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Germany pursues ambitious energy and climate policy objectives and is thus a trailblazer in these fields internationally. However, the faltering UN climate protection process shows that other countries are not following Germany's lead or are moving at a slower pace. In Germany, a barely perceptible process of de-industrialisation has already begun in energy-intensive sectors. CO2 emissions are shifting from Germany to other countries. In order to stop the barely perceptible process of de-industrialisation and carbon leakage, Germany should either join forces with Europe to achieve faster progress and more stringent targets in international climate protection or else curb its own pace. At the very least, Germany has to seek to make its Energiewende more efficient. Moreover, energy-intensive companies are going to require exemption regimes in the future, too.
Germany's "Energiewende 1.0", or shift towards renewable energy, has advanced rapidly since the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) was amended in 2004. However, the costs of changing over to photovoltaics, windpower etc. are becoming more and more noticeable. A correction, well overdue, calls for structural reforms and thus an "Energiewende 2.0". The policy paper presented by energy minister Sigmar Gabriel marks a new start. Moves to sharpen the focus of subsidisation and amend the exemptions for companies not facing international competition are essential and overdue.
The expansion of renewables, while a worthy long-term goal, is presently jeopardising German competitiveness. To prevent this, the Energiewende – i.e. energy turnaround or transformation – must be implemented more efficiently. We welcome government plans to impose a minimum levy on new systems for captive generation. To ensure the levy doesn’t also rise unsustainably, the subsidies should gradually be phased into market-based price and volume mechanisms. The government should tighten exceptions to the levy, while continuing to shield the energy-intensive companies most vulnerable to international competition.
The GET FiT (Global Energy Transfer Feed-in Tariffs) concept intends to combat climate change and the lack of available energy by supporting private sector investment in capital intensive renewable energy sources in emerging and developing countries. The idea is that governments in the developed world and/or multilateral organisations support the upgrading of the existing regulatory framework in emerging economies to improve the risk profile and commercial viability of renewable energy investments from a private sector investor’s perspective. The GET FiT Pilot in Uganda will support approx. 125 MW of renewable energy. To achieve private sector participation in debt financing, it will be crucial to give private sector lenders a “fair chance” to participate on their terms. We are confident that GET FiT can play a crucial role in developing Uganda’s energy sector.
Following the decline in China's demand for commodities during the summer months, its imports of crude oil, copper and iron ore are slowly beginning to recover again.
To this day, China's economic relations with Africa are shaped by securing the supply of resources by financing infrastructure and other major projects. There is indeed much to suggest that China's future activities will be more complex and by no means limited to the commodities sector.
The East African country has been experiencing impressive economic growth: double-digit between 2004 and 2010, it has averaged 8.7% annually over the past five years thanks to the expansion of agriculture and services. Ethiopia has thus been the fastest-growing economy in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Projected at 6.5% annually over the next five years, it is set to remain on a robust growth path.
“...There are several reasons: one, for instance, is that the question of whether we should use nuclear power is a particularly emotional one which has caused a rift in society for decades. After all, the German anti-nuclear power movement is more than 40 years old. Also, renewable energy technologies enjoy a very positive image with most Germans. Of course, safe and cheap provision of electricity is of paramount importance for an industrial country like Germany....“
Commodity prices have increased sharply over the past ten years. Large populous emerging economies, first and foremost China, have become major consumers of commodities as they build out their infrastructure, their per capita income and nutrition patterns change and their populations become more mobile and thus consume more energy. Time will tell whether we currently find ourselves in the midst of a commodity super-cycle, or not. Either way, it is worth and prudent to ask which emerging markets would be the most sensitive to a sustained drop in commodity prices.