to the German edition

UN agreement to protect the oceans: For the first time, UN representatives have agreed on an agreement to protect the world’s oceans. This was preceded by years of negotiations. UN Secretary-General Guterres spoke of a „historic success“. After years of negotiations, the United Nations has adopted an agreement to protect the world’s oceans. Among other things, the pact creates the basis for the designation of large protected areas on the high seas and establishes a procedure for assessing economic projects, expeditions and other activities in the oceans for their environmental impact. „The agreement is adopted,“ conference chair Rena Lee announced in New York to cheers from participants. . „More than a third of fish stocks are being harvested at unsustainable levels,“ Guterres said. „And we are polluting our coastal waters with chemicals, plastics and human waste.“ He said the treaty was crucial to addressing these threats. The treaty on „Biodiversity Beyond National Legislation“ (BBNJ) for the protection of the oceans, which was concluded on 5 March 2023 and is binding under international law, is the logical consequence of the World Biodiversity Conference in Montreal in December 2022, where the community of states agreed to designate 30 per cent of the oceans as protected areas in future by 2030. But for the almost lawless space of the high seas, there have been neither institutions nor regulations that could have implemented the Montreal resolutions. Now the UN member states have formally adopted the agreement. For it to enter into force, it still has to be ratified by at least 60 states. ,

Habeck: Own solar industry strengthens energy policy sovereignty: The minister wants to build up production capacities on a large scale. Interested parties can apply today.Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) wants to promote the establishment of a solar industry with considerable funding. The minister is calling on companies to signal their interest in investment cost support. For central transformation technologies, own production capacities in Germany and Europe are necessary, the minister said. This is a question of economic security, he said. The project would strengthen „not only our technological sovereignty, but also our energy policy sovereignty“. Specifically, it is about a total production capacity of about ten gigawatts along the entire value chain, i.e. from silicon production to cell and solar module. For this, interested parties must prove that they really need the state subsidies, i.e. that they would not make the investment without subsidies. ,

Europe has warmed by 2.3 degrees

The past year in Europe has once again shown how fast the climate crisis is progressing. According to the annual report on the state of Europe’s climate, published last week by the World Meteorological Organisation WMO and the EU climate service Copernicus, it has already become 2.3 degrees Celsius warmer in Europe compared to pre-industrial times. That is about twice as much warming as the global average. The consequences could be seen all over the continent last year. In many countries in western and southwestern Europe, 2022 was the warmest year ever recorded; across Europe, the year ranked second to fourth, depending on the data set used. There was also too little precipitation over large parts of the continent.

Global financial pact agreed: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen described the summit on a new global financial pact in Paris on Friday as a „milestone“ on the path to global climate protection. Summit participants, including more than 40 heads of state and government from the global South, agreed on a roadmap to better reconcile climate protection, debt relief and poverty reduction. The rich countries concluded a climate financing pledge of 100 billion dollars and called on development banks to increase their financing capacities by 200 billion dollars over the next ten years.

Nature must return to the cities: It may sound obvious, but an intact environment is the prerequisite for a healthy life – this is the basically simple core message of her report, said Claudia Hornberg, Chair of the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU), at the presentation of the Environmental Council’s report earlier this week. However, this simple-sounding message resulted in a clear need for action, especially because the planetary boundaries are being exceeded in terms of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Since the highest pollution levels are measured in places close to traffic – mostly in cities – the SRU considers measures to be necessary specifically in the transport sector. There is also a need for action in urban design: „We need more nature in cities, also to cushion the effects of climate change,“ advises SRU member Wolfgang Köck.

EU environment ministers agree on far-reaching nature conservation law: The environment ministers of the EU states have agreed on stricter nature conservation requirements. The planned nature restoration law is intended to prevent ecosystems from collapsing: Among other things, it provides for renaturation of heavily used areas on land and at sea, as the Swedish EU Presidency tweeted. The planned regulation was adopted by the majority of states in Luxembourg. According to it, the member states are to take measures, among other things, to improve the condition of at least 30 per cent of those terrestrial, coastal, freshwater and marine ecosystems that are currently in poor condition by 2030. zeit .de

France bans environmental group: When the French government announced the dissolution of the environmental movement „Revolt of the Earth“ (Soulèvements de la Terre, SLT) in the middle of the week, climate activist Greta Thunberg was in Paris. „Instead of those who set the fire, the fire alarm is being punished for its loud sound,“ criticised the environmental activist. „Revolt of the Earth“ plans to appeal to the Council of State, the highest administrative court. It is the first time that an ecogroup has been dissolved in France. Hundreds of people protested against the decision in more than a hundred cities. Revolt of the Earth is a loose network made up of trade unionists, farmers and scientists. It fights for the conservation of water resources, against the agro-industry and the particularly climate-damaging cement industry.



°C – Celsius

Something different this week: the recommendation of a thriller. If you could influence the climate, who would you save from global warming? Your homeland? Greenland? Africa? The new fascinating future scenario by SPIEGEL bestselling author Marc Elsberg. When several black flying objects appear over Chinese airspace, the world holds its breath. Has the Chinese government made good on its threats? Are they going to attack Taiwan? The White House is in turmoil and the American president is on the verge of alerting the fleet. Only at the last second can a climate scientist avert an attack. She immediately realises that there are no combat drones in the sky. China does not want to attack a country, it wants to seize power over the world’s climate. No one yet suspects that this is only the beginning of a much more dramatic development …


Environmentalists are calling for new protected areas in Antarctica: but two countries in particular are balking. Now another meeting of affected states is scheduled.
5.5 trillion dollars for fossil energy: This is how banks finance the sector.
Ukraine: Is to become a gas supplier for the EU.
Wind expansion: Germany lags behind.
Cartel Office: Conducts investigation against electricity suppliers.
Longi: World’s largest solar company from China plans plant in Germany.
Rebellion of the climate brakemen: Liberals and conservatives are currently watering down central regulations and laws in Berlin and Brussels.


The seventeen goals magazine tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can make a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.



Sven Plöger: „We are destroying our elixirs of life, water and air“.

This year we have been waiting for spring in all kinds of wind and weather, and now summer has suddenly arrived. In the Utopia Podcast, we talk to meteorologist, speaker and author Sven Plöger about why the weather and climate are doing such capers and what we need to do to get the climate back on track.

Summer has been a long time coming. Now it is hot and dry. Either it has hardly rained at all or it has been short but heavy. In terms of weather, nothing feels the same as it used to. Why the weather and climate are developing in this way, what humans can do to change things and what needs to happen so that we can perhaps still achieve the longed-for 1.5 degree target, that’s what we talk about in the Utopia Podcast with meteorologist Sven Plöger.


by Matthias Koch

The double test of the West

What good are all the well-intentioned plans for long-term climate protection if the world is upside down in the short term because of the Ukraine war? The West must sort out its priorities intelligently. More effective global cooperation for the environment requires first rejecting Russia’s outrageous military aggression.

A wonderful conference has just ended in Paris. Participants from 80 countries spent two days drafting a vision for an all-round better world. The „Summit for a New Global Financial Pact“ calls for a historic realignment of money flows. In future, taxes, investments and loans should be oriented towards the climate crisis. In this way, poor countries struggling with climate catastrophes and debt crises at the same time should gain access to new capital. Otherwise, it was argued in Paris, their universally desired transition to a green economy could not be financed. …

What good are all the well-intentioned plans for long-term climate protection and more global cooperation if the world blows up in our faces in the short term? The Last Generation organisation would then have chosen its name appropriately, but for different reasons than it thought. Climate and the Kremlin mean a double test for the West. If the EU and the USA do not sort themselves out intelligently, they face failure in both fields in the worst case. In the long term, climate protection is and will remain a central question of survival. But the priority, simply because of the dramatic urgency, is to reject Russia’s outrageous aggression. Those who stare at either this or that issue fail to realise: Everything is connected to everything else, for better or for worse. A victory for Vladimir Putin in Europe would destroy everything: Peace, freedom – but also any prospect of environmental protection. At the moment, Putin is rejoicing over the melting of the glaciers in the Arctic, because this opens up the possibility for him to extract even more oil and gas in the region. …


Switching to e-mobility – battery production becomes a bottleneck: The EU risks becoming dependent on other countries for batteries in the long term. This could slow down the shift to zero-emission vehicles, says a new report by the European Court of Auditors. Despite efforts to boost the EU’s fledgling battery industry, the EU lags far behind its global competitors, with both the US and China ahead in the battery race. Currently, China accounts for 76 per cent of global battery production capacity. The EU faces a number of obstacles to the take-off of its battery industry. These include lack of access to key raw materials, rising energy costs and fierce global competition, says the report published last Monday. ,

E-bike sales could overtake classic bicycle sales: The e-bike business did good business for Europe’s bicycle industry in 2022. Despite the weakening Corona tailwind, sales of bicycles with and without electric drives grew by 7.4 percent. In Germany, Europe’s largest bicycle market, the trend towards e-bikes is particularly strong. The industry association ZIV expects e-bikes to overtake classic bikes in sales for the first time this year. The bicycle industry had experienced a boom during the pandemic, as customers shunned public transport and discovered cycling in the fresh air with little risk of infection. Due to the high demand, production jumped up; there were delivery problems. Recently, the market cooled down again.

The long road to climate-neutral flying: At the Le Bourget air show in Paris, one major order follows the next. But the aircraft manufacturers are in a dilemma: flying is to become climate-neutral by 2050. But many questions remain

People want climate protection without sacrificing mobility: According to a new survey by the ADAC, a majority in Germany is in favour of a gradual turnaround in transport and against restrictions. A turn away from the car due to generational change is not to be expected.Alternatives to fossil mobility in demand. Expansion of public transport has top priority for respondents.Young people want to drive more cars in future. The majority of people in Germany are in favour of climate protection, but do not want to give up mobility in return. This is indicated by a representative ADAC survey. Even in 2021, measures that make car traffic more expensive or restrict it were largely rejected. Little has changed in the meantime.

Due to drought: Panama Canal further restricts navigation.

EU consumer associations accuse airlines of greenwashing – and file a complaint: Airlines give the impression that flying is sustainable, criticise European consumer associations. According to them, there are violations of EU regulations, and now the EU Commission is to intervene. In particular, the system of so-called CO2 compensation – a voluntary climate protection surcharge when booking a flight – is nothing more than greenwashing, explained the European consumer association Beuc. „According to a legal analysis commissioned by Beuc, such claims violate EU rules against unfair commercial practices“


How Bavaria is to get connected to the H2 grid: While the northern German states can be well supplied with H2, the southern states are in danger of being hooked up.To ensure that hydrogen can be transported in quantities suitable for industry from the 2030s onwards, the German government laid a legal foundation stone this year: „We transmission system operators are currently identifying proposals for the so-called national H2 core network,“ explains Richard Unterseer, Head of Network Strategy and Innovation at bayernnets. This basic infrastructure is intended to connect producers and large consumers such as industry and gas-fired power plants. „From there, the hydrogen network will then grow organically according to regional needs,“ explains Unterseer. „We need this in order to supply small and medium-sized businesses with hydrogen as well.“ Unterseer sees a good chance that Bavaria will be involved from the beginning: „We have a lot of energy-intensive industry that needs to be supplied – and the connection to important international import routes.“ One of these should lead to Tunisia in the future, where hydrogen can be produced cheaply. „It was only at the beginning of May that the energy ministers of Germany, Austria and Italy decided that the South2 corridor should be accelerated,“ explains grid boss Unterseer. This pipeline is to bring hydrogen to Bavaria in the future.

Chancellor Scholz in Chemnitz: Eastern states build on hydrogen as an energy carrier. The eastern German states want to push ahead with the development of a national hydrogen infrastructure. This is crucial for a secure energy supply in the future, said Saxony’s Minister President Michael Kretschmer (CDU) after the meetings of the East German heads of government in Chemnitz. In eastern Germany in particular, hydrogen will be an important building block for security of supply.

MAN CEO rejects hydrogen for logistics trucks: Politicians propagate „technology openness“, but the industry is already further along. MAN CEO Alexander Vlaskamp gives a clear rejection to hydrogen trucks. The reasons are obvious. For Vlaskamp, the price of green hydrogen is the main argument: „We see today that hydrogen is far too expensive, almost four to five times what it would cost for our customers to put it to use.“ Therefore, this type of propulsion will only be used in a small segment in Europe – for heavy transports, for example. Vlaskamp had already said at the IAA 2022 commercial vehicle show that green hydrogen was scarce and inefficient. Around two thirds of the total energy is lost via the various conversion stages.

No obligation to convert the operation of an LNG connection pipeline to green hydrogen before 31 December 2043: According to the decision of the legislator, an LNG connection pipeline may be used for the transport of natural gas until 31 December 2043. A regulation in a planning approval decision according to which only so-called green hydrogen or derivatives thereof may be transported at an earlier date would therefore be inadmissible. This was decided by the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig.

DB Cargo sees itself equipped for hydrogen transports: Deutsche Bahn sees itself equipped to transport large quantities of hydrogen. The freight subsidiary DB Cargo could transport 20 per cent of the forecast hydrogen demand in 2030 by rail, said Deutsche Bahn freight transport manager Sigrid Nikutta.

„Green Hydrogen Maritime Corridor“ takes shape: Spain and the Netherlands support the establishment of a maritime corridor for green hydrogen between the ports of Algeciras and Rotterdam. The „Green Hydrogen Maritime Corridor“ is intended to contribute to accelerating the energy transition in Europe.  In the presence of King Felipe VI and King Willem-Alexander, the Spanish energy company Compañía Española de Petróleos (Cepsa) signed cooperation agreements with Yara Clean Ammonia and the Dutch gas grid operator Gasunie. „The corridor will help create a renewable energy supply chain to decarbonise industry and maritime transport,“ Cepsa informs.


Expert calls for more competences for the Sustainability Advisory Board: The Parliamentary Advisory Board for Sustainable Development (PBnE) has once again sought expert advice on the further development of the body. In the public meeting on Wednesday evening, Professor Christian Calliess from the Department of Law, Public Law and European Law at the Free University of Berlin said that in future the Sustainability Advisory Board should also be able to substantially review the sustainability assessment of individual laws to which it attaches particular importance for future generations, above all on its own decision, and if necessary press for corrections. In his view, it would also make sense to have a reservation with suspensive effect, „in the course of which the legislative process can be halted and the federal ministry in charge can be obliged to carry out a comprehensive sustainability review in the light of the concerns expressed“. At present, Calliess says, the Council can only reprimand draft legislation that it considers to have been subjected to an inadequate sustainability assessment. „However, it has no means whatsoever to send these bills back to the federal government with a request to improve them.“ more on

Union calls for postponement of EU amendment on air quality: The CDU/CSU parliamentary group urges a postponement of new EU regulations on air quality. In a motion (20/7354), it calls on the federal government to push for a postponement in the negotiations on an amendment to the 2008 Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air, so that regulatory projects such as the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy or electromobility can first take effect. In addition, the federal government should ensure that in the current energy crisis private households and businesses are not „disproportionately burdened“ by the new regulations of the Air Quality Directive, the submission states. Further demands of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group relate, among other things, to technological openness with regard to heating systems, „low-bureaucracy implementation that is acceptable to municipalities“ with regard to the preparation of clean air plans, and affordable prices for conventional fuels. The German government should also advocate a postponement of the air quality limits proposed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) until 2040, have their methodological derivation thoroughly reviewed by experts, and oppose the legal possibility of municipal driving bans. The application of regulatory law must be „moderate and practicable“, MEPs demand. In the case of air quality regulations, „proportionality, openness to technology and feasibility must be in the foreground“.

Fight against plastic waste in Africa should be a priority: The AfD parliamentary group wants to make the fight against increasing environmental pollution by plastic waste a priority goal of German development cooperation with African countries. In addition, the federal government should reject „the narrative of German responsibility for climate change and for environmental damage derived from it as well as other negative effects in Africa“, it demands in a motion (20/7360), which the Bundestag is to refer to the committees for further discussion today without debate. In the justification, it says that an environmental catastrophe is currently taking place in Africa, „which can neither be contained by the thesis of the supposed responsibility of the industrialised countries for the allegedly almost exclusively anthropogenic climate change, nor by a feminist foreign and development policy“. In the AfD’s view, increasing environmental destruction and deforestation as well as the highly problematic handling of plastic waste are among the main causes of disease, poverty and hunger in Africa. Against this background, it considers it necessary to promote sustainable disposal systems within the framework of development cooperation.

Experts evaluate heating law: The Committee for Climate Protection and Energy dealt with the Federal Government’s draft bill „to amend the Building Energy Act, to amend the Heating Costs Ordinance and to amend the Sweeping and Inspection Ordinance“ (20/6875) as well as the guard rails of the coalition factions for further consultation of the GEG in a public hearing on Wednesday. With the draft bill on the so-called heating law, the federal government wants to initiate the energy turnaround in the heating sector. Kerstin Andreae, Chairwoman of the Executive Board and Member of the Executive Committee of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), explained that there are 42.9 million existing buildings in Germany – only seven percent of which are less than 13 years old. The share of renewable energies in the heating sector is much lower than in the electricity sector. This shows that „the heat transition is indispensable,“ said the expert, who was invited at the suggestion of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group. A share of 50 percent by 2030, however, is an unrealistic goal in most cases. First of all, she said, the conditions must be created to develop climate-neutral heat sources on site, such as geothermal energy and waste heat. „More than half of all Germans live in rented accommodation. It is therefore the coalition’s responsibility to prioritise protection against unforeseeable rent increases in the course of the heat turnaround,“ said Sebastian Bartels, Executive Director of the Berlin Tenants‘ Association. The expert, who was invited at the suggestion of the Left Party parliamentary group, demanded „anchoring certain core elements of social protection against rent increases as a core element in the GEG – because otherwise the misguided regulations on modernisation rent increases in the BGB (§ 559 ff. BGB) with their considerable financial burdens on the tenant community will take hold.“ more on

Include packaging in the circular economy strategy: In the view of the Petitions Committee, the topic of packaging should also be included in the preparation of a „National Recycling Management Strategy“. Against this background, at its meeting on Wednesday morning, the Committee adopted, with the votes of the parliamentary groups of SPD, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, FDP and Die Linke, the resolution recommendation to the Bundestag to refer a petition demanding that shipping companies, such as Amazon, be obliged to use a system of reusable shipping boxes for the usual standard sizes, to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) „as material“ and to forward it to the European Parliament. more at

Adaptation of energy law: The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled in an infringement case that Germany has not correctly transposed the electricity and natural gas internal market directives of the Third Internal Energy Market Package on four points. Three of the complaints in the infringement proceedings concerned unbundling issues. The fourth complaint concerned the independence of the national regulatory authorities from the normative requirements of the national legislator. In order to implement the decision of the ECJ in the fourth action, which is still open, the draft bill (20/7310) of the Federal Government provides for the repeal of the authorisation to issue ordinances in section 24 of the EnWG. According to the draft, the same applies to the authorisation to issue ordinances in section 21a EnWG, which is not covered by the Commission’s action, but which is covered by the scope of the ECJ’s decision. Both regulatory powers are therefore to be replaced by the national regulatory authority’s powers to determine.


For me, there is no link between the need to stop deforestation and climate change and the agreement. The only link I see: the increasing export of beef, soy, poultry, sugar cane and ethanol. This will increase the pressure on forests, not only in Amazonia, but also in other biomes like the cerrado.

Yannick Jadot,French environmental activist and MEP of Europe Écologie-Les Verts (EELV)…the EU-Mercosur agreement undermines President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s plans to stop deforestation and warns against the return of right-wing predecessor Jair Bolsonaro to Brazilian politics. This agreement continues to rely on an export-oriented agricultural model that results in unequal land distribution, poverty and food insecurity. It is also diametrically opposed to Lula’s plans to industrialise the country. All studies show that the agreement has a negative impact on industry and labour market development. The free access of European milk powder, for example, endangers small farmers in Brazil. On the other hand, soya and meat from South America would have a dramatic impact on European farmers. Moreover, 150 pesticides are in circulation in Brazil that would be banned in the EU. This agricultural model is therefore not only harmful for the environment and health in Brazil, but also for European consumers.



Why we need a different Africa policy: Franziska Pflüger is a research assistant in Rebecca Schamber’s Bundestag office and has just published an interesting article on a new policy view of Africa by Germany. African states no longer want to be the plaything of European superpowers. A new approach to relations with Africa is also in Germany’s own interest. The vote in the UN General Assembly should have shown at the latest: Africa has geopolitical weight. For the transformation to a C02-neutral society, Germany and Europe are dependent on raw materials, the population is incredibly young, there is a shortage of skilled workers here and Europe wants to become economically more independent of Russia and China, so it needs to diversify its trade relations. In a multipolar world, we need partners for democracy and human rights. Dealing with the current food crisis that threatens many African countries as a result of the war against Ukraine will be a first test of this new partnership and solidarity.

Foreign Minister Baerbock in South Africa: Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is in South Africa. In a guest article, she comments on German-South African relations. „South Africa is an international heavyweight and has been one of the continent’s leading countries since the end of apartheid. Therefore, the most pressing global issues will be high on our agenda, such as our joint fight against the climate crisis and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which is having a painful impact in both Europe and Africa. But we also have ambitious plans to intensify relations between our two countries: My visit is marked by the meeting of our binational commission, which Nelson Mandela set up during his term in office to shape our common future. On the sidelines of this year’s meeting, we will sign agreements on cooperation in vocational training and on green hydrogen. When we talk about deepening German-South African relations, we mean business.“ more on

Africa discovers space: Djibouti wants to build the continent’s first space base with Chinese help,. African states hope to get better data on climate change from their own space industry. A base in the Horn of Africa is the most ambitious project on the continent so far – and geopolitically sensitive. It is to cost one billion dollars, have seven launch pads and be built on ten square kilometres of strategically ideal land: The small East African state of Djibouti is planning Africa’s first space base.

Kenya and EU: Agreement on Free Trade Agreement. The EU and Kenya have agreed on a free trade agreement. In future, import duties are to be eliminated. Kenya sees this as a great opportunity – but there are also sceptical voices. Kenya will only gradually open its market to duty-free imports from European countries. There are to be protective measures for agriculture so that products from Europe do not destroy the domestic market. The Kenyan economic expert James Shikwati nevertheless views the agreement with scepticism. „The imbalance is huge. In my view, there are more advantages for the European Union. It will set the rules and standards. For example, Germany recently enacted a supply chain law and trading partners have to follow it. Again, Kenya does not set the rules itself.“

Nigeria: Fight against corruption – The „Tinubu whirlwind“. Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu removes the head of the anti-corruption agency. Together with the head of the Ten Valley Bank, he is now in custody.

Morocco’s filmmakers: A new generation of Moroccan filmmakers is inspiring the youth after winning three prestigious awards at the Cannes Film Festival last month. Asmae El Moudir won the director’s prize in the Un Certain Regard section for her film „Kadib Abyad“ („The Mother of All Lies“), while Kamal Lazraq won the jury prize for his feature film „Les Meutes“ („The Dogs“). „The Moroccan films shown in Cannes are among the best in the history of Moroccan cinema,“ said film critic Bilal Marmid, who covered the two-week festival on the Côte d’Azur. Moudir, 32, explored her family’s history in her documentary, which focused on Morocco’s so-called Lead Years, a period from the 1960s to the 1980s marked by the repression of political dissidents under King Hassan II. Without access to archival footage from the period, the director built a miniature set that recreated her childhood neighbourhood in Casablanca with characters to tell her family’s story against the backdrop of the bloody suppression of the „bread riots“ in June 1981. „Shooting this film took 10 years and allowed me to reconcile with this past, even if it was violent,“ says Moudir, whose family members are featured in the film.


Genetically modified trees are supposed to bind more CO2: Scientists assume that millions of years ago, huge mats of ferns covered the oceans. These absorbed large amounts of CO2 and stored the greenhouse gas. When the ferns died, they sank to the bottom of the sea. The salt water ensured slow decay and thus prevented the carbon dioxide from being released. On this basis, the research team wants to develop a tree that could save our climate. This tree should grow as quickly as possible and bind significantly more carbon dioxide than other trees. It is also important that the leaves rot only slowly.

Mysterious ocean heat: The development is unusual – and worrying. Since mid-March, the surface water of the oceans has been warmer than ever before with a global average of around 21 degrees. Climate researcher Melissa Lazenby of the University of Sussex speaks of a warming of the ocean surfaces unprecedented since 1850. In the North Atlantic it is even warmer: almost 23 degrees were measured there. That is 1.1 degrees more than usual and more than ever before at this time of year since satellite measurements began 40 years ago. The intensity of this anomaly also surprises ocean and climate researchers. The spatial extent and timing of the phenomenon raise questions about causes and consequences. Researchers expect increasing extreme weather conditions.

Iraq most affected by climate change in the Middle East: Iraq is ranked by the United Nations as the country most affected by climate change in the Middle East and the consequences for individual regions. While oil exports are increasing, the water table in some regions is dropping dramatically. In the oil-rich but extremely dry south, only muddy canals remain of some wetlands that once fed entire communities. In 2018, an acute water crisis in Basra led to nearly 120,000 people requiring temporary medical treatment. Protests, some violent, erupted as demonstrators threw petrol bombs at government buildings and security forces responded with live ammunition, leaving at least five people dead.

Cruise ships: In these cities, air pollution from cruise liners is particularly severe.
Less climate-friendly than promised: BMW and the all-too-beautiful story of CO2-free aluminium.
Ireland: Thinks about killing 200,000 cows – for the climate.


26.6.2023 12:45- 14:20

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke learns about interim results of the Special Investigation Programme Oder of the IGB

After last summer’s environmental disaster in the Oder River, the Federal Environment Ministry awarded a comprehensive research project to the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) with more than 4.8 million euros at the beginning of February 2023 to closely examine the ecological consequences of the fish kill in the Oder River. Next Monday, 26 June, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke will visit the IGB in Berlin-Friedrichshagen and find out about interim results of the Oder special investigation programme.

The aim of the project is to systematically record the damage caused and the regeneration of the Oder ecosystem and to derive recommendations on how the resilience of the Oder can be increased and the river renaturalised. The results are also to be used for other watercourses in Germany.

Following the presentation of the interim results on the damage assessment and regeneration of fish stocks as well as initial findings on the brackish water alga Prymnesium parvum and its damage risks, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke and experts from the IGB will be available to answer questions. This will be followed by a guided tour of the IGB’s outdoor sturgeon breeding station.


29.6.2023, 7:00 pm

Online lecture: (When) will we fly climate-neutral?

Protect the Planet invites you to an online lecture with Germanwatch Director Christoph Bals. It is about a climate question that is on the minds of many: When will we fly climate-neutral? Is that even possible?  Flying is the most climate-damaging way to travel. But the CO2 effect is only one part of the climate problem; there are also (factor 3) particles, ozone formation and condensation trails. A lot of research is being done into technical alternatives – and promises are being made (e.g. Lufthansa: „I can fly 100% CO2-neutral“). New aircraft models, electrification and e-fuels – synthetic climate-friendly fuels. The EU will prescribe steadily increasing quotas for the admixture of e-fuels (up to 70% in 2050) and environmental labels for CO2 per flight kilometre.  But: Only non-flying is climate-friendly! Flight avoidance plus the use of climate-friendly airlines is called for; and pressure on politicians and airlines to make clear decisions, such as CO2 taxation of paraffin or short-haul flight bans. Our expert of the evening: Christoph Bals, political director of Germanwatch e.V. and member of the advisory board of atmosfair.



Bicycle helmets: regulation leads to new fashion in Japan

The legislator has spoken: Japan’s population is to make an effort to wear head protection when cycling. This promptly led to a new helmet fashion. Regulations in Japan often only have a guiding character. But in the case of the new helmet „obligation“ for cyclists, this is actually enshrined in the text of the law. Because since 1 April, cyclists are not only obliged to put a helmet on children riding with them, but Article 63-11, Paragraph 1 of the Road Traffic Act now also unequivocally stipulates: „Cyclists must make an effort to wear a helmet.“ Must make an effort? Read correctly. The state does not threaten helmet refusers with fines. As with masks during the Corona pandemic, it is recommended, not imposed. So what exactly is now threatened remains unclear. Lawyers already suspect that a missing helmet in an accident may lead to courts awarding less compensation or pain and suffering to the helmetless victim. But the legal appeal is already having an effect – especially in the range of bicycle helmets on offer. In the newspaper „Asahi“, a bicycle dealer reports that helmet sales increased sixteenfold in March. This is because suddenly not only cyclists want to wear helmets, but also mothers and fathers on their mama-chari, Japan’s iconic city bikes with one or two permanently mounted child seats or shopping baskets. And suddenly a new helmet category is becoming popular: bicycle helmets that are not even recognisable as such at first glance.

to the German edition

All images, unless otherwise stated:

You are receiving this newsletter because you are interested in environmental and sustainable issues.