Car industry and energy suppliers argue about electricity rationing: The grid operators want the charging of electric cars to be limited. The car industry thinks nothing of it and warns of a loss of confidence. The tone is getting harsher. The manufacturers fear that the looming bottlenecks in the electricity grid will prevent many Germans from switching to electric vehicles, in whose development and production the industry has invested billions. „Even the theoretical possibility that the charging current can be throttled for several hours on several days in a row noticeably undermines consumer confidence and the acceptance of electric mobility,“ warns Hildegard Müller, president of the industry association VDA. The Federal Network Agency therefore wants to introduce a kind of electricity rationing – also due to the high demand for heat pumps. At peak times, the grid operators are to temporarily throttle the power supply of home charging stations for e-cars and heat pumps in a centrally controlled manner. faz.net
Renewable Energies – Habeck wants to tap EU pots: Economics Minister Robert Habeck has presented details of how he intends to support new production capacities for wind and solar plants in Germany. As demanded by the industry and previously indicated by Habeck, both investment and operating costs for the „establishment and expansion of production capacities in Germany and in the EU“ are to be subsidised by the state. table.media.de , handelsblatt.com
were counted in the Amazon in just two months in the summer of 2022, a new sad record. That is 71 percent more than in 2021, as satellite analyses now reveal. The area deforested as a result has increased by 64 percent. The cause of the increased fires was the almost unchecked progress of illegal slash-and-burn. scinexx.de
Starting signal for a new electricity market system: Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck gave the starting signal for the reform of the electricity system at the beginning of the week. The Green politician opened the „Climate Neutral Electricity System Platform“ in Berlin on Monday. Representatives from politics, science and business are to develop proposals for the future electricity market design. In 2030, electricity from renewable energies from wind and senses should contribute a share of 80 per cent of consumption, last year it was about half. welt.de
Greener living is to become the rule: The government wants more climate protection in new buildings. Green facades and solar roofs are to become „the rule“ according to the environment minister. Last year, according to estimates by the think tank Agora Energiewende, the building sector failed to meet the legally stipulated savings targets. The German government now wants to take more countermeasures. Construction Minister Klara Geywitz (SPD) and Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) presented a study by the Federal Environment Agency „for sustainable housing and urban development“ in Berlin. Since the beginning of the year, new buildings in Germany must comply with the Efficient House 55 standard. This means that they may only use 55 percent of the energy of a standard house. From next year onwards, only new heating systems that are powered by at least 65 per cent renewable energies will be allowed. faz.net , uba.de (Study)
The problem with perpetual chemicals is bigger than previously known: Per- and polyfluorinated chemicals, PFAS for short, are used in many everyday objects but harm the environment. Many places in Germany are contaminated with these eternity chemicals. According to a report, the problem with the chemicals, which are often harmful to health, is greater in Germany than is known. A few PFAS are already largely banned because they are considered hazardous to health. However, Germany, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden are calling for a ban on all of these perennial chemicals. They submitted this to the EU chemicals agency ECHA in January. A regulation would have to be worked out by the EU Commission, which would then propose it to the member states. The ban is therefore not expected to be implemented until 2026 at the earliest. chemietechnik.de , nzz.ch, verbraucherzentrale.de , dw.com
France’s president calls for water conservation: Emmanuel Macron urged water conservation at the opening of the International Agricultural Fair in Paris. Like other European countries, France is in the midst of a drought. He called on producers, suppliers and consumers to join in water-saving efforts: „The nation must do for water what it has done for energy. That means all of us – citizens, entrepreneurs, service providers, local authorities, farmers – must take care of this dwindling resource. As I said at the end of the summer, it is the end of abundance. Now we have to come down to earth in our actions.“ There may be water restrictions from March onwards. euronews.de, n-tv.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Letzte Chance für sichere Energien und Frieden
by Claudia Kemfert
The energy crisis is shaking the global economy. Gas and oil are being used as geopolitical weapons. And suddenly coal, fracking and nuclear power are back on the agenda. But who pays the price? Do we even have a chance to free ourselves from dependencies? Energy economist Claudia Kemfert provides answers. And she names those responsible for the muddled situation. A small window of opportunity remains to secure our energy supply through decisive action and at the same time to support democracy, prosperity and peaceful coexistence.
„This book is an unsparing reappraisal, shakes us up with uncomfortable truths and wants one thing above all, namely that we become wiser from the damage.“ Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, „Claudia Kemfert is an outstanding expert who understands razor-sharp what phase is – as we say.“ Luisa Neubauer campus.de
New constitutional judge: Green hope. rnd.de
China: Has already secured a large share of global gas production with long-term contracts. n-tv.de
Last generation: Tree falls in front of Chancellor’s Office. t-online.de
Rainer Hoffmann: Former head of DGB becomes chairman of the Sustainability Council. nachhaltigkeitsrat.de
Italy: Environmentalists sound the alarm about drought. Lake Garda almost empty. stern.de
Ohio: According to authorities, an overheated wheel bearing was the cause of the train accident that released large quantities of highly toxic chemicals into the environment. spiegel.de
Heat pumps: Habeck wants to expand subsidies. table.media.de
Northstream2: Tax official burned climate foundation’s tax return in the fireplace. bild.de
Northstream: Methane leak from pipeline investigated. heise.de
European climate diplomacy: France blocks EU declaration because it is not nuclear-friendly enough. handelsblatt.com
Netherlands: Russia prepares sabotage of infrastructure. heise.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:
Our favourite building material: Planet made of concrete
In 1843, the English entrepreneur William Aspdin discovered the most important ingredient for concrete. Since then, the building material has had a decisive influence on our planet, but its darker sides are becoming increasingly visible. William Aspdin was not an easy contemporary: the building materials entrepreneur in 19th century England sometimes drove business partners to ruin or stole road surfacing as raw material for his factory. And yet Aspdin paved the way to the modern age: in 1843, he developed Portland cement, which is still the most important binding agent for concrete today. Aspdin’s invention made modern building possible in the first place – with all the associated glamours and downsides. Currently, man is building more houses, bridges and dams than ever before, with an upward trend and growing global problems. Sand and gravel are becoming scarce, important raw materials for concrete. And the cement industry is responsible for about every tenth tonne of CO2 that humans emit into the atmosphere. Architects, civil engineers and chemists are working on solutions. They want a cement that protects the climate. Others want to use concrete more sparingly or demand that the rubble of demolished buildings be recycled more often. And then there is the idea of producing a concrete-like rock for a base on the moon as well. riffreporter.de
COMMENT OF THE WEEK:
Environmental protection and climate: The somewhat different fasting
by Maximilian Czysz
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Renunciation can also be practised in a slightly different way. If you want to fast in the coming weeks, you can find real hit lists on the internet. The classics are at the top: give up chocolate and other sweets. Drink less alcohol. Refrain from using bad words more often. Smoke fewer cigarettes. Leave the TV off more often. Or put the mobile phone to one side and don’t jump up at every beep to check it. Environmental fasting is also becoming fashionable. Here’s how it can look: Leave the car at home every now and then and cycle to work instead. It’s easy on the wallet, good for your health and good for the climate. You can also do without plastic. Or meat. You can also save on electricity. It has become expensive anyway. So-called climate fasting is generally about reviewing one’s own consumption behaviour and reducing or optimising it. Just as with fasting in general: if you do without and discipline yourself a little, you can concentrate more on the essentials in life. What that is, everyone has to find out for themselves. ausgburger-allgemeine.de
Associations against road and motorway expansion: In the midst of the coalition dispute, the environmental associations Greenpeace and the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) are now intervening and even calling for a complete halt to road construction. To this end, they presented a paper stating that the construction, operation and maintenance of motorways and federal highways contribute decisively to the worsening of the climate crisis. tagesschau.de , bund.net
„Parking cars is taken for granted. But that’s not a law of nature“: Lime’s bright green e-scooters are widespread in Germany’s cities. Do they contribute to climate protection – or are they in the way? wiwo.de
German carmakers‘ e-offensive flops in China: Things are not going well for German carmakers in the world’s largest electric car market. BMW, Mercedes and VW are stuck with their electric cars. At the same time, newcomers from China are pushing into Europe – especially Germany. An unequal race. n-tv.de
New batteries: Iron instead of cobalt and nickel: LFP batteries should make e-cars cheaper. A planned new factory in the USA could become an important milestone in the attempt to finally make electric mobility cheaper. heise.de
Autonomous driving cars: Study certifies lousy climate balance. t3n.de
Volkswagen I: Court defeat in diesel dispute. tagesspiegel.de
Volkswagen II: Now developing e-car drive system entirely in-house due to efficiency advantages. heise.de
The Port of Hamburg and the dream of a perfect climate balance: by 2040, Germany’s largest seaport is to be arithmetically „climate neutral“. HHLA also wants to contribute to this with electrically powered vehicles and hydrogen. But the challenges for electric mobility at the terminals are great – is the goal even realistic? welt.de
Hydrogen pipeline planned from Wilhelmshaven to Cologne: Green hydrogen plays a central role in climate neutrality. Hydrogen produced in Wilhelmshaven is to be transported to Cologne through a pipeline in the future. The network operators Gasunie and Thyssengas have now presented the first key points of their plans. A pipeline about 400 kilometres long is to transport hydrogen from the coastal region of Wilhelmshaven to the Rhine-Ruhr region from 2028. The transmission system operators Gasunie and Thyssengas published the first key points of their plans. According to these, the pipeline is to be built in two sections between Wilhelmshaven and Wesseling near Cologne, largely by repurposing existing gas transport pipelines. The pipeline is to be connected to existing and planned projects, especially the Hyperlink pipeline project and the Get H2 infrastructure project. n-tv.de
Billions at stake – France versus Germany: The big fight over hydrogen: Green, blue or red – which „colour“ can hydrogen have in order to pass as sustainable? Billions are at stake in the EU over this question. France and Germany have been blocking each other for weeks – but now France’s head of state Macron can hope for help from the German FDP. focus.de
Putting the right pressure on hydrogen: What there is to measure with H2 filling stations: In the public discussion about hydrogen mobility, the focus is usually on the various drive systems. In order to actually help H2 achieve a breakthrough as an alternative fuel, it requires not only an attractive range of vehicles, but above all a nationwide network of filling stations. The development of the corresponding infrastructure creates a great need for measurement technology, primarily to ensure the safety of the refuelling process. Manufacturers are confronted with specific challenges in this regard. process.vogel.de
Heating: heat pump or hydrogen – Hamburg study clear. fr.de
EU Commission defines green hydrogen: In a delegated act, the EU wants to define what renewable hydrogen is. The definition goes beyond the use of green electricity. The EU Commission has adopted two delegated acts under the Renewable Energy Directive. In one of the two, Brussels lays down detailed rules to define what is considered renewable hydrogen in the EU. The two pieces of legislation now need to be adopted by the European Parliament and the member states. The rules are part of a broad EU regulatory framework for hydrogen that Brussels is planning. This is to include investments in energy infrastructure as well as rules on state aid and legal requirements for renewable hydrogen in industry and transport. erneuerbareenergien.de , solarify.eu
Green offshore hydrogen – much more than just a vision: Setting up offshore production of hydrogen in the North Sea is an ambitious vision. Kirsten Westphal explains why industry and politics should work towards this and what will be important in the process. However, the board member of the AquaVentus association warns against underestimating the complexity of such a project. tagesspiegel.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
Development cooperation with Brazil: The Federal Government has promised Brazil projects with a total volume of 330.27 million euros in 2021, including reduced-interest loans and promotional loans from Financial Cooperation at market rates. This is explained in its answer (20/5690) to a small question (20/5205) of the AfD parliamentary group on development cooperation with Brazil. The AfD has been working with Brazil for many years on the protection of global goods within the framework of cooperation for sustainable development. As the largest Latin American economy and the largest Amazonian country, Brazil has a key position in regional and global development and in tackling global issues of the future, such as the fight against climate change and the preservation of biodiversity. The country is currently facing enormous challenges. The Covid 19 pandemic, for example, has partially undone the successes achieved in the fight against poverty in recent years.
Application letter for photovoltaics in preparation: The Federal Government intends to publish an application letter on the tax treatment of photovoltaic systems in the near future. Questions related to the tax exemption of these systems will be discussed with the representatives of the supreme tax authorities of the Länder in the near future, according to the answer of the Federal Government (20/5683) to a minor question of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (20/5428). In response to the question of the MPs whether the limit of 100 kW (peak) is an exemption limit or an allowance, the Federal Government states that in its view it is an exemption limit.
Debts of over 15 billion euros cancelled: Since 2000, the Federal Republic of Germany has cancelled debts of foreign countries amounting to 15.752 billion euros. The debts of other countries to the Federal Republic of Germany amount to about 13 billion euros. This is stated in the answer of the Federal Government (20/5624) to a small question of the AfD parliamentary group (20/5439). With 4.7 billion euros, Iraq was forgiven the most debts. In addition, Nigeria was relieved of 2.4 billion, Cameroon 1.4 billion and Congo (formerly Zaire) one billion euros. In total, 51 countries have had their debts to the Federal Republic of Germany cancelled since 2000. At the end of 2021, the highest debts to the Federal Republic of Germany were owed by Egypt with 1.65 billion, India with 1.35 billion, Pakistan with one billion, the People’s Republic of China with 991 million and Zimbabwe with 833 million euros. Ukraine’s debts are given as 106 million euros.
Animal welfare is to be strengthened in the keeping of fattening turkeys: In an answer (20/5682) to a small question (20/5434) of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, the Federal Government comments in detail on the keeping of fattening turkeys. Following discussions that began in 1999, Germany agreed for the last time in 2013 on benchmarks with minimum requirements for the keeping of fattening turkeys with all stakeholders from the industry. According to the Federal Government, these voluntary benchmarks could now serve as a basis for improving animal welfare in the husbandry of fattening turkeys, taking into account the species-specific basic needs and behavioural patterns of turkeys. However, under the current conditions of keeping and fattening turkeys, health problems and behavioural disorders relevant to animal welfare, such as feather pecking or cannibalism, would still occur according to our knowledge. In the view of the Federal Government, it is therefore necessary to establish binding minimum requirements in order to ensure animal-friendly husbandry of fattening turkeys in practice. more at bundestag.de
Neither governments, authorities nor companies protect us from deception and health hazards. Information for consumers is either false, incomplete or misleading, and therefore describes the quality of the products only completely inadequately.
Thilo Bode, former head of Greenpeace and current head of foodwatch, says that 98 percent of olive oils bear this designation for the highest quality class. So there are hardly any other olive oils left. If 98 per cent of the olive oils correspond to the highest quality class, this is only possible if there is something wrong with the quality term. He had looked at samples taken by the Bavarian food inspectors: According to the results, 63 per cent of the olive oils labelled „extra virgin“ were rejected because they tasted or smelled rancid, musty, wormy, vinegary or metallic. This was often the result of improper production or the use of inferior olives. ausburger-allgemeine.de
Conflict Minerals – Over a Decade of Effort and Impact: Since 2010, international organisations have been working with many states to combat the mining and trade of minerals – particularly tin, tungsten and tantalum (3T) – in conflict-affected and high-risk areas (CAHRAs). However, despite all efforts, illegal mining and trade in conflict minerals continues. A 66-page report by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, first published in January 2023, analyses existing regulations and control mechanisms and makes policy recommendations on how to make these controls more effective and efficient. It also makes recommendations for state and corporate actors to improve control mechanisms along the supply chain. freiheit.org
Blackout in South Africa: According to the state-owned power utility Eskom, citizens in South Africa will have to live without electricity for 11.5 hours a day „until further notice“. Eight power generation units in several power stations have not been functioning since Sunday, Eskom announced on Tuesday. This has led to a further reduction in generation capacity, it said. Meanwhile, the government is offering tax breaks to promote green energy. faz.net , news-krypto.de
Heil and Schulze in Africa: Following the entry into force of the German Supply Chain Act, the German government wants to set an example for fair production of cocoa and textiles in West Africa. When implementing the new rules, it is important that they help people „at the beginning of the supply chain“, said Development Minister Svenja Schulze before a joint trip with Labour Minister Hubertus Heil. The two SPD ministers set off for Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire on the UN „World Day of Social Justice“. The destinations of the five-day trip include places of cocoa and textile production. The German Supply Chain Act cannot change the far too low cocoa prices for African farmers, but the German government hopes to have a stronger influence on fair working conditions in the industry’s supply chains. In this way, exploitative child labour is to be curbed. „Whoever does business globally, whoever makes profits globally, must also assume global responsibility,“ said Labour Minister Heil. wz.de , zdf.de
In the shadow of the pandemic: Almost three years after the start of the Corona pandemic, scientists and health authorities on the African continent are taking stock. The results are mixed. Other diseases were pushed into the background by Covid-19. But there are also successes. spektrum.de
Benin: Entrepreneur Roland Adjovi has found a way to meet the ever-increasing demand for cooking fuel in a sustainable way, helping to slow the destruction of forests for charcoal production. reuters.com
Glitches overshadow elections in Nigeria: Long queues, glitches with voting machines, a bomb attack – there are problems and delays in the elections in Nigeria. Some polling stations remain open for an extra day. zdf.de
Sharing increases the quality of life: Airbnb, car sharing, Vinted and others – the possibilities of the sharing economy, i.e. the joint use of products or services, have grown strongly in recent years. Hopes are high that this will also make the economy much more environmentally and climate friendly. In 2011, Time Magazine included „sharing“ in its list of the ten outstanding ideas that are changing the world. In Germany, however, the offers are used much less than in many other countries, as a new study shows. So there is still room for improvement here: Only about ten per cent of consumers in this country actively participate in sharing things and services, for example by staying with private individuals as tourists, renting car-sharing cars or using rental systems for tools. klimareporter.de , capterra.com (survey)
Consequences for the climate: The catastrophe after the Ukraine war: A current Greenpeace report shows the extent of the environmental and climate damage caused by the Ukraine war. The Greenpeace report documents a total of almost 900 cases of severe environmental damage, including large-scale forest fires, the leakage of toxic gases from power plants and oil spills in water bodies. It is based on documentation by the Ukrainian environmental organisation „Ecoaction“. Of the 900 cases, 30 particularly serious ones were selected and verified by Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe using satellite images. Forests and nature reserves were also severely affected. The environmental foundation WWF estimates that around three million hectares have been destroyed so far. fr.de , greenpeace.org
Human rights as a criterion for investors: Investors who ignore sustainability factors when evaluating countries are in for a rude awakening. According to World Bank estimates, for half of the countries for which data are available, the costs of partial ecosystem collapse could even exceed the GDP loss caused by the Corona pandemic. A study by the Finance for Biodiversity Initiative also found a direct link between nature loss and country ratings. According to the study, the risk of credit rating downgrades is particularly high for Asia. In the event of a partial natural collapse, China’s credit rating could be downgraded by six notches, while seven notches are possible for Malaysia. India could drop five notches and Indonesia four notches in the event of a partial collapse of its ecosystem. Moreover, since ecosystems are interconnected, their collapse can affect several countries in the same region at the same time, which multiplies the negative impact. boersenzeitung.de
Organic cotton: Growing trend in the textile industry. fair-economics.de
Climate activist: Stuck during court hearing and carried out. n-tv.de
UN Report: Climate insecurity, upwind for politextremists and ways out. science.apa.at
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: Visit us at our stall and session!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
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.
Thieves wanted to steal almost a ton of wild garlic: In Leipzig’s alluvial forest, wild garlic thieves wanted to strike again. But something obviously went completely wrong. Following a witness tip-off, almost 1,000 kilograms of wild garlic were seized by the city police on Monday.
Unknown persons had dug up the plants and stowed them in bags. bild.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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