered the country’s economic development, despite its GDP remaining consistent with average trends. On multiple accounts, AfD–which is running in federal elections for the first time this year–has denied the science behind climate change. While early polls show they hold 10% of the popular vote (versus the leading CDU/CSU coalition at 35%), their likelihood of taking office poses less of a problem than their strong anti-immigration rhetoric, a dialogue that has swept Europe in the past year. Angela Merkel’s run for re-election has been applauded by the AfD’s chairperson, claiming her energy and migration policies will ultimately weaken her party’s platform and mobilize right-wing voters.

Contact information – AfD Chairperson: By request:

Germany Leading Research Study

Research Study:  “Wirkungsanalyse bestehender Klimaschutzmaßnahmen […] und Klimaschutzprogramms der Bundesregierung.” “An Analysis of the Effects of Existing National Climate Protection Efforts,” produced by Umweltbundesamt, February 2016

Multiple policies have been enacted by Germany’s executive branch in order to further its efforts in meeting energy efficiency. One study carried out by the Umweltbundesamt—a German environmental protection agency—ran quantitative data and projections to determine the effectiveness of Germany’s different climate and energy policies. The report, titled “An Analysis of the Effects of Existing National Climate Protection Efforts,” uses forecasts for existing policies and compares them to actual reductions achieved by previous ones. The authors point to several short-comings that would inhibit Germany to meet some of its emissions targets, particularly those in the Energiewende and the Renewable Energy Act.

The study indicates that Germany will struggle to meet some emissions targets for several reasons. First, without an EU-wide database for energy-efficient products and labeling, the study suggests that demand-side energy inefficiency threaten targets, as consumers are less aware of which products to purchase. Second, Germany’s effort to refurbish its infrastructure through subsidization is said to be insufficient, given it does not include (a) a coaching network through which building owners can jointly submit refurbishment plans, or (b) subsidization for non-residential buildings (e.g. industrial sectors), which the authors believe could result in a tenfold energy cost-savings. Thirdly, renewable energy supply will only develop as fast as private energy actors are willing to invest in alternatives. This is notably difficult for states such as Saarland and Bremen, whose non-renewable energy production rates are among the highest proportion of their total energy production nationwide. Moreover, policies that aren’t binding towards HFCs, industrial processes, and agricultural practices have, either entirely or in part, failed to meet reduction targets. The issue here is that Germany has not yet established any reduction targets that are binding. Yet this may soon change given the recent enactment of the Kigali Agreement (October, 2016), where developed countries face obligations to achieve a reduction of 85% of HFC production by 2036.

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Mentioned studies:

For more on combined heat and power policy:

Germany’s involvement in the Kigali Agreement (2016):

Originally titled: Wirkungsanalyse bestehender Klimaschutzmaßnahmen und
Klimaschutzprogramms der Bundesregierung
I.e. a GHG reduction of 40% by 2020 and 80-95% by 2050
A family of man-made gases whose production are extensive across industrial uses

Germany Emissions Reduction Policy

Germany: The Renewable Energy Act (EEG) and The Energiewende

There are two leading policy documents that are shaping Germany’s environmental and climate targets.

The first, the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), incorporates a series of laws which regulate the market and development for renewable sources. The EEG was put in practice in April of 2000 and was largely successful due to its “feed-in tariff” mechanism, which provided direct compensation–from the state, using revenues from surcharges borne by end-consumers–to producers of energy per every KWh they generated from renewable sources. This market incentive was founded in Germany’s Renewable Electricity Feed-In Act (1991) and created global influence for environmental laws. Feed-in-Tariff policies were earlier introduced in Portugal and Denmark in 1993.

The EEG was developed by a social democrat and a green, both of whom were spokespeople for their respective parties in the Bundestag. It has since been modified several times, but recent reforms–with the Paris Agreement on Germany’s agenda–have been quite contentious with the public. Most debated was the decision to change the renewable energy market mechanism from feed-ins to auctions, which will be conducted by Germany’s Federal Network Agency. Feed-in tariffs (the money paid to producers of renewable energy) were originally quite high because the government wanted to create incentives for investing in renewable sources, attracting both large and small players (see figure next page). Polls suggest that end-consumers, by majority, were ready to continue paying higher electricity prices for the sake of the shift. According to Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Energy and Economic Minister, the switch to auctions is critical for Germany to be able to stabilize the price of renewables and manage grid expansion at a reasonable rate, as limits would be set on the expansion of renewables, like windfarms in northern Germany. The reforms also come as a way of aligning German and EU frameworks, as the EU Commission is looking for free-market solutions, accomplished with suppliers now having to sell their renewable capacity either by themselves or through third parties. However, critics have opposed this decision because (a) it will slow renewable production, which is currently at half of its intended rate; and (b) it will allow wealthy players to out-bid SMEs or citizen-owned projects. The first round of auctions, for which only on/off shore wind and PV solar will be included, are expected to begin January 2017.

Any out-bidding of citizen-owned projects will, in a broad sense, conflict Germany’s Energiewende–another crucial climate action plan–which seeks to democratize the country’s energy system. More specifically, it includes a series of targets that are designed to transition Germany’s energy supply into low-carbon and low-cost alternatives. At the forefront of this plan has been the phasing-out of nuclear energy, although skeptics have pressed the issue of decarbonization as well.


The introduction of this revised plan in 2010 arose largely from the findings of Gregor Czisch, a German physicist who pioneered in regenerative power systems, and Henrick Lund, a Danish energy systems expert. On the political level, a coalition of the Green Party, Social Democratic Party, and the Christian Democratic Party were responsible for pushing laws that formed its early phases during the 1990s. Specific goals for the Energiewende can be seen below:


Other countries have similarly adopted Energy Transition policies include Austria, France, Japan, and the UK. The decarbonization of Germany’s energy system is an element of upmost importance in the Energiewende, as the presence of coal power, according to a Green Party energy expert, will likely undercut attraction towards renewables. Additionally, the Energiewende is criticized to be too climate-centric and not enough involved in environmental issues, such as deforestation, which is a growing concern for the development of biomass and renewable farms. German policy measures, it would appear, could be improved if a common ground between marketable renewable expansion and empowerment of small-scale projects is found.

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Germany Energy Production Trends

How The Energy System Is Structured

As one of Europe’s most populous states and dominant economic players, Germany’s energy demand is the largest in the region. It is also a net exporter of energy, mainly supplying energy to markets in Austria and the Netherlands. Energy policy is governed by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, as well as the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature, Conservation, and Nuclear Safety. While the former includes two main bodies that manage the power sector, the latter leads climate and nuclear safety protection. Managing the power sector involves such things as regulating competition and overseeing energy networks, of which German states play a part as well.

Germany’s transmission system is owned and run by four companies—Amprion, Transet BW, TenneT, and 50Hertz Transmission—who, by European law, are required to separate their electricity transmitting, generating, distributing, and supplying activities. Transmission or distribution companies may be owned by the state, by a foreign state, by an institution, privately-owned, or joint-shared. Companies that generate and distribute energy are able to supply individuals on the basis of long-term contracts with respective German municipalities. German individuals have been able to choose their energy supplier as of 1998, many of which have been opting for smaller-scale competitors of major companies. While supply companies must pay one-time fees, the final costs of grid use are borne by end-consumers. As such, the costs of expanding renewable grids within German territories—including PV solar, on-shore wind, and biomass—will be highest for those living in small rural areas.

Sources of Energy

Germany’s energy was majorly comprised of non-renewables in 2015, with lignite consumption comprising 24% of all energy. However, renewables were responsible for 30% of energy consumption, with on and off-shore wind energy (17%) being a most popular source. Details can be found in the chart below:


Profiles of Leading Energy Companies

There are four major energy producers in Germany, jointly known as the “Big Four,” which control most electricity distribution, generation, and retail supply in the country. These companies are RWE, E.ON, EnBW, and Vattenfall, all of whom operate under a vertically integrated corporate structure, meaning they are directly responsible for the production and supply of energy through privately-owned plants and grids. These companies are also undergoing major restructuring following Germany’s Climate Action Programme 2020, which has an overall goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 2020 by 40% compared to 1990 levels. Additionally, Germany’s Energiewende, a comprehensive national energy plan designed to transition the state to a low-carbon and affordable energy consumer, is being taken into consideration. At the forefront of this plan is the transition out of nuclear energy, a decision that was driven by public outcry, first after the Chernobyl accident of 1986 and then again after the Fukushima failure in 2011. Following the Paris Agreements, these companies have also taken certain measures (detailed below) to reduce non-renewable activities. However, as Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy has admitted, “exiting coal and nuclear power at the same time will not be possible.”

RWE is based in the north-western state of Rhineland-Westphalia, with a total of 6.8 million energy consumers in Germany and over 20 million across Europe. Its primary energy source is lignite, for which it operates 5 major power plants and 3 opencast mines in western Germany. The company produced a total of 213 billion kilowatts per hour (KWh) of energy across all operations in 2015, 132.1 billion of which were produced in Germany alone, which translates into some total gross CO2 emissions of 109, one million tons in the same year, putting RWE among the top three CO2 emitters in the EU ETS. RWE also recorded €48.6 billion (approx. USD 51.3 billion) in revenue. Many targets under the Energiewende were opposed by RWE, largely because it would have forced them to close 17 of their 20 lignite operations, with lignite being their largest source of energy. Therefore, RWE is primarily restructuring its operations under Germany’s 2020 Climate Action Programme, for which they are aiming to reduce their emissions by 0.62 million tons per megawatt per hour (MWh), or approximately 15% reduction from 2015 to 2020. During this time, RWE states that it is likely to expand its renewable energy production via wind and solar farms in countries such as Spain and Italy, although the company hasn’t detailed what this would mean.

E.ON, also based in Rhineland-Westphalia, is Germany’s largest operator of electricity and gas distribution networks, controlling four major grid companies in Europe. Their customer base includes over 6 million people in Germany and over 33 million throughout Europe, surmounting to a total revenue of €116 billion (USD 122.5 billion) in 2015. The total amount of energy produced was 215.2 billion KWh in 2015, of which 61.2 billion were produced in Germany. This equivocated 20.3 million tons of CO2 emitted in Germany and over 200 million across all operations. Since 2016 E.ON has decided to undergo major corporate restructuring, expanding renewables exclusively under the E.ON name and transferring all non-renewable activities to joint company Uniper. Nuclear operations are also being phased out under joint company Preussen Elektra. This restructuring will involve investing €7 billion into expanding three offshore wind parks over the next 5 years, with an overall CO2 emissions reduction of 20% by 2020, relative to 2015 levels. The closure of nuclear operations—E.ON’s largest energy source—is an ongoing and prioritized effort by E.ON, under Germany’s Energiewende, with one plant already shut down as of 2015 and 3 others expected to be closed by 2022.

EnWB is a state-owned company located in Baden-Wüttemberg, with energy services to over 5.5 million consumers in Germany and total revenues over €21.1 million (USD 22.2 million). As of 2013 EnBW has been restructured under an integrated business model, which aims to increase their output accounted for by renewable energies from 19 percent to over 40 percent in 2020, based on 2012 figures. It is now responsible for supplying renewable energy to over 35% of households in the region. In 2015 it produced a total amount of 250.8 billion KWh of energy, most of which was traded on energy markets. This translated to a total level of 35.9 million tons of CO2 emissions, the same year which EnBW expanded to 47% renewables. EnBW aims to reduce their emissions by 40% by 2030, based on 2012 levels. The company’s largest focus for renewable expansion is on off-shore wind farms in the Baltic Sea, which is projected to offset 167,000 tons of CO2. In the period between 2016 and 2018 EnBW will invest €1.6 billion (USD1.7 billion) in building new renewable energy projects, with a large focus on grid development.

Vattenfall Deutschland (VD)
Vattenfall, the parent company of VD, is Europe’s fifth largest energy producer, fully owned by the Swedish state, and among the top three CO2 emitters in the EU ETS. According to a 5-year study by ekopolitician, of the total 93 million tons of CO2 emitted in 2015 by Vattenfall, 99.5% were exclusively outside of Sweden. VD emitted 79 million tons in Germany alone, an increase from the previous year due to the controversial commissioning of a new power plant in Mooburg. The company is responsible for supplying energy to over three million consumers in Germany, 49% of which comes from non-renewable sources (primarily lignite). According to targets in the 2020 Climate Action Programme, the German lignite industry is supposed to cut emissions by 12.5 million tons of CO2, with lignite producers to be financially compensated for their loss of production. This will prove challenging for Vattenfall, which generated more than 56.2 terawatts per hour of electricity from its lignite-powered plants, from an annual total of 173.4 TWh. Seemingly more ambitious is their target of reducing emissions to 65 million tons of CO2 by 2020. In 2015 Vattenfall invested SEK 8.6 billion (USD 1 billion) in wind energy, focusing particularly on offshore development. VD is also preparing to sell many of its opencast mines. Although no buyers have been confirmed, amidst a failing market, only countries with lower environmental regulations set in place, such as in Eastern Europe, seem likely.

Renewable Energy Supply
In 2015, Germany produced a total of 237.5 TWh of renewable energy (wind, solar, biomass, and hydro), 46.25% of which was citizen-owned. This is largely possible due to energy collectives, comprised of citizens who collectively invest in or lease their own energy generators and grids, effectively decentralizing their energy consumption. In 2016, individuals being supplied renewable energy would pay 6.354 cents per kWh. Despite being the largest energy suppliers in Germany, the Big Four only operate around 6.5% of renewable energy production and supply. In 2014, Lower Saxony was the largest consumer of wind energy in Germany, while Bavaria was the largest consumer of solar energy.

Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Roland Selinger

Germany Emission Reduction Challenges

Leading Emission Reduction Challenges: (a) Rising consumer demand for energy-intensive products; (b) Dependence on fossil fuels as energy sources, especially coal


Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by 0.7%, from 902 to 908 million tons of CO2 between 2014 to 2015, according to the Environmental Ministry. This means that, by virtue of their Climate Action Programme, Germany will have to reduce greenhouse gases by 12.8% over the next 3+ years to reach a targeted 40% reduction by 2020.

German energy industries have consistently contributed to the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions, composing 38% of 2015 levels. Households experienced a 3.5% increase in their emissions for the same year, lending to the fear that as individuals shift to renewable alternatives their consumption habits become more environmentally harmful. The Ministry pointed to an increase in household electricity consumption of 18.4% between 1990 and 2013, pointing to information and communication behaviors as a dangerous contributor to this trend.

Yet above all else, Germany’s coal consumption poses the most serious threats to their intended commitments. 26% of Germany’s energy consumption is derived from coal production, which fuels industrial output for high value-added goods. Greenpeace and other organizations have continued to stress the urgency in cutting back and phasing out coal investments, particularly in power plants and mines.

This is difficult to achieve considering the strength of lobby groups, such as Euracoal, who are not ready to commit to renewables. Moreover, the recent Brexit movement has not helped EU countries to transition to renewables. Since the UK’s departure, emissions allowances, as per the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), fell from a price of around 5.7 euros per ton of CO2 to an all-time low of less than 4.7 euros, creating greater economic incentive to upscale non-renewable demand. Germany operates under the EU ETS as a measure for industries to abide by EU standards. Additionally, they must submit independent National Allocation Plans to the EU Commission. Since 2014 Germany has been advocating for a universal minimum allowance price for EU ETS members to prevent market shifts like Brexit influencing industry-level climate initiatives.

Commonly-cited estimates indicate that Germany must more than double its renewable energy production by 2040 to reach their commitment to 1.5°C global temperatures, which would be at a manufacturing rate that is 3 to 6 times faster than presently. This translates to an annual production rate of 1,320 Tw/h, seemingly unlikely given most reductions will have to be made in transport, energy, and heating sectors. The German Chancellor’s Renewable Energy Act was implemented in 2000 in an attempt to shift 40 – 45 percent of power consumption to renewables by 2025, compared to 32.5% in 2015. However, recent reforms have not helped meet this target, mainly because contracts with renewable energy suppliers would be changed in such a way that would make it more expensive for households and small-medium enterprises to invest, but easier for larger businesses. This is because it had shifted the economic mechanisms of investing in renewable energy from feed-in tariffs, which offer long-term contracts with decreasing costs over time, to auction schemes, which generate market prices for investments and are offered to the highest bidder.

The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) has recently taken a social approach to fighting coal in Germany. In a report titled “Europe’s dark cloud: How coal-burning countries make their neighbors sick,” the WWF estimated that, due to emission-related issues, if Germany were to completely phase out coal they could prevent more than 1,860 premature deaths domestically and over 2,500 in neighboring countries. The organization also pointed to the necessity in reforming the EU ETS, calling on the Industrial Emissions Directive and National Emissions Ceilings Directive to “introduce stricter pollution limits.”

Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Roland Selinger


Useful Resources

Germany Ratification Status

Possibility of Ratification by 2018: High

The ratification of international treaties is ultimately at the hands of the Bundespräsident, Joachim Gauch. While Germany’s Basic Law allows the Bundesregierung (executive branch) to engage in international treaties, those which could affect the political relations of the State require the involvement of the Bundestag (lower parliamentary branch) by means of legislation. Once presented to the Bundestag it is relayed to the Bundesrat (upper parliamentary branch) to be processed for ratification in two events. The first drafts the legislature and assigns it to respective parliamentary branches. The second is the voting procedure to determine – by majority – whether it is passed or not. Indeed, the Bundesregierung approved the Paris Agreement by signing it on April 22 nd 2016, but it is yet to be ratified and is struggling to do so in light of several hindrances. Ratification initiatives are in conflict between the EU and its member states, as no party wants to overstep the other’s legislative process. The Bloc is looking for a unified ratification procedure with its member states, which will only go as fast as the slowest state. The EU Parliament’s Environment Committee has indicated it will attempt to draft its position by August 2016, but ratification of member states, including Germany, is unlikely to come before 2017. As it stands no political party is in opposition of the Paris agreement and state-level parties lend similar opinions on the necessary ways forward. For example, a new coalition party in Baden-Württemberg (southern Germany) are advocating for the decarbonization of the power, heating and transport sectors by 2050, while a coalition in Rhineland-Palatinate (southwestern Germany) are emphasizing the utility of bioenergy and household solar panel investments.

Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Roland Selinger


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