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Why 2024 could be a decisive year for climate protection: In 2024, more than four billion people in over 70 countries will go to the polls, representing around half of the global population and making it the most extensive election year in history. These elections come at a time that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has labelled a „pivotal decade“. In its latest report, the IPCC emphasises the need to take decisive steps towards climate transformation in this decade. The aim is to ensure compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement and to step up global efforts to combat the climate crisis. The stakes are high in terms of climate policy, but it’s not just candidates like Donald Trump who are ignoring the issue.

No wind power on my doorstep: one of Germany’s largest chemical parks in Burghausen in Bavaria needs electricity. A new wind farm was planned for it. Local residents are up in arms against it and are fighting back. The Wacker Chemie site, which at 2.6 square kilometres is larger than the Principality of Monaco and almost every other industrial site in Germany. 8,000 people work there, which is almost half of the city’s population. This location is one of the world’s leading production sites for polysilicon, an essential raw material for semiconductors and solar panels, which is also very energy-intensive. The plant consumes three terawatt hours of electricity per year, which corresponds to 0.7 per cent of Germany’s total electricity consumption. With the shutdown of the last Bavarian nuclear power plant in April and a general decline in electricity production in Bavaria since 2012, Bavaria and in particular energy-intensive companies such as Wacker Chemie are facing challenges in terms of electricity supply. However, residents, including many employees, have spoken out against new wind farms in a referendum. A typical dilemma in Germany when it comes to industrial restructuring.

1.6 per cent of Greenland’s ice area has already melted

A press release from the University of Leeds reports that the total melted ice area accounts for around 1.6 per cent of Greenland’s total ice and glacier cover, which is roughly equivalent to the land area of Albania. Greenland, with a total area of around 2.1 million square kilometres, is the largest island in the world. Global warming is occurring there at an above-average rate: researchers have found that the average annual air temperatures in the years 2007 to 2012 were 3 degrees Celsius higher than those measured from 1979 to 2000.

Habeck wants to change price mechanisms in food production: Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck has shown understanding for the farmers‘ situation – and announced that he will ensure a stronger position for farmers when it comes to setting prices for their products. „The prices are not set by the farmers, but by the buyers and intermediate processors, i.e. the abattoirs, dairies and large discounters,“ he argued. The Vice-Chancellor also spoke about why he is not angry with the FDP for blocking the EU supply chain law – and how he explains the loss of trust in the traffic light

EU increases pressure on France: The European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, has called on France to increase its ambitions in the area of renewable energies to at least 44 per cent by 2030. If France continues to show no progress in this area, she is considering taking action at European level. So far, Paris has refused to set a specific renewable energy target for 2030. Instead, France is focusing on a broader target for „decarbonised“ energy, which includes both nuclear power and renewable energy sources.

Oil slick threatens Caribbean island of Tobago: Following an as yet unexplained shipwreck, an oil slick has spread off the southern coast of the Caribbean island of Tobago, reaching a length of 11.6 kilometres. Keith Rowley, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, spoke of a „true catastrophe“ during a press conference. According to reports from the US foreign broadcaster Voice of America, the leaked oil has already caused damage to coral reefs near Scarborough, a town on the coast. Footage documents how employees of the national oil company are carrying out measures to remove the oil slick. There is concern that the spilled oil could jeopardise the marine ecosystem and harm fish and other marine life in particular.

UN report warns of extinction of migratory animal species: Numerous animals known for their long migration routes are travelling ever shorter distances. According to a United Nations report, many species are endangered, particularly in the oceans. The extinction of these species could have serious consequences, not least for humans. The status of many so-called migratory animal species is deteriorating. A recent UN report shows that the populations of 44 per cent of these animals are declining, while 22 per cent are acutely threatened with extinction. Migratory species are those that regularly travel long distances, often crossing national borders. The situation has only improved for 14 species, including blue and humpback whales and the white-tailed eagle. This first report on the status of migratory species was published by the Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) in Bonn and presented at a UN conference in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.


Generation Anspruch

Work isn’t everything – and that’s a good thing

At the age of 30, I belong to the generation that is placing new demands on the world of work. This generation is fundamentally questioning existing working models – an opportunity arising from demographic change. As the baby boomer generation retires in the coming years, Germany is facing a labour shortage of more than seven million workers. Given the experience of the three-year pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis, we see the future of work differently. We are not striving to define ourselves through our work, but are calling for flexible working models such as the four-day week, sabbaticals, parental leave and real free time after work, as well as meaningful activities. My personal experience of how my mother was consumed by her job as a carer reinforces my conviction that this is not a model worth striving for.

We, the generation with new expectations, see our demands as justified. It is a legitimate goal to create a working world in which work leads to satisfaction and not to illness. Activities that have no human added value or can be performed by machines should no longer have to be carried out by people. This is the vision of the future world of work that is inexorably approaching.

As a journalist at DIE ZEIT, David Gutensohn meets people from a wide variety of professional fields and circumstances. His collected insights result in a profound analysis of our working world and the generational conflict that manifests itself in it.

Climate Adaptation Act: How Germany is preparing for the climate crisis.
Methane emissions: The climate crisis is fermenting in landfills.
Many people would give one per cent of their income for climate protection: According to a study, 69 per cent of the world’s population say they are willing to spend one per cent of their household income each month on climate protection.
Plastic waste: Plastic waste exports to Asia rise sharply.
Uniper is profitable again: but will probably have to pay billions back to the state.
Steffi Lemke: Environment Minister Lemke reacts in horror to CSU leader Söder, who called her a „green Margot Honecker“. Söder lives in „a world of his own“, a „big beer tent“.

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


Hedwig Richter on climate protection and democracy: „Politicians talk to people as if we were monsters“

Our democracy could be saved by climate protection. Historian Hedwig Richter explains how and why she would like to see more courage from the German government right now.

Crisis mode is the norm in democracy – at least according to Hedwig Richter, one of Germany’s best-known historians of modern and contemporary history. Each of the past decades has faced its own challenges, from reconstruction in the 1950s to the Cold War and the refugee debate. However, we are currently facing particular challenges, Richter said in the climate podcast Gradmesser: „What we are seeing right now is an accumulation of massive crises that we used to have in successive decades.“ But this does not only have disadvantages: „Because it keeps democracy alive.


Political bashing has become dangerous

by Tobias Krone

The pithy beer tent speeches on Ash Wednesday used to make sense, says Tobias Krone. However, populism now seems out of place. After all, when the AfD blows the whistle to attack democracy, what is needed is not bluster, but prudence.

The commentary explains that the format of the political Ash Wednesday once had the potential to have an invigorating and fruitful effect on democracy due to its exaggerated and provocative nature. However, the political landscape has become more aggressive, which makes the beer tent populism of politicians such as Söder and Aiwanger seem inappropriate in view of dangerous political developments. The commentator notes that at a time when the AfD is threatening democracy and farmers‘ protests are threatening to escalate, what is needed is not rhetorical incendiary statements but prudence. One example of the escalating situation is the cancellation of a Green Party event by farmers, which is interpreted as an attack on democracy. It is criticised that Markus Söder has apparently not yet recognised this critical moment and that the one-sided political bashing in this social environment is seen as dangerous. The commentary suggests that a different political Ash Wednesday is possible, one that is characterised by humanity and mutual respect in order to strengthen democracy and promote dialogue between the parties.


Sustainable mobility – how does it work? The question of how to ensure mobility for people and goods while minimising the long-term impact on people and the environment is at the heart of the debate on sustainable mobility. As part of its Climate Protection Act (KSG), the German government has committed to reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector from the current level of around 150 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent to 85 million tonnes by 2030 and is aiming for greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045. With its „Strategy for a climate-neutral Europe“, the European Commission has also formulated the goal of completely decarbonising the European mobility system by 2050 and thus making it greenhouse gas-neutral.

Robotaxi from Waymo on fire: Is the acceptance of autonomous vehicles at an end? A Waymo robot taxi on fire triggers debate: Does this shake confidence in self-driving cars? One event is fuelling debate. Last weekend, a Waymo autonomous taxi was set on fire by a crowd during the Chinese New Year in San Francisco. This incident has once again put the issue of autonomous vehicles at the centre of public debate, with both enthusiasm for the technology and concerns about safety.

High losses alarm Brussels: DB Cargo must fear break-up.

Federal government discontinues funding for e-trucks and e-buses: The funding programmes for climate-friendly commercial vehicles and for alternative drive systems for buses in passenger transport are being discontinued. This has been confirmed by the Ministry of Transport. Projects that have already been approved will still be financed, then it will be over. There will be no further federal funding for either electric lorries or electric buses, thus sealing the premature end of both subsidies. A spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) said that due to the necessary budget consolidation and the focus on essential investments, not all funding programmes can be continued as planned.

Traffic turnaround: Hanover replaces low emission zone with new clean air plan. The state capital of Lower Saxony is cancelling the low emission zone in view of the fact that it has fallen below the limit values. In its place, a new clean air plan is to improve the quality of life.

Mobile in the countryside: this is how creative local authorities are: cities and municipalities are increasingly focussing on innovative concepts to ensure the mobility of their residents even without a car. The Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development has documented a large number of such initiatives. „Mobility in rural areas is an issue of great importance,“ emphasises Peter Jakubowski, who heads the Department of Spatial and Urban Development at the authority. With over 47 million people living in rural areas, accounting for more than half of the country’s population, this is an essential aspect of infrastructure.


Controversial funding of millions: Wissing dismisses head of department after hydrogen affair.

„Hy2Infra“ IPCEI hydrogen projects approved by the EU Commission: The European Commission has given the green light for the funding of the hydrogen IPCEI „Hy2Infra“. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy sees this as a decisive step forward for the expansion of hydrogen technology in Germany. A total of 33 projects in seven EU countries will benefit from support totalling up to 6.9 billion euros. Investments totalling around 4.6 billion euros are planned by the federal and state governments for the implementation of hydrogen infrastructure projects in Germany.

Which import strategy is good for Germany? As part of the HyPat research project, the Fraunhofer ISI conducted a meta-study that analysed existing studies on the generation, production and trade of hydrogen. The findings, which were documented in an impulse paper, served as the basis for the development of recommendations for Germany’s hydrogen import strategy. These recommendations make a clear distinction between the import of pure hydrogen and that of hydrogen derivatives.

Decomposing water with electricity: Hydrogen electrolyser – how it works and how much hydrogen it produces.

When it comes to green hydrogen, it is worth taking a look down under: Australia may be on the other side of the world, but it is very close to us as a value and economic partner. The resource-rich country is considered a good partner for green hydrogen. How close are we really with the Aussies? Australia may be on the other side of the world, but it is still a very important trading partner for Germany. In 2022, we traded goods worth almost 18 billion euros back and forth. Down Under is also considered a good partner when it comes to green hydrogen in order to drive forward the energy transition in Germany.

Why we must also focus on hydrogen in our power plant strategy: The new power plant strategy, explained by hydrogen expert Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of the European hydrogen association Hydrogen Europe, addresses the challenges of fluctuating energy production from renewable sources and the limited capacity of the electricity grid. It focuses on securing the energy supply when production from wind and solar is low, especially during the winter, and emphasises the role of gas-fired power plants in responding flexibly to supply and demand. The planned capacity mechanism aims to integrate hydrogen as a flexible energy source to balance supply fluctuations and ensure security of supply, while at the same time promoting the decarbonisation of the energy sector. The strategy also includes the removal of regulatory and administrative barriers to the expansion of electrolysis capacities in order to accelerate hydrogen production. It emphasises technology neutrality, which promotes the integration of hydrogen technologies and other innovative solutions such as nuclear fusion or long-term storage. The focus is on H2-ready gas-fired power plants that can run on hydrogen, including blue hydrogen, in the future in order to support a diversified and sustainable energy supply.


Implementation status of the Coal Regions Investment Act: In its report on the implementation status of the Coal Regions Investment Act 2023 (20/10320), the Federal Government draws a positive conclusion. The federal government’s support for structural change in the lignite and hard coal regions has got off to a good start. On the one hand, this involves financial aid from the federal government for particularly important investments by the federal states and their municipalities and municipal associations in the lignite mining regions. On the other hand, measures under the federal government’s own responsibility to support the lignite regions. According to the report, a total of 111 measures with a total volume of 19.8 billion euros had been approved by the Federal Government-Länder Coordination Committee (BLKG) by 31 August 2023. In addition, 335 projects with a volume of 6.786 billion euros were submitted and confirmed as part of the financial aid. Accordingly, 3,575 new positions were also filled at existing and new locations of federal authorities and institutions in the coal regions. Expenditure totalling 2.52 billion euros has been budgeted for 2023, and the BLKG has already decided on a series of further measures that are to be launched in the near future. „The foundation for a successful continuation has therefore been laid. Close monitoring is necessary and will be ensured by the federal and state governments,“ the federal government’s briefing states.

Progress on the Paris Climate Agreement: The German government emphasises that progress has been made with regard to global greenhouse gas emissions since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2015. In the answer (20/10291) to a minor question (20/10163) from the AfD parliamentary group, it states, with reference to the „Emission Gap Report“ published by the United Nations Environment Programme in November 2023, that at the time the Paris Agreement was signed, a further increase in global greenhouse gas emissions of 16 percent was forecast by 2030 on the basis of the national climate policies at the time, which would have meant a global temperature increase of 4 degrees Celsius by 2100 compared to pre-industrial times. Based on the actual greenhouse gas emissions measured since 2015 and the total of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that the signatory states to the Paris Agreement have made since then, the report calculates a global temperature increase of 2.5 to 2.9 degrees Celsius by 2100 compared to pre-industrial times, provided that the NDCs are fully implemented by 2030 and these mitigation measures are continued thereafter. „In the view of the German government, this positive (but not sufficient) development was also caused by the political momentum generated by the Paris Agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.“

Guarantees of origin for low-carbon hydrogen: In order to achieve an efficient European internal market for hydrogen, the German government recommends basing the labelling system on the requirements of the upcoming EU directive on common rules for the internal markets for renewable gases and natural gas as well as for hydrogen. In the briefing (20/10218), it also urges rapid national implementation on the basis of the forthcoming European requirements in order to ensure a rapid ramp-up of the hydrogen market. In its report on issuing guarantees of origin for hydrogen, the government comes to the conclusion that there is currently still a lack of important European legal requirements for operationalising the definition of low-carbon hydrogen as well as corresponding regulations on emission reduction requirements and their accounting methodology. This argues against an independent national definition of requirements for issuing guarantees of origin that deviates from EU specifications. At the same time, there is an urgent need to adopt the regulation, as it is required to demonstrate full implementation of the Renewable Energy Directive and the implementation deadline has already expired.

1,648 applications for funding for municipal heating plans to date: According to the Federal Government, 1,648 applications for funding for municipal heating plans have been received by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection since 1 November 2022. By the start of the budget freeze on 15 November 2023 as a result of the Karlsruhe ruling on the debt brake, special funds and the federal budget, 344 of these applications had been approved and three rejected, as the Federal Government explains in its answer (20/10263) to a minor interpellation by the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (20/10171). It lists the applications by federal state. According to the Federal Government, 1,275 applications have not yet been finalised. New applications for funding can no longer be submitted as the funding for municipal heating plans under the municipal directive expired at the end of 2023. However, it will continue to support the initial creation of municipal heating plans in the future, the federal government also writes. In the years 2024 to 2028, the federal states are to receive funds totalling 500 million euros for this purpose via an increased share of VAT, according to the bill.


What happened in terms of climate last year is alarming. Public attention is primarily focussed on the extreme events that are increasing due to global warming, which is well known. The signs that the climate system as a whole could be in a state of upheaval are attracting less media attention. The mean ocean temperature, for example, has recently made a huge leap upwards. We scientists hope that this is just a short-term outlier and that the system will „calm down“ again. However, there is also the possibility that the giant is now awakening for reasons that are not yet fully understood and that we are currently moving into a different climate regime.

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, now Director General of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg near Vienna. The main justification for the two-degree target under international law was that beyond this temperature line, tipping points would become so frequent that we would no longer be able to cope with their consequences. It was now to be feared that we would also overshoot the two-degree mark.  However, the decisive factor will be how long and how steeply we overshoot. If we only crossed the red line for perhaps 30 or 50 years, then the accelerated melting of the Greenland ice sheet, for example, could possibly be halted. This is because there is a kind of grace period in many systems before the tipping process of the system becomes irreversible. The question is therefore whether we can bring the irritated giant back to sleep. This is one of the existential questions driving research today.



Senegal: Constitutional Council overturns election postponement. Senegal’s Constitutional Council has declared the postponement of the presidential election invalid. The Council cancelled the corresponding decree by President Sall. It remains to be seen whether the election will take place in February as originally planned.

Why afforestation in Africa can often become a threat to savannahs: A recent study published in the journal Science reveals that climate change mitigation efforts through afforestation in Africa could have unintended negative impacts on savannas and other open grasslands, potentially missing the mark. The study by the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), which aims to revitalise 100 million hectares of land through afforestation and natural restoration by 2030, found that 52 per cent of tree planting projects are in areas primarily identified as savannahs and grasslands. One reason for this is the frequent misclassification of these areas as ‚forests‘. Furthermore, almost 60 per cent of the reforestation projects use non-native tree species, which raises additional ecological concerns.

Zanzibar in the fight against environmental destruction and climate change; „Make the islands green again“.

Ethiopia: Dozens of civilians have reportedly been killed by government troops in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. Witnesses say the victims were executed during house-to-house searches after clashes between government troops and Fano rebels.

Collateral damage Burundi: In the east of the DR Congo, Burundian soldiers are fighting against the Rwandan-backed M23 rebels. Frustration is growing in Burundi.

Kenya: Kenyan bus drivers are now supposed to save German local transport: There is a shortage of bus drivers in German cities and transport companies are urgently looking for staff – now also at Lake Victoria in East Africa. On the road with Kenyans who will soon be driving on northern German roads.

What lies ahead for Namibia after the death of the president?  With the death of President Hage Geingob, Namibia’s ruling party SWAPO faces the challenge of reorganising itself. Although a succession plan already existed for the time after Geingob, the current interim president Nangolo Mbumba was not originally included in it.


How harmful CO2 is turned into valuable raw materials: The transformation of CO2, a greenhouse gas, into various chemical raw materials is seen as one of the ideal reactions for environmentally friendly production. The challenge is not only to effectively store this difficult-to-reduce gas, but also to convert it into valuable raw materials for industrial applications. This could turn carbon dioxide, which comes from emissions, into a significant resource for raw materials. Although chemistry has known CO2 processing methods for around a century, research teams around the world are working to find new ways to convert carbon dioxide into usable chemical feedstocks more cost-effectively and elegantly. These efforts fall under the field of „Carbon Capture and Utilisation“ technology, which also offers potential as a storage technology for renewable energies.

Amazon rainforest threatens tipping point as early as 2050: The Amazon rainforest, home to over 40 million people and more than ten per cent of the world’s biodiversity, plays a central role in the conservation of global biodiversity. However, this area is already being affected by the effects of climate change and human deforestation, with the situation deteriorating at an increasing rate. Researchers warn in the journal „Nature“ that the Amazon ecosystem could reach a tipping point where irreversible changes occur sooner than expected. Such a situation would not only intensify the local effects of global warming, but would also have far-reaching consequences for the global climate. An urgent appeal is therefore made for improved protection of the rainforest.

Pandemic among animals: Red dominates. A digital look at Europe’s „Bird Flu Radar“, presented by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), immediately emphasises the urgency of the situation. The alert system for bird flu outbreaks has been signalling an exceptionally high risk across large parts of Europe for months. Thirty-seven countries on the continent are affected, and the virus is spreading just as rapidly on almost all other continents. By the end of January 2024, only Antarctica and Australia had been spared. But even these last refuges in the world before the devastating epidemic are on shaky ground. Researchers now categorise the epidemic as a „panzootic“, a pandemic among animals.

Climate protection in a dilemma: If the air gets cleaner, global warming accelerates.
Climate change: Driving fungal infestation.
Researchers: Warn of „devastating tipping point“ for currents in the Atlantic.


Consultation on the Voluntary Part-Time Work Act

Time: Monday, 19 February 2024, 2 p.m. to 3.40 p.m.

Location: Berlin, Paul-Löbe-Haus, conference room E 300

The impact of the climate crisis on mental health (national and global perspective)

Time: Monday, 19 February 2024, 5 p.m. to 6.45 p.m.

Location: Berlin, Paul-Löbe-Haus, conference room E 600

It will be possible to follow the public part of the meeting of the Subcommittee on Global Health on 19 February 2024 from 5.25 pm via livestream. This can be found at and on the website of the Subcommittee on Global Health.

Participation in presence is not planned.

Consultation on plug-in solar devices and balcony power plants

Time: Monday, 19 February 2024, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Location: Berlin, Paul-Löbe-Haus, conference room 2.600 / Experts

Consultation on the water management of the Spree and its tributaries

Time: Wednesday, 21 February 2024, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Location: Berlin, Paul-Löbe-Haus, conference room E 700

Motion by the CDU/CSU parliamentary group

„Considering the consequences of the coal phase-out – securing water management for the Spree and its tributaries (BT-Drs. 20/7585)“

Registration for public hearings
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Almost 15 per cent of Americans question climate change

Although there is a scientific consensus, almost 15 per cent of US citizens refuse to acknowledge climate change. This was the result of a recent study by the University of Michigan. The study also shows that recognition of climate change varies geographically: There is greater acceptance of climate change in the coastal regions of the west and east of the USA, while scepticism towards climate change is more pronounced in the central and southern regions. The most significant factor influencing these differences is political orientation, with supporters of the Republican Party in particular showing a high degree of agreement with climate change deniers. In addition, the level of education, income and the extent to which the local economy is dependent on fossil fuels for energy production play a significant role.

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