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Decarbonisation of the economy: A climate-neutral industry in Germany should be established primarily through green lead markets, advises the Scientific Advisory Council of the Ministry of Economics. Climate protection contracts between the state and companies – for green steel, for example – are viewed quite sceptically by the committee. In terms of climate policy, the switch to green steel has no real alternative. Steel currently causes 30 per cent of Germany’s CO2 emissions in industry. If other basic materials from the cement or chemical industry are added, this adds up to almost two thirds of the industrial emissions of currently around 180 million tonnes of CO2 annually. ,

How energy supply is becoming dependent on the weather: According to the International Energy Agency, electricity supply and demand will no longer be separated from the weather in the future. Heat waves would have led to increased use of air conditioning – cold snaps to power outages. Drought and heat waves in Europe, India and China led to increased use of air conditioning last summer, while the onset of winter in the USA triggered significant power outages, the IEA said in its Electricity Market Report 2023 in Paris on Wednesday. It said this highlighted the need for faster decarbonisation and accelerated deployment of clean energy technologies.,,

598,500 Gas heating

were sold in Germany last year – despite rising gas prices. Gas heating was thus by far the most sought-after heat generator in this country. The heat pump, which is particularly favoured by the federal government for reasons of climate protection, also had a strong increase in sales of 53 percent last year, but in absolute numbers, with 236,000 devices, it remained significantly behind the sales success of gas heating.

Denmark approves CO2 storage in the North Sea: CCS technology in Denmark is making decisive progress. For the first time, three companies have been granted permits to store C02 on a large scale under the Danish part of the North Sea. Work is to begin immediately.

Consumers have to wait: While consumers of gas and electricity are being swiftly relieved by the so-called December aid, consumers of other means of heating must continue to wait. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology admits the delays and explains that the administrative agreement is „now making rapid progress“. This is necessary so that the Länder can pay out the federal hardship money for private households with coal, liquid gas or wood pellet heating systems. In the meantime, the homeowners‘ association Haus&Grund has asked Chancellor Olaf Scholz to reach a „speedy agreement on an administrative arrangement“ between the federal government and the Länder.

The dispute over nuclear logistics is coming to a head: the former Würgassen nuclear power plant in the Weserbergland region is to serve as a logistics centre for the planned final repository in Lower Saxony’s Konrad shaft, i.e. an interim storage facility. But resistance is stirring in the region. The citizens‘ initiative „Atomfreies 3-Ländereck“ has commissioned an expert opinion from the planning office RegioConsult. According to the report, the expert opinions referred to by the federally owned Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung (BGZ) are clearly flawed. Above all, RegioConsult sees problems with the transport connections. The road connections are not sufficient for the planned quantities of nuclear waste to be delivered. And in the assessment of the rail connection, the need for renovation of single-track lines and bridges has not been taken into account. ,

Against China – global coal phase-out not possible: Current climate policies, including efforts like those of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, will not lead to a global coal phase-out, a recently published study shows. Countries that want to phase out coal-fired power generation need to expand their policies, otherwise they risk shifting excess coal supply to other industries at home, such as steel production. China has a chance to shape the renewable energy market if it starts phasing out coal immediately, according to the research. Otherwise, it could dangerously delay the global breakthrough of renewables. ,


Und wenn wir einfach die Sonne verdunkeln?

The risky game of trying to stop the climate crisis with geoengineering

The climate crisis is progressing at breakneck speed. It is becoming increasingly likely that humans will at some point attempt to actively manipulate the climate in order to cool the earth. What sounds like science fiction is already frighteningly realistic: one form of geoengineering, spraying sulphur in the stratosphere to reflect sunlight, is so cheap that it can be implemented by any wayward billionaire. Legal regulations are lacking, even though the technique could have serious side effects for humans and nature.

Gernot Wagner set up the first research programme on solar geoengineering at Harvard and is convinced: it is only a matter of time before the technology is used. He provides an insight into the opportunities and risks of this climate manipulation – comprehensible, entertaining and with a cautionary view of the coming years.


Sustainable consumption: Energy efficiency is an incentive to buy.
Denmark: Why the country is putting dozens of offshore wind projects on ice.
Wilhelmshaven: A new expert report questions the permanent biocide discharge at the LNG terminal approved by the Lower Saxony authorities.
Brazil: Toxic ghost ship sunk 350 kilometres off the coast.
Aldi: Introduces better animal husbandry.
Import decline: Imports of Russian natural gas have fallen by 86 per cent in two years.
Raw materials: Enough to supply the world with renewable energy, mining has social and environmental impacts.
CBAM and China: Green tariff could act as ‚external incentive‘ to motivate China’s carbon market to grow.
USA: Deny North Stream 2 sabotage allegations.

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.


How climate change affects travel

Environmental meteorologist Andreas Matzarakis explains in this week’s Travelholics podcast how the advancing climate change is affecting the travel industry and the travel behaviour of tourists. Guest in the Travelholic podcast studio was climate impact researcher Andreas Matzarakis (environmental meteorologist from the DWD). At the DRV annual conference in Morocco, podcaster Roman Borch met him shortly after his presentation to talk about the effects of very hot temperatures and tips on how to behave, especially when travelling and in areas where heat waves are particularly extreme. Borch pointed out in the conversation that Matzarakis is reported to have said at the last meeting in Greece: „Only donkeys and Central Europeans go out in the sun at noon. Everyone else does it sensibly and goes into the shade.“ The climate impact researcher explained that the biological factors that affect the skin are quite important. Borch and Matzarakis noted that it is getting hotter and hotter every year – and heat waves with their devastating consequences are unfortunately part of the reality that tourism professionals and tourists have to face.



Aldi’s meat promise: When discounters overtake politics

by Johanna Apel

Now Aldi wants to get serious. After the discounter announced two years ago that it would ban fresh meat from the low farming systems 1 and 2 from its shelves by 2030, it is now extending its plan to all meat and sausage products. Salami and the like will then only be available from animals that have contact with fresh air or proper exercise. In principle, this is good news for animal welfare. The fact that Germany’s largest discounter will no longer offer products that barely meet the legal minimum requirements is a step towards more animal welfare. While politicians are still making plans, retailers are simply moving forward. …

But one thing is clear: Aldi’s move will cause a tremor in agriculture. If the discount giant ceases to be a customer, farms with low standards of husbandry will have the choice of converting, being ousted – or exporting. For the sake of animal welfare, ecology and the preservation of local agriculture, policy-makers must now do everything they can to ensure that only the first scenario occurs. And they must keep in mind those people who cannot simply afford expensive meat. A balancing act, no doubt. But Aldi has gone ahead – now it’s the politicians‘ turn.


Railway rehabilitation plan until 2030: Deutsche Bahn wants to close these lines completely. The DB Group wants to completely renovate 43 main lines over a period of five months. But many diversions routes are in poor condition. Passengers are in for grief.

Why Germany is not yet a cycling country: Germany should have a seamless cycling network. However, there is still a long way to go: Well-developed cycle paths are still lacking in many places. Why is the expansion not progressing?

Bus drivers in short supply: Representatives of the bus industry are sounding the alarm: According to forecasts, there will be a shortage of 87,000 bus drivers by 2030. The current figure is much higher than before. Previously, the shortage was put at around 76,000. The industry representatives are therefore demanding changes in training.

T&E test: Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) are still being touted as a climate-friendly solution, according to the environmental organisation T&E, but tests of the best-selling PHEV models from BMW and two other brands showed that they emit more CO2 than stated in city and commuter traffic. T&E is therefore calling for a swift end to tax breaks for plug-in hybrid service cars.

Porsche manager proposes putting e-fuels on an equal footing with fossil fuels: If it were up to Porsche, e-fuels should not be more expensive. In order to put them on an equal footing with fossil fuels, subsidies would be better than making them more expensive.

Big plan for a big day: Tesla boss announces concept for completely sustainable energy.


How 100 German companies want to produce hydrogen in the North Sea: It is already being called „Our Saudi Arabia“, the North Sea on our doorstep. „What Saudi Arabia has with oil, we have in the North Sea,“ says Urs Wahl, meaning: Ideal conditions and almost inexhaustible reserves. He is the spokesman for the AquaVentus network. More than 100 German companies have joined forces to produce green hydrogen in the North Sea and deliver it by pipeline to the coast. AquaVentus expects to have around ten gigawatts of capacity installed by 2035.

Hydrogen transport: Hydrogen is in demand, but so far it can only be transported over long distances at high cost. Tree Energy Solutions wants to solve this core logistics problem.
When hydrogen pays off: Hydrogen is supposed to reduce CO2 emissions. According to a new study, however, demand will remain low for some time. Subsidies do not always promise much.

High water consumption: Where should the water for the production of green hydrogen come from?

EU has no hydrogen plan „All strategies run in parallel – that costs“:  Everyone involved agrees that green hydrogen is the fuel of the future. But no one can say how it will get there and where it will be needed – different interest groups are arguing for very different strategies. Aspiring hydrogen nations like Spain want to produce clean hydrogen for countries like Germany cheaply with their solar power and then deliver it – but trans-European pipelines are lacking for this. Some German companies would prefer to produce hydrogen themselves, but they lack the renewable energy to do so. And then there are the expensive liquefied natural gas terminals that are being built to obtain hydrogen from Chile or Africa, but: „It is not at all clear whether they are really suitable for hydrogen,“ explains Lisa Fischer from the think tank E3G. And even if they were, transport by sea would probably be the most expensive of all the ideas, because hydrogen can be burned well, but not transported. ,

How could demand and prices for hydrogen develop by 2045? A new study by Fraunhofer ISI, which was realised as part of the BMBF-funded project „HyPat – Global H2 Potential Atlas“, starts here and looks at the price-elastic demand for hydrogen in areas such as industry, transport and energy conversion. Detailed simulation models depict alternative options for achieving climate goals and the potential role of hydrogen.


Government sees world not on course for 2030: According to the German government, the global community is currently not on course to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals agreed upon in the United Nations‘ 2030 Agenda. This is stated in its answer (20/5478) to a minor question by the AfD parliamentary group (20/5295). According to the government, the mid-term review of the goals formulated in 2015 will make this clear. Above all, many goals have stagnated or even declined. However, the „strong commitment of the international community“ shows that the world community has the „strong will“ to continue implementing this „global consensus on sustainability transformation“, the response says.

Setting the framework for sustainability work in companies: In order to shape the framework for feasible yet ambitious sustainability work in companies from the political side, companies need clear guidance on which instruments they can use to achieve good sustainability reporting. This was made clear by Christian Geßner, head of the Centre for Sustainable Corporate Governance (ZNU) at the University of Witten/Herdecke, on Wednesday evening during a public expert discussion of the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development on the topic of „Sustainable Corporate Governance“. more at

Leasing of land mainly to organic farms: A large part of the agricultural land still available to the federally owned Bodenverwertungs- und -verwaltungs GmbH (BVVG) is to be leased in the future. According to the Federal Government’s answer (20/5467) to a minor question by the parliamentary group Die Linke (20/5057), land will be leased primarily, but not exclusively, to organic or sustainable farms. In 2022, a first round of tenders was held, which was limited to organic farms. If no contract was awarded, all market participants could have submitted a lease bid in a second round of bidding. According to the Federal Government, there were new leases for a total area of 17,750 hectares as of 1 October 2022. Of this, 13,830 hectares were leased to organic farms.


Experts call for improvements to single-use plastic levy: The levy planned by the Federal Government for manufacturers of single-use plastic products is viewed positively by the majority of experts. Nevertheless, at a public hearing of the Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection on Wednesday, the experts also advised for amendments to the draft law, which is to implement the European Directive on „Reducing the Impact of Certain Plastic Products on the Environment“ (20/5164). Several experts argued that the draft law was too limited to certain single-use plastic products such as to-go cups, light carrier bags, wet wipes, balloons and tobacco filters. The goal must be to reduce all disposable products, regardless of their material properties, as a representative of the German Association of Cities put it. Environmental associations also complained that the incentive effect was too weak: the approach to avoid plastic products was missing. more at

Government on the new version of the Energy Industry Act: According to a survey by the Federal Network Agency, 51 of 57 distribution network operators are able to centrally switch equipment in the high-voltage sector. However, none of the distribution grid operators surveyed is currently able to dynamically control grids in the low-voltage sector, the so-called household electricity. This is the result of an answer of the federal government (20/5444) to a small question of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (20/5198). The CDU/CSU had asked about the planned revision of section 14 of the Energy Industry Act (EnWG). This provides for a reduction of the grid fees for those consumers who have concluded an agreement with the grid operator on the grid-oriented control of consumption devices or of grid connections. Specifically, the MPs had wanted to find out from the federal government, among other things, how many distribution grid operators can dynamically control their grids, why a reduction in output is not considered a last resort and why battery storage facilities, which bring flexibility and could thus prevent shutdowns, are classified as controllable consumers in this procedure. In answer to the latter questions, the Federal Government explains that power reduction is envisaged as a last resort in the Federal Network Agency’s key issues paper. Battery storage systems would be „addressed within the framework of the determination procedure according to section 14 EnWG, as they have a high degree of flexibility, similar to heat pumps and electric vehicles“. However, the use of the flexibility of battery storage beyond this remains „untouched and left to the market“, according to the government’s response.


The fact that we only have to work with what are actually insufficient resources is due to the fact that obstructionists from the fossil industries have been holding up the energy transition for years. This began 15 years ago when the costs for renewable energies were artificially inflated. In fact, the costs of fossil energies are significantly higher, which can no longer be denied today. A forward-looking energy policy would have spared us this cost explosion. We finally have to radically change course.

Prof. Claudia Kemfert, expert for energy and climate economics, … the current government is unfortunately repeating the mistakes of the past. The real energy transition is still not being implemented. Instead, we only invest in outdated technologies, we talk about nuclear energy, we build terminals for liquid gas. This is maddening. We put millions into completely oversized fossil infrastructure, for which we would pay twice in just a few years. Just as we invested 15 years ago in pipelines that we never needed and never will. Furthermore, we are financing the Russian war with our energy policy, despite the turn of the times. The risks are well known.


Discussion – Green-coloured influence: On Europe’s dealings with African states: There is an assumption that the poor only need to be integrated into the modern world economy and then everything will be fine. As if they haven’t been for a long time. Firstly, it may be trite, but Africa has in fact not emerged from its role as a supplier of raw materials since colonialism. Among other things, due to the tariff escalation also of the European countries, which usually demand significantly higher tariffs for processed products, and due to the investment agreements that prohibit governments from insisting on value-added production at home.

World powers in competition: Africa is rich in natural resources and geopolitical importance. For months, China, Russia and the USA have been vying for the continent’s favour. In the process, the three world powers are pursuing different goals and strategies – Moscow in particular is becoming increasingly entangled in

„Africa could feed the world“: Nowhere is so much agricultural land left unused as in Africa. The successful farmer Emma Naluyima wants to change that – and is sure: The continent could supply the rest of the world with cheap food.

East African leaders call for ceasefire in eastern Congo: The leaders of the East African Community (EAC) called for an immediate ceasefire from all parties to the conflict during a summit in Bujumbura, Burundi, last Saturday. The meeting was called by Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye, who also chaired the summit. In addition to the heads of state from the President of the Democratic Republic (DR Congo), Félix Tshisekedi, and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame were present.

South Africa: Power cuts hit wine industry.
Morocco: France does damage control in Rabat as it moves closer to authoritarian Algeria.


Indonesia -Commodities against investments: Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo no longer wants to supply only raw materials. His goal is to turn Indonesia into an industrialised country by 2045. To achieve this, he already banned the export of mineral ores in 2014, says Frank Malerius, who is based in Jarkarta for Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI). The idea was to force more processing to take place in the country, through domestic smelters or foreigners who invest. But this ban has been very full of holes, says Malerius. Therefore, the government is tightening the requirements for raw material exports. Since the beginning of 2020, anyone who wants nickel must invest and process the raw material locally. Indonesia cannot be circumvented so easily, as it has the world’s largest reserves of nickel and nickel is urgently needed – for refining steel, but also in e-car batteries.

German plastic waste in the Arctic: The Arctic and especially the Spitsbergen archipelago, which belongs to Norway, is a kind of repository of plastic waste for almost the entire world. Marine biologist Melanie Bergmann from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) had already researched this a long time ago. Now, together with Anna Natalie Meyer, she has examined the mountains of waste. In a study, they found that one third of the clearly identifiable plastic originates in Europe – a large part of it comes from Germany.

Social tipping points are increasingly coming into view in climate protection: The behaviour of a few can have a considerable influence on the behaviour of many, and it is mostly other people who motivate people to act. As social beings, we want to belong and look to others for behaviour, a primal instinct. „Social norms provide a script, a template for how the individual should behave in certain situations,“ says social psychologist Immo Fritsche of Leipzig University. „Thus they have an uncanny power over us, even if we don’t notice anything about it.“ The concept of social tipping points is therefore playing an increasingly important role in relation to climate change.

Carve Out: When companies split up for sustainability.
Global warming: How desert dust and industrial emissions have cooled the climate so far.
Climate change: When winter gets out of sync.
TUI: Wants to reduce its ecological footprint.


Conflicts and opportunities of the ecological-social transport transition


Thu, 16 February 2023 | 10:00 – 15:20 at Forum Factory (Besselstraße 13-14, 10969 Berlin) and via Livestream

The Forum Ökologisch-Soziale Marktwirtschaft (Forum for an Ecological-Social Market Economy) invites you to the final conference of the associations‘ project „Ökologisch-Soziale Verkehrswende – Impulse für eine gerechte Transformation“ (Ecological-Social Transformation of Transport – Impulses for a Just Transformation). On site in Berlin or online via livestream, we want to talk about the conflicts and opportunities of the ecological-social transformation of transport with exciting speakers on 16.2.2023. High fuel prices, fuel discounts and 9-euro tickets have made it clear: transport policy is also social policy. The mobility turnaround necessary for climate protection entails both opportunities and conflicts. Low-cost public transport is good for the climate and reduces mobility poverty. The planned electrification and rising CO2 prices, on the other hand, will present many people with financial challenges. At the event, we want to highlight these opportunities and conflicts and find possible solutions. Since transport policy cannot master this alone, an integrative view across different policy fields is necessary.

We want to discuss with representatives from associations, science and politics which instruments are needed for a just transport transition and which conflicts and challenges are associated with the integration of different policy fields. We look forward to an exchange with Martin Schmied (Federal Environment Agency), Dr. Wiebke Zimmer (Agora Verkehrswende), Prof. Dr. Gernot Liedtke (German Aerospace Center), Astrid Schaffert (German Caritas Association) and Dirk Flege (Pro-Rail Alliance).

The event is the conclusion of our project Ökologisch-Soziale Verkehrswende – Impulse für eine gerechte Transformation, which is funded by the Federal Environment Agency. The project focuses on the social issues of the transport transition and how these can be addressed with the financial instruments of transport and climate policy.


Whistleblower bill fails in Bundesrat: The bill for „better protection of whistleblowers“ did not receive the necessary majority and approval in the Bundesrat on Friday. The Bundestag had passed the law in December, but it cannot now enter into force with the no vote from the Länder chamber. The federal government and the Bundestag are now expected to use their option to call on the mediation committee to negotiate a compromise with the states. Whistleblowers who draw attention to wrongdoing in companies or in the public administration should be protected more strongly by the law from retaliatory measures such as dismissal or other disadvantages: The Bundestag wanted to prohibit reprisals directed against whistleblowers. With the resolution, the parliament also wanted to implement the EU Whistleblowing Directive with a one-year delay. The EU Commission has already initiated infringement proceedings against Germany because of the delay, so time is actually running out.

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