Bundesumweltamt finds air quality in Germany not good enough: Even though the air quality limit values in Germany were again complied with almost everywhere last year according to a preliminary evaluation, the protection of health is not sufficiently ensured. This was stated by the President of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), Dirk Messner, on the publication of the annual report on air quality. Despite the progress, it must be taken into account that the current limits for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide were set more than 20 years ago and do not correspond to today’s scientific findings, Messner said. The annual average limit value for nitrogen dioxide in Germany, for example, is 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air – the World Health Organisation (WHO) now recommends a limit value of 10 micrograms per cubic metre. zeit.de , tagesschau.de , uba.de
Fertilisers produce more greenhouse gases than aviation and shipping combined: Worldwide, the large-scale use of pesticides and especially synthetic fertilisers is still standard practice. 48 per cent of the world’s population feeds on food that uses synthetic fertiliser to produce it. A study conducted by a team from the University of Cambridge now reveals for the first time the global greenhouse gas emissions associated with nitrogen fertiliser. The use of nitrogen fertiliser provides emissions in the order of 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2 each year, which is more than air travel and shipping combined. derstandard.at
15.3 billion euros
was what Germans spent on organic products last year. Although this is a decrease of 3.5 percent compared to the previous year. However, revenues increased by 25 per cent compared to 2019. In 2020 and 2021, the industry grew particularly strongly, as more people cooked at home during the Corona crisis and often turned to organic food for this purpose. t-online.de
Habeck wants to decommission CO2 certificates from coal phase-out: The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Change (BMWK) wants to take all CO₂ certificates from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that are freed up by the coal phase-out off the market. Even after the recent tightening of the ETS at the EU level, „a residual amount“ of free certificates remains due to the coal phase-out, and „we want to have this residual amount of certificates cancelled“, said a ministry spokesperson. NGOs and climate experts had expressed fears that the country’s coal phase-out, which the government wants to bring forward from the agreed phase-out date of 2038 to 2030, will do nothing for the climate if the freed-up emission allowances can be used elsewhere – a phenomenon often referred to as the „waterbed effect“. table.media.de , cleanenergywire.org
How carbon farming could become a problem for climate targets: Without a significant expansion of CO₂ storage, a climate-neutral Europe remains out of reach. The EU Commission is focusing primarily on carbon farming – but the legal framework for this could now jeopardise the targets. Currently, around 250 million tonnes of CO₂ are stored in the EU – mainly in forests. According to the LULUCF target, the total should grow to 310 million by 2030. „But that’s nothing compared to what we need to achieve by 2050,“ says Christian Holzleiter from the EU Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate. „We expect up to 500 million tonnes of residual emissions. So we need to double the sink rate and that’s a Herculean task.“ capital.de
Danger at the Doomsday Glacier: Researchers have examined the ice sheet of one of the largest Antarctic glaciers. Their discoveries are disturbing. One of the largest glaciers in Antarctica is melting faster in key places than experts had previously expected. Scientists have travelled to the glacier for the first time and examined the bottom of the ice sheet that docks the Thwaites Glacier to land – and discovered deep cracks and terraced structures there. t-online.de‚
orporate climate targets: Climate protection seems to have arrived in the business world, and many companies have set themselves ambitious targets. A study now shows how implementation is going: not well. According to the report, nine out of ten companies are making efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, there is a gap between what is being done and what is needed to reach the targets. More than half of them do not take their own supply chains into account. spiegel.de , cdn.cdp.net
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Slow Food Gourmet Guide 2023/24
The best Slow Food restaurants and inns in Germany
When the restaurants finally open again after a long wait, this is the opportunity to discover gastronomic treasures in the area. The new edition of the „Slow Food Genussführer“ offers the perfect overview for all gourmets who appreciate honest and tasty food.
The special feature of the „Genussführer“ is the search for restaurants that not only do something good for their guests, but also keep an eye on unadulterated cooking and the environment. Here you eat food without flavour enhancers and additives, fresh from the region and prepared in the traditional way. Real „slow“! –
Approximately 470 recommended inns and restaurants
– Special identification of certified organic establishments, brewery inns, inns with wineries and restaurants with vegetarian offerings
– ABC of regional specialities, basic foodstuffs under the magnifying glass and a portrait of selected regions of pleasure. oekom.de
Environmental disaster: A train carrying toxic gases has derailed in Ohio. web.de
Criticism from his own ranks: Scholz is no climate chancellor. spiegel.de
LNG terminals: No critical infrastructure. zdf.de
European Court of Auditors: The Global Climate Change Alliance’s successes fell short of expectations. eca.europa.de
Last generation: Concrete on bottleneck Mühlendammbrücke in Berlin. rbb24.de
Secrecy: Pharmaceuticals enter waterways, sometimes in large quantities, via humans. But data on the risks are often not accessible. spiegel.de
High energy prices: German export surpluses slump. tagesschau.de
Lobbycontrol: Criticism of lobbying by the gas industry. ndr.de
CCS: 30 million tonnes of CO2 storage per year possible under German North Sea. fair-economics.de
RWE: Huge LNG terminal planned off Rügen. Criticism from environmentalists. heise.de
GLS Bank: Leaves climate alliance NZBA. ecoreporter.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.
PODCAST OF THE WEEK:
Why economists want to put a price tag on whales
Salt, the female humpback whale, is a climate saver without knowing it. The almost 50-year-old animal swims several thousand kilometres a year and fertilises the plankton in the sea with her excrement, which binds CO₂. Salt also stores carbon dioxide in her body. As soon as she dies, it will sink to the ocean floor with her. The fact that whales like Salt contribute to the climate has given financial economist Ralph Chami an idea: Why don’t we translate the performance of whales like Salt into the financial system? He calculated a value of two million US dollars for a 60-year-old whale. Author Adrienne Buller criticises this and says this approach is a gateway to green washing. Can we protect whales and thus the climate with capitalism? Is this monetary value just a symbol or does this calculation really help to protect whales? spiegel.de
COMMENT OF THE WEEK:
Language as a climate killer
by Ute Scheub
Too slow, too ineffective, too often ineffective – the Paris climate targets of „significantly less than 2 degrees plus on average“ will not be achieved by any country in the world. This is how the global climate movement judges the actions of national governments around the globe. The fossil fuel lobby is far too strong, governments are too wedded to it or dare too little. But climate science is also somewhat responsible – because of its language. It already started with the term „climate change“. US scientists of the 1970s and 1980s still called the phenomenon the „greenhouse effect“. Greenhouses are hot, people understand that intuitively. But „climate change“? Oh, something always changes. And change sounds like a walk in pleasure, a stroll in cosy halls of change. …. taz.de
BCG study: Profits from diesel and petrol cars will collapse by 2035: Currently, the car industry generates most of its profits with combustion cars. But by 2035, the industry will be radically transformed, predicts the management consultancy BCG. The transformation of the core industry to less climate-damaging drives and increasing connectivity requires enormous expenditures. Many players in the industry are convinced that this will also pay off economically in the end. The merging of individual, increasingly machine-controlled cars with the rest of the transport system could thus give rise to a new super-industry – BCG calculates a total turnover of up to 8.3 trillion and a total profit of 524 billion US dollars (490 billion euros) by the middle of the next decade. The experts analysed the prospects for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. handelsblatt.com
EU wants to reduce CO₂ emissions from trucks by 90 percent by 2040: Trucks and buses generate more than six percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. The EU Commission’s new targets for CO₂ reduction are intended to change this. zeit.de
A quarter of Germans can imagine buying an e-car: Interest in electric cars is stagnating, willingness to use public transport is growing. This is the result of a new survey. golem.de
The future of the e-bike drive? Schaeffler’s chainless hybrid motor goes into series production. ebike-news.de
EU plans: Bicycle to be recognised as a fully-fledged means of transport: Cycling is at least as important as cars and public transport? Yes, if the EU Parliament has its way. A new cycling strategy is now to bring the hitherto neglected means of transport the recognition it deserves. t3n.de
Hamburg is banning internal combustion taxis from its streets: In the Hanseatic city, only taxis that drive emission-free will receive a new concession from 2025. This is provided for in the draft of the new climate protection law. There are 350 e-taxis in the Hanseatic city so far. 25 of them will be powered by hydrogen. welt.de
EU wants to call hydrogen from nuclear power „green“: Is France getting its way in the new EU rules for renewable hydrogen? The Commission proposes that hydrogen should be considered ecological even if nuclear energy is used in its production. In Berlin, the proposal meets with little enthusiasm. In view of the growing importance of hydrogen for energy production, the European Commission has presented a uniform Europe-wide definition of green hydrogen. This could „only be considered renewable hydrogen if it is produced from electricity from renewable sources“, the EU Commission explained. Under certain conditions, hydrogen produced with the help of nuclear energy should also be considered sustainable. Nuclear power, on the other hand, is „not renewable energy“, said a spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of Economics in Berlin about the EU Commission’s plans. Germany would primarily like to use „green hydrogen“ produced with renewable energies. n-tv.de
Brandenburg: A study has investigated the extent to which Brandenburg is prepared for the new hydrogen age. It shows: The state still has a lot to do. Brandenburg needs about 1,100 kilometres of pipeline for hydrogen by 2045, and a large part of the network can be converted from existing gas pipelines. Nature conservation areas are to be avoided as far as possible. The costs for the network are estimated at 1.2 billion euros. rbb24.de
Hydrogen storage caverns pass test: Hydrogen has been stored for the first time in the underground storage caverns for oil and gas in Etzel (Wittmund district). The cavern operator Storag speaks of a milestone. ndr.de
Will the hydrogen start-up Sunfire become the next German unicorn? Sunfire could become the next German unicorn. With an upcoming financing round, the startup could break the one billion euro mark. However, that is not set in stone. t3n.de
How green hydrogen is shifting the balance of power in global energy markets: Future industrial production with less coal, oil and gas will also change the balance of power in energy markets. The investment, one study estimates, will cost tens of trillions of dollars. However, green hydrogen will „change the global balance of power in the energy sector“, says Deloitte partner Bernhard Lorentz, lead author of the study „A Security Policy for the Global Hydrogen Economy“. The USA would remain the most powerful nation in the world. North America is not only likely to supply itself with green hydrogen, but could even become the second largest export region for the sought-after substance. spiegel.de , deloitte.com (study)
German-Belgian energy summit: At the Belgian-German energy summit on the Belgian North Sea coast, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Prime Minister Alexander de Croo agree on intensive cooperation in both liquefied gas and hydrogen. And electricity will also be added. NRW in particular is interested in an energy partnership with Belgium. rp-online.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
Strengthen children and adolescents sustainably: Children and adolescents should be strengthened sustainably in their development, according to health experts. The Corona pandemic not only affected the living situation, well-being and welfare of many children and adolescents, it also showed that many children and adolescents needed better support services even before the pandemic, according to the final report of the Interministerial Working Group on the Health Impact of Corona on Children and Adolescents, which is available as a Federal Government briefing (20/5650).
First assessment of the forest conversion support programme: The CDU/CSU parliamentary group has submitted a minor question (20/5505) on the federal government’s forest support programme „Climate-adapted forest management“. The parliamentarians demand information from the federal government on how many applications for the programme have been submitted so far, from which federal states the applications came, how high the number of rejections is and how much land the applicants have. The background to the question is a funding programme for forest conversion launched by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). Since November 2022 until 2026, funding totalling 900 million euros has been made available by the federal government. The programme supports communal and private forest owners who, depending on the size of their forest area, undertake to comply with various criteria over ten or 20 years.
Union – Restoration of nature to be made more practicable: The CDU/CSU parliamentary group is urging that the EU’s nature restoration targets be made more practical. In a motion on the proposal of the European Parliament and the Council for a regulation on the restoration of nature (20/5559), which will be on the agenda for the first time in the coming session week, the CDU/CSU calls on the German government to advocate a delay of the regulation in view of the crises resulting from the Russian war of aggression.
Government on nuclear safety after nuclear phase-out: Research reactors are not affected by the decision to phase out nuclear power. This is made clear by the Federal Government in its answer (20/5488) to a minor question (20/5325) of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group. Even after the last nuclear power plants are shut down for commercial power generation by 15 April 2023 at the latest, nuclear safety will still have to be ensured „over very long periods of time“, explains the Federal Government on the background of the publication entitled „Nuclear phase-out in Germany – many nuclear safety tasks remain“, issued by the Federal Office for Nuclear Waste Safety (BASE).
First and foremost: public attention to environmental issues is growing, for example on the issues of climate change, deforestation or littering the oceans with plastic waste. Growing public attention is an extremely important factor for environmental protection to get the status it deserves in society. We know from social research that in addition to physical or ecological tipping points, there are also such things as social tipping points. These are characterised by profound social changes occurring within a comparatively short time and without a serious or predictable trigger.
Mojib Latif, professor at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel and one of Germany’s best-known climate researchers. These tipping points are triggered by a small but committed minority who succeed in changing the attitude of a majority and thus triggering far-reaching movements in all areas of society. As soon as a critical mass is convinced, it only takes a small, inconspicuous trigger to set a huge dynamic in motion that ultimately influences all areas of society. Then it would suddenly be enough for a schoolgirl in Sweden to skip school once a week to protest in front of parliament for more climate protection – and thus not only put politicians in a bind worldwide, but also move large companies to change their ways. focus.de
Trade policy: The Chinese honeymoon with Africa is coming to an end. For a long time, Beijing assured Africa of unshakeable friendship. But in the face of the debt crisis and unprofitable large-scale projects, this friendship has recently begun to crack. It was the breaking of a taboo – even a treaty-protected taboo: Kenya’s new president, William Ruto, publicly questions the practice of securing pretty much every Chinese loan agreement through African governments. Added to these terms was a non-disclosure agreement. Ruto’s predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta, had refused to publish contracts for unprofitable billion-dollar projects, citing clauses to that effect. …Chinese lending to Africa has slowed down significantly since 2018, long before Covid – especially as there is also increasing criticism within China of billion-dollar loans to African states. augsburger-allgemeine.de
Nigeria: The portfolio of German development cooperation with Nigeria currently comprises pledges totalling around 640 million euros, according to the Federal Government in its response (20/5622) to a minor interpellation by the AfD parliamentary group (20/5339). During the intergovernmental negotiations on German-Nigerian bilateral development cooperation in October 2022, the Federal Government had pledged a total of 67.5 million euros, of which 46.5 million euros were for technical cooperation and 21 million euros for financial cooperation. The next government negotiations with Nigeria are planned for 2024. According to the response, development cooperation with the West African state focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency, and more specifically on electrification planning, clean energy supply, improved lending and framework conditions for grid and off-grid investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Nigeria relies on an energy mix of oil, gas and renewables. The Nigerian Energy Transition Plan for 2020 states that about 53 per cent of the energy consumed in Nigeria is generated from biomass, about 31 per cent from oil and about 16 per cent from natural gas, the federal government said.
South Africa: A nationwide disaster alert is in effect in South Africa after heavy rains. At least twelve people were killed in floods. Damage was reported to roads, bridges and a hospital. tagesschau.de
AU Summit: Continued struggle for free trade: Africa is one of the least integrated regions in the world. Trade barriers hinder cooperation. At this year’s AU summit, concrete measures for more cooperation are to be taken. dw.com
UN – Financial markets disadvantage Africa with „extortionate“ interest rates: The UN Secretary-General calls for reforms in the international financial system to take better account of developing countries. He announces aid to the tune of 250 million dollars. Financial markets routinely deny debt relief and cheap financing to developing countries, instead charging usurious interest rates, the UN chief said. The coronavirus pandemic has pushed many poor countries into a debt crisis as they have had to service their loans despite an economic slump. Public debt in sub-Saharan Africa is the highest it has been in more than two decades, according to the International Monetary Fund. handelsblatt.com
African climate activist Vanessa Nakate from Uganda: „The German government is not the leading power it should be“. faz.net
Energy expert – How to halve natural gas consumption within ten years: The natural gas phase-out can succeed by the early 2040s, says Martin Pehnt. The Heidelberg energy expert has determined in scenario calculations that it is possible to halve fossil gas consumption in ten years and completely phase it out by the early 2040s, albeit at sometimes very ambitious rates for the use of heat pumps and industrial plants. The Council of Experts will examine which levers now bring us closer to this scenario. klimareporter.de
Why coffee capsules are not as bad for the climate as thought: Again and again there has been scientific discussion about how much two or three cups of coffee a day contribute to the ecological footprint and what role coffee capsules play in this. What matters most is how many roasted coffee beans and how much energy is used in the preparation process. And coffee capsules are not bad at all. The reason is simple: the environmental pollution caused by preparing coffee at home is only the tip of the iceberg; the main part is due to the cultivation and production of coffee in its countries of origin. derstandard.at
How the EU wants to achieve its climate goals and transform the economy to do so: With the „Fit for 55“ legislative package, the EU wants to become climate neutral by 2050. The EU Parliament and member states have agreed on compromises on the most important points. Now the Parliament has finally sealed the end of the combustion engine in passenger cars. Some of the instruments in the climate package are new, others build on existing climate protection legislation. The whole package includes many measures. It includes new taxes and customs duties, the de facto end of the combustion engine, a paraffin tax for intra-European flights and a levy on imports from third countries that produce more climate-damaging goods than the EU. In addition, there is to be a climate social fund worth many billions of euros. Emissions trading is also to be extended to buildings and transport. deutschlandfunk.de
Climate change: Endangers the habitats of marine organisms. fair-economics.de
Nabu: Federal government’s wind energy plans accelerate species extinction. fair-economics.de
ChatGPT: Will search engines create gigantic ecological footprint. t3n.de
Sustainable Finance 2023 Conference
The Federal Environment Agency (UBA), in cooperation with Invesco Real Estate, invites you to the UBA conference Sustainable Finance 2023 in Munich on 09/10 March 2023.
Around 100 financial experts from academia, practice and regulation will come together to discuss the role of the financial sector and the challenges to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The sustainable transformation of our economic system remains a fundamental societal task, the urgency of which has been highlighted once again by the current reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). There is not a lack of policy goals, but more importantly a lack of implementation, so that the climate crisis and biodiversity losses are worsening and becoming more rapid and consequential. The window of opportunity for effective action is closing. We need to mobilise the urgently needed resources to make climate and biodiversity protection effective and efficient.
ITB 2023: HUMAN RIGHTS ARE YOUR BUSINESS – WHY PROTECTION AND BENEFIT GO HAND IN HAND
We would be delighted if you stopped by:
Stand at ITB. Hall: 4.1b, Stand number: 201
, Session: 08.03.2023, 04:40-05:00 PM CET, ITB Lighthouse Stage Hall 4.1
ITB. HALL: 4.1B, STAND NUMBER: 201
There, the Roundtable has a joint booth at ITB with Bread for the World, ECPAT Germany and the Institute for Tourism and Development
. Are you interested in a membership with the Roundtable? We are happy to schedule an appointment with you.
Just send us an email to email@example.com!
Join our session at ITB and learn about the tools and offers of the Roundtable:
HUMAN RIGHTS ARE YOUR BUSINESS – WHY PROTECTION AND BENEFIT GO HAND IN HAND
Wednesday, 08.03.2023, 04:40 – 05:00 PM CET,
ITB Lighthouse Stage at the Green Business Forum for Tourism Professionals in Hall 4.1
In this session, we will show concrete examples of human rights topics in tourism, illustrate the business case, and present various tools and offers you can use to analyse your value chain, involve your stakeholders more and get to know the key steps of human rights due diligence.
Tesla: Authority relaxes environmental regulations for factory in Grünheide: Tesla has been producing in Brandenburg for a year. Now environmental requirements have been changed and in some cases completely lifted. This has met with criticism. Tesla has been successful in its objections to the state of Brandenburg, not only with a requirement to control groundwater. At the company’s request, the State Environmental Agency also overturned a subsidiary regulation for Tesla on the handling of substances hazardous to water. The environmental association Grüne Liga Brandenburg sees risks. „The hazard classification of the mixtures is not verifiable. We as associations and the public have no way of tracing these processes due to the blackening of the application documents as well as the approval notice,“ said state director Michael Ganschow. heise.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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