to the German edition
Certificates against land grabbing: Climate experts want to prevent Germany from disappearing under concrete. Trading in so-called land certificates is supposed to protect nature – and help achieve climate goals. n order to slow down climate change, Germany must stop building up its landscape. Scientists as well as politicians from the Greens and the SPD therefore propose a system of freely tradable building permits with a steadily decreasing upper limit, similar to the existing trade in CO2 emission rights. Justification: Open spaces, especially forests and moors, can absorb greenhouse gases and must therefore be protected. faz.net
Supply Chain Act – fines not yet determined: In the draft bill of the planned Supply Chain Act there is a blank space at an important point. The fines for companies that violate human rights are still marked with „Y“ and „Z“. It is foreseeable that the dispute between the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Economics will continue here. It can also be assumed that the CDU parliamentary group will try to influence the draft law. Elsewhere, the Supply Chain Act has taken shape, 65 posts for the supervisory authority are provided for in the draft bill. taz.de , rnd.de
3.7 million emails per second were sent worldwide last year. Per second. That’s more than 117,480 billion per year, about three quarters of which are spam emails. If you take a CO2 footprint of one mail of 10g CO2, that’s a little more than 1.1 billion tonnes of CO2). In 2020, the newsletters received by a single citizen of Germany were responsible for the emission of 30 kg of CO2, which is equivalent to driving 250 km in a Volkswagen. And of these emails, only 25 per cent were opened. solarify.de
Challenges in European climate legislation: It is not only the automotive industry that is currently looking to Brussels. This spring, the climate legislation is to be passed. Will it happen? There is a dispute in Brussels about the centrepiece of the European Green Deal. The discussion revolves around which of two systems the governments will opt for. Either the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which has been in place since 2005 and has so far only covered industry and energy producers, such as coal-fired power plants and chemical factories. Under this scheme, companies are allocated CO2 certificates, partly free of charge. For the other sectors (transport, agriculture and buildings), the EU sets a climate target for each member state – so-called effort sharing. Each government decides for itself what incentives or bans it will set in order to achieve the targets. Now the governments are faced with the decision to either increase the targets at the national level for cars, animal husbandry and heating or to extend emissions trading throughout Europe to all sectors – in other words, a uniform CO2 price for everything and everyone. That could be more expensive, also for Germany. spiegel.de
USA promises turnaround in climate policy: For Kerry, this is the occasion to be honest, humble and ambitious. Because the global community is not nearly where it should be, he said. He feels humble because the USA has been inexcusably absent for four years. „We all need to strive harder to get the job done,“ the American urged. The US is back in international climate action: US climate envoy Kerry promised swift action at the virtual Munich Security Conference. He swore in other governments not to hesitate. tagesschau.de
Net-Zero keeps companies busy: More and more companies want to set their own climate targets. Preferably „Net Zero“, as the saying goes. Greenwashing or not, due to EU climate legislation and CO2 tariffs at the borders, companies are forced to act. . They promise to do less damage to the climate in the future. So far, no company has managed to become completely climate neutral on its own. faz.net
Texas – Governor blames renewables: The persistent cold in the USA, especially in Texas, is stirring up emotions. Texas Governor Greg Abbott blames the collapse of the power system on renewable energies. In an interview with the US channel Fox News, he said the electricity debacle shows how important fossil fuels are to ensure „that we can heat our homes in the winter and cool them in the summer“. nyt.com
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
„Capital Tree – the Book of Trees„
Trees are fascinating creatures – from the tangled roots deep in the forest floor, through the trunk and foliage to the highest treetop. They can live for hundreds of years and are indispensable for humans. Through their growth, they bind carbon dioxide and produce valuable oxygen. And thus contribute to climate protection. The guidebook „Capital Tree. The Book of Trees“ aims to help people better understand the green giants and their important role in life on earth. With many colour photos, trees and forests from all parts of the world are presented and their special features described.
In the process, one learns that trees can not only be huge but also dwarf-sized, that they protect against heat and provide coolness. But also that they are true production wonders and suppliers of medicine, and that they can communicate with their fellow species. But it is not only about the origin and understanding of trees, also their place in culture, their importance in fairy tales and myths and as guarantors for animals in the forest are presented. The world needs many trees: this is the motto of the book „Kapital Baum“ (Tree Capital), which aims to awaken the desire for more trees. For only by planting new trees and preserving and protecting the forests, says the author Ulrich Kronberg, publisher of the sailing magazine „Palstek“, can planet Earth be preserved and made liveable. And that, according to the author, is also absolutely necessary for the world’s climate. Kronberg uses many examples to show how new forests can be created – and that everyone can also help. With the purchase price of this book, one therefore also receives – symbolically – a Narra tree as a gift. The national tree of the Philippines is under strict nature conservation, as it was radically cut down due to its dark red wood colour. As part of the MyTree project led by Ulrich Kronberg, 11,000 narra trees were planted in the Philippines. Using the planting coordinates, anyone can track „their“ tree. palstek.de
Amazon court ruling: Must tell its customers the country of origin when ordering fresh fruit and vegetables. zeit.de
Court rulings II: More and more climate issues invite court action. faz.net
New WTO chief: Carbon Border Adjustments biggest challenge for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. klimareporter.de
Microplastics: The particles have been found in almost all stages of the food chain – from whales to tiny plankton. jetzt.de
Climate activists call for more ECB action against climate change: They have held the European Central Bank (ECB) partly responsible for the climate crisis and called on it to take a more ecological approach. euractiv.de
Bill Gates: Wants to save the climate and backs nuclear power. focus.de
Better narrative: Young CDU politicians want to help their party improve its image on the subject of climate. tagesspiegel.de
The seventeeen 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.
Aral wants to increase its charging points fivefold: The petrol station operator Aral intends to increase its charging points fivefold. Others, such as the electricity giant EnBW, are further ahead. The tariffs charged by the providers – similar to those in the mobile phone market – are opaque. It is obvious that fast charging will cost more than slow charging. faz.net
EU Commission examines funds for the railways: The EU Commission’s examination of the funds totalling eleven billion euros made available to Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG) until 2030 as part of the Federal Government’s climate package is still ongoing. This was announced by the Federal Government in its answer (19/26363) to a minor question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/26019). „A Private Investor Test (PIT) is required to confirm that no aid is involved,“ the government writes. After sending the PIT to the EU Commission at the end of May 2020, three comprehensive questionnaires were answered by the Commission in a timely manner, most recently on 17 December 2020. According to the answer, twelve working-level discussions on the state of play and timetable took place between the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), the EU Commission and DB AG. According to the Federal Government, the preliminary talks with the EU Commission on the approval of the equity capital increase as part of the compensation for pandemic-related damage are still ongoing. After clarification of the open questions and notification, it is expected that the formal procedure can be concluded promptly, it says.
Experience with trolleybus trucks: So far, 154.1 million euros have been approved for projects in the context of trolleybus truck technology. This is stated in the Federal Government’s answer (19/26499) to a minor question (19/25894) from the AfD parliamentary group. When asked about further funding measures in the field of e-trucks, the Federal Government refers to the overall concept for climate-friendly commercial vehicles presented in November 2020. This concept provides for the promotion of the procurement of commercial vehicles with alternative drives. In addition, further pilot routes in the area of overhead line technology are to be established by around 2023, especially on heavily travelled commuter routes. Overhead line trucks (E-trucks) are electrically powered trucks that are supplied with electricity by an overhead line. According to its own information, the Federal Government is not aware of any accidents involving overhead line e-trucks on the two test routes so far.
Eco label for airlines: The EU is increasing the pressure on the airline industry: all aircraft and flights are soon to be assessed according to their environmental impact. An eco-label is planned, as customers already know it from televisions and dishwashers. welt.de
Bicycle industry booming: The bicycle industry is a growth market and does almost without tax breaks or government subsidies. fair-economics.de
No increased fire risk from electric vehicles in underground garages: „Electric vehicles that catch fire can be extinguished by the fire brigade,“ says Peter Bachmeier, chief fire officer. He is in charge of the fire prevention department of the Munich Fire Brigade. Extinguishing fires may be more difficult than fighting fires from conventionally powered vehicles. However, it is no more complex or dangerous than a fire in a gas-powered vehicle. feuerwehrmagazin.de
Daimler rehearses exit: 2021 will be a fateful year for Daimler. The spin-off of the truck division is only an intermediate step towards an even more far-reaching revolution: Mercedes could become combustion-free far sooner than previously planned. handelsblatt.com
Largest car-free zone in the world: Within the entire S-Bahn ring „Berlin autofrei“ wants to create the largest car-free zone in the world. Cars should only drive in the city centre when necessary. This is what an initiative wants to achieve by referendum. Now it has presented a draft law. tagesspiegel.de
Gigafactory opening in danger: The Tesla plant in Brandenburg is supposed to be completed this summer. But the opening date is in doubt: Fence lizards and creeping snakes are thwarting Elon Musk’s plan for the Gigafactory. bild.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
Delayed call-off of funds in the Clean Air Programme: According to the Federal Government, projects in the amount of 1.39 billion euros were approved in the „Immediate Clean Air Programme 2017-2020“ until 31 December 2020. According to the government’s answer (19/26346) to a small question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/25971), 229.13 million euros had been disbursed by the same date. According to the federal government, the municipalities are delaying the call-up of the funds. The reasons for the numerous delays cited by the recipients of the funds were problems with staff recruitment, bottlenecks with contractors and suppliers, the postponement of construction phases, and complex project environments in which changes in higher-level (urban) planning also had an impact on the projects. In addition, Covid 19-related additional delays often lead to extensive extensions of the project duration and thus to significant shifts of funds to subsequent years, according to the response.
„There are many people here who want to exploit the region economically. Because of the timber, the gold and the soya. The mining company Anglo American wants to mine in our area. There are also big projects like dams and a planned railway line. Those who oppose them are threatened. Often by pistoleiros – people who are paid to kill. Their only way is to eliminate people like me.“
Alessandra Korac Mundkuruku, environmental activist near the small town of Itaituba in the northern Brazilian state of Pará. Bolsonaro (the Brazilian president) has always despised indigenous people and environmentalists. Everything he said was bad for Brazil’s indigenous peoples. There had also been invasions of their territories in the past. But there were organs that punished invaders and threw them off their land. Bolsonaro and his Environment Minister Ricardo Salles are now trying to dismantle precisely these organs. Since the government took office, he said, mining in indigenous areas had increased massively. Only a few days ago, the governor of the state of Roraima had authorised the mining of mercury in the region. This will have devastating consequences for the indigenous people. taz.de
AI should prevent language extinction in Africa: Because a student from Bremen barely understands his African mother, he invents a translation app for regional languages. zdf.de
Obesity in Africa: the fat must go. Obesity is becoming a widespread disease in many African countries. In cities like Nairobi, fast food is often served instead of vegetables. The fitness concept Zumba helps – at least for the wealthy. spiegel.de
Planting trees in Tanzania: Conservationists want to plant 15 million trees in the Tanzanian Usambara mountain region. Many endemic species – creatures that only exist here – are found at altitudes of up to 2,300 metres. „Because of the richness of species, this area is reminiscent of the Galapagos Islands,“ says biologist Charles Tupa. As he explains, it was German colonialists who started clearing the rainforest to grow coffee, tea, rubber and white cabbage. freitag.de
Müller advocates tourism to Africa: The German development minister pleads for allowing tourist travel to Africa even in the Corona pandemic. Meanwhile, the number of deaths registered there exceeds a sad threshold. dw.com
Structures instead of security: Fears of terrorism are stirred up to justify military operations in the Sahel. This ignores the real problems on the ground. taz.de
Angola: What really happened during protests in the diamond areas? After deadly clashes between demonstrators and police forces in the diamond region of Lunda Norte, the versions of those involved differ widely. Not only the UN and the EU are demanding clarification. dw.com
Terror trial in Rwanda: Movie hero or terrorist?In Rwanda, the rebel army FLN, classified as a terror group, is on trial. The most prominent defendant: its leader Paul Rusesabagina. taz.de
Africa’s Start-ups: Resistant to Corona? Corona has hit Africa’s economy hard, but young African start-ups are fighting the virus. Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit is flourishing and young founders are not only drawing a negative response from the pandemic year. dw.com
Activities of the Federal Ministries in African states: The activities of the Federal Ministries in the context of development cooperation in African countries are the subject of a small question (19/26381) by the FDP parliamentary group. The MPs want to know which concrete projects and measures the respective ministries have started since the beginning of the 19th parliamentary term of the German Bundestag, which concrete budget funds have been used for them annually and what the purpose of the respective projects was. The parliamentary group is also interested in whether an evaluation has taken place.
Sea level rise in the monitor: There is always talk of rising sea levels, but what does that mean for Husum, Cuxhaven or Travemünde? A newly developed „sea level monitor“ for the North Sea and the Baltic Sea is to show whether the rise is also accelerating in this country or not. klimareporter.de
The climate risks of financial actors: Financial actors are also exposed to climate risks. Research shows that financial actors are exposed to significant climate risks through their exposure to emissions-intensive sectors, including 43 per cent of pension fund portfolios in the eurozone. These risks can be amplified by the complexity of the financial system and eventually cascade into the economy, for example through tighter bank lending conditions, thus also limiting the ability of companies to invest in climate mitigation and adaptation. Although climate policy in the narrower sense is not one of the tasks of a central bank, it is very much its core task to ensure the stability of the financial markets. It must ensure the resilience of the financial system and help the markets to adapt to the new conditions. derstandard.at
One cow does not make a green agricultural turnaround: Organic farming remains a niche, even though there has long been a political will to make agriculture more sustainable. Only ten percent of all farms in Germany work according to organic standards, and their share of land is seven percent. The EU now has a new goal. It is aiming for an organic area share of 25 percent by 2030. In order to reach this figure, however, Germany would have to make major changes to its agricultural structure. The organic area in vegetable and wine cultivation would have to be tripled, that in arable farming even quintupled. On behalf of the environmental organisation Greenpeace, the Kassel Institute for Rural Development has calculated that this alone would require one billion euros in subsidies. That would be three times more than is currently spent on supporting organic farming. zeit.de
Ash Wednesday: As is well known, everything was over on Ash Wednesday and Lent has begun. BUND calls for a plastic fast. deutschlandfunk.de
How do we heat in a climate-neutral way? Heat pumps can replace gas, oil and coal heating. They use environmental heat and are therefore particularly efficient. dw.com
60 percent organic: In selected Berlin canteen kitchens, an organic share of 60 percent is to be achieved. oekolandbau.de
Oil pollution: Israel closes beaches. rnd.de
THE LAST WORDS
Berlin’s data protectors are seeing red: not at Ampel, but at the providers of video conferences. The services had already been scrutinised several times. The services of Zoom, TeamViewer, the Microsoft services Skype and Teams, GoToMeeting, Google Meet, Cisco Webex and the Jitsi services failed. There is no justification, but the colour red means: „There are deficiencies that preclude legally compliant use of the service and whose elimination will presumably require significant adjustments to business processes“. These include grievances that are already listed in the contract, such as an inadmissible data export, but also service providers that do not appear in the contract and are therefore not permitted. datenschutz-berlin.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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