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When the Exit?

The Difficult Politics of German Coal

Tessa Coggio and Thane Gustafson

This article considers Germany’s contentious exit from brown coal (lignite), now set for 2038. While greener alternatives, such as wind, solar, or natural gas have been reducing coal’s standing in Germany’s energy mix for years, coal proponents, backed by special interests, have pushed back at all levels of government. With a focus on the politics of coal during the 2017 parliamentary elections, the tedious months of coalition negotiations and the work of the coal committee since summer 2018, we explore how policymakers try to reconcile competing interests at the federal state, local, as well as international levels.

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Where to Now?

Germany Rethinks its Energy Transition

Josephine Moore and Thane Gustafson

achievements. 2 It is now broadly acknowledged by all the major players, both in business and in politics, that Germany will miss its 2020 targets by a wide margin. This prospect is causing a nationwide re-examination of the foundations of the energy policy

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Jonas Heering and Thane Gustafson

This article examines Germany’s current climate and energy policies. Nearly two decades on, Germany’s Energiewende—the transition to a less carbonintensive economy—is at a crossroads. While remarkable advances have been made, the technical difficulties of expanding the energy transition beyond the electricity sector, the mounting costs of the transition itself, and now the covid-19 pandemic are slowing further progress. Maintaining the momentum of the Energiewende would require collaborative action, yet the principal political players have different agendas, making it difficult to reach decisions. In this article, we consider three of those actors: the German public, the opposition parties, and the government. We find that agreements on German climate policy have been diluted in political compromises and that real progress is being blocked. These problems will only increase as Germany deals with the consequences of the pandemic and faces a transition in national leadership in 2021.

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Carol Hager

The energy revolution poses a fundamental challenge to the German corporatist institutional model. The push for renewables in Germany arose almost entirely outside the prevailing channels of institutional power. Eventually, federal legislation helped support the boom in local energy production that was already underway, and it encouraged the further development of new forms of community investment and citizen participation in energy supply. Recently, the federal government has tried to put the genie back in the bottle by shifting support to large energy producers. But, as this article shows, the energy transition has provided a base for local power that cannot easily be assailed. The debate over German energy policy is becoming a contest between centralized and decentralized models of political and economic power. Prevailing institutionalist theories have difficulty accounting for these developments. I analyze the local development of renewable energy by means of a case study of the Freiburg area in southwestern Germany, which has evolved from a planned nuclear power and fossil fuel center to Germany's “solar region”. Incorporating insights from ecological modernization theory, I show how the locally based push for renewables has grown into a challenge to the direction of German democracy itself.

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Review Essay

The Energiewende, a German Success Story?

Stephen Milder

intended to introduce the arcane subject of German energy policy to foreign readers. In his doctoral dissertation, Drivers of Energy Transition , the writer and activist Wolfgang Gründinger argues that heterogeneous social coalitions have driven the

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Stephen F. Szabo

’s indispensable power, it has taken the lead on eurozone stabilization, Russia, eu refugee and energy policies during the previous GroKo. Its agenda will have to focus on European policy and the Franco-German relationship including the issue of populism, the

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Making Space for Sanctions

The Economics of German Natural Gas Imports from Russia, 1982 and 2014 Compared

Stephen G. Gross

, Perspectives on Politics , ed. Wolfram F. Hanrieder (Boulder, 1982), 165; For a recent overview of German energy policy see Falk Illing, Energiepolitik in Deutschland: Die energiepolitischen Massnahmen der Bundesregierung 1949-2013 (Baden-Baden, 2012), 125

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Germany and Russia Since Reunification

Continuity, Change, and the Role of Leaders

Randall Newnham

Politik and other institutes cited in Steffen Leidel, “Germany Bound to Russia over Energy Policy,” Deutsche Welle , 3 November 2004. 49 Television appearance on ard , 23 November 2004. 50 Many saw a conflict of interest in Schröder’s decision to

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Threatening or Benevolent Hegemon?

How Polish Political Elites Frame Their Discourse on “German Hegemony”

Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski and Maciej Olejnik

boycotted the common energy policy of the European Union, which would enable the reduction of the price of gas for smaller eu members. Instead, German authorities preferred conducting bilateral negotiations with Russia, as a result of which Germany pays

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Luke B. Wood

): 360-375; Sarah Elise Williarty, “Gender and Energy Policy-Making Under the First Merkel Government,” German Politics 20, no. 3 (2011): 449-463; Sarah Elise Williarty, “Angela Merkel’s Path to Power: The Role of Leadership and Internal Party Dynamics