Sam Morgan The Jolt - 20/November/2023

The Jolt: You brake it, you buy it

In Monday’s edition of The Jolt, Sam looks at why Germany’s efforts to go green have been dealt a blow by its own court, plus we breach the 2℃ warming target for the first time


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Join us on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for bite-sized updates, expert analysis and a global view.

Welcome to today’s episode of The Jolt, arming you with the news and insight you need to navigate the rapidly changing transition to a decarbonised economy.



What you need to know

Here are some of the main climate and energy stories making the news around the world:

  • Climate scientists warn that the globe experienced its first taste of 2℃ warming last week after average surface temperatures briefly breached the climate change milestone. See the satellite data here.
  • Argentina has elected a new far-right climate change-denying president. Javier Milei wants to expand oil and gas production, boost investments in lithium mining and has pledged to shut down the environment ministry.
  • The UK government will reportedly offer households located near new power projects up to £10,000 in compensation. The plan hopes to head off permitting complaints that have helped create a massive backlog of grid projects.
  • Norwegian chemicals firm Yara International has signed a carbon capture and storage agreement with a North Sea project. Around 800,000 tonnes of CO2 will be captured every year at its Dutch plant and shipped for storage to a facility off the coast of Norway. Touted as the first cross-border deal of its kind in the world, operations are supposed to start in 2025, cost €200 million and last 15 years.
  • Nigeria’s government has advised its federal states to set up climate change departments. A recent NGO report says that just eight of the 36 states have climate policies in place. Check out our recent deep dive on Nigeria’s long path to climate neutrality.
  • The Central African Republic has inaugurated a 25 megawatt solar plant with battery storage that will power 250,000 homes. It will double the country’s electricity-generating capacity and replace a chunk of polluting diesel power.
  • Japan completed a third round of radioactive water discharge from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant. The authorities pumped 8000 tonnes of tainted water into the ocean and another round is planned this year.
  • The European Union’s new renewable energy rules enter force today. After officials agreed on a reformed directive, member countries will now have to work together to reach a 42.5% clean energy target by 2030.
  • UN delegates in Kenya were left frustrated after talks about a global plastics treaty stalled. Countries are aiming to have an international pact in place by 2025 but there is widespread disagreement about how the treaty should actually work. More talks are planned for early 2024. 


Today’s big story

You brake it, you buy it

  • Germany’s government earmarked €60 billion for a climate transformation fund designed to help the country and its powerhouse industries decarbonise.
  • The fund is fuelled by borrowing made during the Covid-19 pandemic, when Germany used emergency powers to take on €240 billion in debt. The leftovers were funnelled into this new climate war chest.



  • Last week, the Bundesrepublik’s influential constitutional court ruled that this was against the law of the land and that the government will have to source money for its green commitments from somewhere else.
  • The ruling coalition will face a difficult task, as the budget gap will have to be plugged either by extra taxes or projects will have to be scaled back. Talks on the 2024 budget will have to reflect this new consideration.
  • Dutch bank ING’s chief economist for Germany, Carsten Brzeski, says it is a big problem for the government and that the court is gradually making it more difficult for Germany to be creative in its accounting.

“Declaring an emergency to the German economy would allow the government to deviate from this constitutional fiscal brake”

  • Brzeski suggests that Germany may to be “blunt and transparent” and announce that climate change is an emergency, as it did for the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to bypass the constitutional debt brake.
  • Germany’s parliament has not formally taken this step, unlike other countries, and is only covered by an EU-wide announcement dating back to 2019.

While you’re here, check out the new edition of the FORESIGHT magazine, now available as a digital copy.



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