Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – The window of opportunity is shrinking: In the truest sense of the word, the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was published last Monday, was drowned in a hail of shells and rockets. Yet there are only superlatives in the climate crisis: record heat, floods of the century and monster storms are now the order of the day. In Germany, too, people are losing their homes to floods or dying of heat stress. At the latest after the past three catastrophic summers, it is clear that people are suffering in the climate crisis. Science can now put a figure on this suffering: Up to 3.6 billion people are particularly vulnerable. Moreover, they live in regions that are particularly affected by the consequences of climate change – that is almost half of the world’s population. „Globally, climate change is increasingly leading to vulnerabilities, disease, malnutrition, threats to physical and mental health, well-being and even death,“ the report’s executive summary says. Even the one half of humanity that will not be directly affected by the accelerated heating of the atmosphere and oceans must prepare for huge losses and high migration pressure if the average global temperature rises from today’s level of about one degree above industrial levels to 1.5 degrees above – which is presumed to happen as early as the beginning of the next decade. There is practically no alternative to halving climate-damaging emissions by 2030. Those who are aiming for climate neutrality by the middle of the century and think they can therefore take it slowly, such as China as the world’s largest emitter, are leaving the climate policy consensus of Paris behind. spiegel.de , rnd.de, faz.net , ipcc.ch (Summary of the report for policymakers)
Breakthrough on plastic pollution: Representatives from all over the world have agreed for the first time on a joint strategy to curb global plastic pollution at a UN environmental conference in Kenya. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is to work with an intergovernmental working group to draw up a legally binding agreement on plastic waste by 2024. Among the supporters of the pact against plastic waste are major plastic producers such as China and the USA. UNEP head Inger Anderson said the planned treaty was a historic turning point. The agreement is to regulate not only the production of new plastics but also all aspects of plastic pollution, from the soda bottle to the microparticles in the sea, soil and food chain. dw.com , tagesschau.de
The eleventh warm winter in a row
According to the German Weather Service (DWD), the current winter of 2021/22 was the eleventh winter in a row that was too warm. The average temperature was 3.3 degrees Celsius, 3.1 degrees above the value of the reference period 1961 to 1990, as the DWD announced in its preliminary winter balance. Compared to the later, warmer period 1991 to 2020, the deviation was still 1.9 degrees. This makes the winter of 2021/22 one of the seven warmest since the beginning of continuous weather records in 1881. In the west and southwest of the country, the winter was mostly completely absent. rnd.de
Research with Russia suspended: The Russian invasion of Ukraine cut off all contact between East and West. Even during the Cold War, cooperation did not break off completely. This also has consequences for climate research, for example. Russian guest scientists, for example, who are currently still at the Desy Physics Research Centre in Hamburg, had to leave the country by the end of the week. All joint projects were stopped. For large-scale projects outside Germany, the lack of funding from Moscow could soon make itself felt as well. Some scientists are brave enough to publicly apologise for their president’s course, like the Russian climatologist Oleg Anisimov recently at the presentation of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He and others could face consequences: the Prosecutor General in Moscow recently threatened anyone who supports „hostile powers“ with prosecution as a traitor to the country. The German Research Foundation (DFG) has also suspended all of its funded research projects between scientists from Germany and Russia. For the time being, it will not accept funding applications for new German-Russian collaborations or applications to continue ongoing projects. „With these measures, the DFG is flanking the consistent action of the Federal Government with regard to Russian aggression,“ the Research Foundation announced. faz.net , zeit .de
Arab world and West Asia threatened by famine: Everything is connected to everything, that was a realisation of the pandemic and is now one that also affects the Ukraine conflict. Aid organisations have warned of serious consequences of the Ukraine war for food supplies – especially in the Arab world and West Asia. „Already, 276 million people in 81 countries are affected by acute hunger. The world simply cannot afford another conflict,“ said the Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Germany, Martin Frick. More than half of the food that the WFP distributes in crisis regions comes from Ukraine. According to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Russia produces ten per cent and Ukraine four per cent of the world’s wheat. Both are among the most important exporters. According to media reports, Ukrainian exports have already almost come to a standstill. But experts also expect food prices to rise in Germany. This is triggering a new discussion in agricultural policy, for example whether the path to more sustainability that has been pushed forward must now take a back seat. taz.de , n-tv.de
The danger of a nuclear disaster in Ukraine: Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy. The fact that Russian troops are not afraid of attacking Ukrainian nuclear power plants became clear in the early hours of Friday morning. According to Ukrainian sources, there was a fire at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant near the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhya. The fire was triggered by heavy shelling by Russian forces. According to the authorities, the situation is under control again. Nevertheless, the nuclear power plant attack poses a frightening risk. Fifteen reactors at four sites produce more than fifty percent of Ukraine’s electricity. In addition, Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate (SNRIU) reports that an increased local dose rate of gamma radiation has been registered in the Chernobyl exclusion zone after battles. In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), citing the SNRIU, announced that a missile had hit the site of a storage facility for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste in Kiev. A transformer was also damaged in another storage facility of this type. nzz.ch , tagesspiegel.de
Economy demands acceleration pact for renewable energies from the Federal Government: The business community is demanding an acceleration pact for renewable energies from the German government. The question of how to ensure long-term and sustainable security of supply for citizens, but also for companies, urgently needs to be reassessed, says a position paper of the Climate Economy Foundation, which is available to Handelsblatt. „A strategy must now be developed quickly to make the transition to a climate-neutral economy secure and independent of Russian gas.“ handelsblatt.com
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Den Wandel wagen
Overcoming resistance on the way to a better future
How do we find ways to a good and liveable future? What resistance do we encounter on this path – and how can we overcome it? What encourages people to set out in the unstoppable change of our world?
For many years, the educationalist Christine Jung and the Protestant theologian Matthias Jung have been engaged in a constructive dialogue about these questions. The essays published here are as different as the two authors. Their common point of departure is their personal encounter with Frithjof Bergmann, the „forefather of New Work“. The corona pandemic and the personal and social changes necessitated by the climate crisis are the horizon against which their essays were written. Christine and Matthias Jung are united by the hope that a better future is possible when people follow the trail of joy in their work. oekom.de
Brunsbüttel LNG terminal: KfW, Dutch Gasunie and RWE have signed an agreement in principle for the joint construction of the terminal. n-tv.de
Failure of thousands of wind turbines in Central Europe: Reason suspected cyber attack by the Russians in connection with the Ukraine crisis. fair-economics.de
Sustainable products: The EU Commission plans green specifications for almost all goods. faz.net
Ukraine: After the attack on the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhya, the Greens call for a review of safety for nuclear facilities across Europe. rnd.de
Provision: What politics does for young people worried about pensions, the environment, war and climate. br.de
Protests in Berlin: „Last Generation“: Climate activists plan new blockades. berliner-zeitung.de
Green climate policy: With reference to the war in Ukraine, their leaders have summarily relativised the importance of climate protection. faz.net
We have banned at least some disposable products in Europe, I always come back to the example of the plastic straw, which is now banned – and no one misses it. That happened relatively quickly, it’s a good approach, of course it doesn’t solve the problem yet, but it’s an example of how you can do it. Products that are superfluous, that we don’t need at all in this form, that require too much material, the famous packaging that is far too big, that uses far too much material where it is not necessary at all – all that is meant by value-preserving product design. That means no longer wasting raw materials, but using them as efficiently as possible.
Steffi Lemke, Federal Minister for the Environment comments on a possible global plastics agreement,of course she would have preferred if we had had such an agreement five years ago. And she thinks that society as such would also have been willing to support such an agreement much earlier. She is firmly convinced that people do not want this throwaway mentality. But to create a binding international agreement at UN level in two years and to actually put it into practice is a very ambitious timetable. And we would have to start it today and start it now; unfortunately, hindsight would not help. Two years is a very, very short time to achieve such an agreement, which is why the work will start very intensively in the coming weeks and months. She hoped – and Germany would support this massively – that this agreement could actually enter into force in 2024. dlf.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:
50 years ago, „The Limits to Growth“ was published Scenarios for the Development of the World
Moving from knowledge to action – that was the intention of the researchers who prepared the study on „The Limits to Growth“ on behalf of the Club of Rome and published it in 1972. The response reached far beyond the scientific community – and shook the belief in the omnipotence of technology. But no one implemented the equilibrium economy called for by the authors. dlf.de
Asked about charging points: How many „publicly and non-discriminatorily accessible“ charging points for electric vehicles are currently available, the parliamentary group Die Linke would like to know. In a small question (20/809), the MPs refer to the goal contained in the coalition agreement of SPD, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and FDP to create one million such charging points by 2030. The question now asks on which analysis the target figure of one million is based, „especially measured against the expansion target of 15 million electric cars by 2030 also mentioned there“.
Big banks attack leasing companies‘ business: Several spectacular deals show: The banks of German car manufacturers must prepare themselves for tougher competition from the financial sector. handelsblatt.com
California: American state allows robotaxis with paying passengers. Google sister company Waymo and General Motors subsidiary Cruise have been given the green light to launch commercial robotaxi services in California. t-online.de
Cycling in Germany: Disproportion – more and more cyclists in Germany, but too few cycle paths. The infrastructure for cyclists in Germany still needs a lot of development. According to the German Ecological Transport Club (VCD), so far only about 30 percent of all country roads have a cycle path. There is often not enough money for more attractive cycling – legal regulations often make it difficult to implement projects. rnd.de
E-mobility: Electricity grids can cope with 100 million e-cars: this is the result of calculations by the electricity association Eurelectric and the consulting firm EY. According to these calculations, the power supply will remain secure even with exponential growth in e-mobility. However, preparations are necessary. electrifiedmagazin.de
Tesla: Two years after the start of construction Tesla receives final approval for car factory in Grünheide. The start of Tesla’s car production in Brandenburg is within reach. The US company received the final approval on Friday. But the certainty lasted only a few hours. The State Environmental Agency had just granted permission for the factory until, on the evening of the same day, the additional water pumping was declared „unlawful“ and „unenforceable“ by the Administrative Court of Frankfurt (Oder). The court justified the decision with a procedural error and thus partially upheld the complaint of the environmental associations Grüne Liga and Nabu. tagesspiegel.de , zeit.de (complaint)
Stellantis: The Opel parent company Stellantis wants to sell only electric cars in Europe by 2030 and half of them in the USA by then. The goal is to become completely CO2-neutral by 2038, group CEO Carlos Tavares said this week. The goal is to combat climate change and contribute to sustainable mobility in the future. By 2030, the group, with brands such as Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Fiat, Maserati, Jeep and Peugeot, wants to have 75 electric models on offer and sell five million e-cars annually. watson.de
Aviation fully electric? The aviation of the future. About 15 percent of global CO2 emissions are caused by mobility. Is it conceivable that air pollution could also be reduced in aviation? arte.tv
Referendum in Berlin: Twelve car journeys a year are still allowed, parking is only possible with a special use permit: A Berlin initiative wants to achieve a radical change in traffic, by referendum. spiegel.de
BMW is calling on politicians to impose stricter requirements on the petroleum industry: „Fuel manufacturers can and must make a greater contribution to climate change,“ said board member Frank Weber. „Just as car manufacturers are required to build e-motors, the fuel industry could be required to also offer CO-free2 electricity, hydrogen and e-fuels at its filling stations.“ welt.de
India promises the cheapest green hydrogen in the world: High production costs have so far prevented the breakthrough of the sustainable energy carrier. India wants to change that – with a new strategy and the support of two multi-billionaires. handelsblatt.com
Hamburg as a hub for green hydrogen: The import of regeneratively produced hydrogen will play a key role for Hamburg and Germany in order to obtain the necessary quantities of it. The steel industry in particular also has a considerable need for this – because replacing coking coal with hydrogen in steel production offers a powerful lever to quickly reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. ArcelorMittal’s Hamburg steelworks is one of the pioneers in Germany in developing such technologies. In this respect, the Senate wants to reinvent Germany’s largest seaport as an energy hub for the whole of Germany and for neighbouring countries, so to speak. welt.de
Expansion of the German hydrogen network falters: Dispute over the German hydrogen network. Especially in view of Russia, green hydrogen cannot come fast enough. But the expansion of the network is failing due to a whole series of hurdles. handelsblatt.com
Saudis build 420-billion city: Hydrogen rules here instead of oil: A high-tech city that relies entirely on hydrogen? That is the ambitious goal that the Saudi Arabian government is pursuing for the planned city of Neom. The first residents are to move in as early as this year.The planned city Neom is to cost around 420 billion euros – an attempt by Saudi Arabia to use a climate-friendly energy source instead of oil. Saudi Arabia has set itself a lofty goal in planning the futuristic-looking city-state in the north-west of the country just outside the border with Jordan: The planned city is to be powered entirely by hydrogen. efahrer.chip.de
Sufficient green hydrogen by 2030: According to a study by the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW), green hydrogen can be available in sufficient quantities by 2030. In order to increase Germany’s independence in energy supply, hydrogen is of indispensable importance. Contrary to many assumptions, hydrogen does not have to remain a scarce commodity. Demand can be more than met as early as 2030. The prerequisite, however, is the creation of an appropriate political framework. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by Frontier Economics on behalf of the DVGW. The study determined the medium and long-term availability of climate-neutral gases in various scenarios. dvwg.de
Rheinfelden: With bacteria and algae to biohydrogen: plant at Evonik in Rheinfelden makes it possible. A demonstration plant is being built on the premises of Evonik in Rheinfelden in which industrial wastewater is to be further processed. suedkurier.de
VDI and VDE call for expansion of hydrogen and charging infrastructure for commercial vehicles: On the way to climate neutrality, CO2 emissions from heavy commercial vehicles are to be reduced by 30 percent by 2030 according to EU specifications. To achieve this goal, around 200,000 emission-free trucks would have to be in use in Europe by 2030. This is the conclusion of the new study „Climate-friendly commercial vehicles. Comparison of different technology paths for CO2-neutral and -free drive systems“ by the Association of German Engineers (VDI) and the Association of German Engineers (VDI). (VDI) and the Association of German Electrical Engineers (VDE). (VDE). elektroauto-news.net
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
Evaluations of measures in development cooperation: In an answer (20/673) to a minor question (20/383) of the AfD parliamentary group, the Federal Government provides information on the evaluation of measures of bilateral German development cooperation (DC) in the area of responsibility of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). According to this, the implementing organisations collect validated samples that are representative of the total number of projects. These evaluations would give measures an overall rating of 5 „if they are predominantly unsuccessful or if, despite some positive partial results, the negative results clearly dominate, and a rating of 6 if they are completely unsuccessful“. The German government points out that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has not yet defined the term „failed projects and measures“ in development cooperation. The Federal Government’s regulations also do not contain a definition of when a German development cooperation measure is to be considered a failure.
CDU/CSU asks about nuclear waste repository in Würgassen: The CDU/CSU parliamentary group has asked for information on the planned nuclear waste storage facility in Würgassen in the Weser Valley in a minor question (20/858). Among other things, the MPs want to know whether the federal government should not have commissioned a new expert opinion on the construction, as the federal states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia have now done. They also ask whether the federal government will stop the planning until the report is available. On the border with Lower Saxony, the federal government has planned the construction of a stand-by storage facility in which low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste from all over Germany is to be packed for later storage in the Konrad mine repository near Salzgitter. Regional politicians and citizens‘ initiatives have been criticising this for months. Among other things, they warn against the construction of the repository in a flooded area because of the danger of flooding. The federally owned Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung (BZV), which is in charge of planning and building the nuclear waste centre, on the other hand, sees no reasons against the construction. The expert report commissioned by Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia is now to examine in principle whether the storage facility is necessary.
Africa can and wants to supply more gas to Europe: „Germany and Europe must now quickly make up for what they have missed in the last 20 years – a diversification of their natural gas suppliers. Economics Minister Habeck has travelled as far as the USA to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) there. But he should also travel to Africa, because in the short term African countries like Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria and Angola can and want to supply gas to Europe in order to reduce our dependence on Russian imports,“ explains Stefan Liebing, Chairman of the Africa Association of German Business. africa-live.de , dw.com
North Africa and and Ukraine war: second-class refugees. People from North Africa are stuck in Ukraine because they are not allowed into the EU. In their home countries there could be a food crisis. taz.de
Benin: Right to art – Benin exhibits restituted works The West African country has received 26 looted works back from the former colonial power France. There is great enthusiasm, the restitution gives a boost to the entire art scene. dw.com
Kenya: Kinakoni – A village against hunger. 40 million people are on the brink of famine in the East African state. A village in Kenya is looking for entirely new solutions. welthungerhilfe.de
Kenya’s ruling party joins opposition coalition to run for president: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Saturday his party had joined an opposition coalition to purge politics of „crooks“ ahead of August’s presidential and parliamentary elections. The announcement came after Kenyatta’s designated successor William Ruto, who plans to contest the presidential election, was kicked out of the ruling Jubilee Party.“I heard someone saying that there is no government anywhere in the world that will unite with and support the opposition,“ Kenyatta said, announcing that Jubilee would join the Azimio la Umoja (Search for Unity) coalition led by veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga. allafricanews.com
Morocco: Severe water shortage forces farmers to migrate to cities. allafricanews.com
Rwanda: „Green City Kigali“ project – green district is being built in Rwanda’s capital. In addition, Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, Rwandan Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, and Patrick Karera, State Secretary at the Rwandan Ministry of Environment, officially launched the Rwandan-German Climate and Development Partnership in a high-level ceremony in Kigali. Incidentally, Rwanda was the first trip of the new minister, who set her first accents here. Schulze also wants to address the issue of emancipation more intensively in the ministry and to lift more women into leadership positions and involve them in projects. africa-live.de , bmz.de , spiegel.de
Netflix to launch first African reality show: Netflix will launch its first African reality show „Young, Famous, & African“ on Friday 18 March. The unscripted show aims to provide viewers with the best entertainment around some top African entertainers. The seven-part glamorous reality series will feature Khanyi Mbau (South Africa), Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania), Annie Macaulay-Idibia (Nigeria), 2Baba (Nigeria), Zari the Boss Lady (Uganda), Naked DJ (South Africa), Nadia Nakai, Swanky Jerry (Nigeria), Andile Ncube (South Africa) and Kayleigh Schwark (South Africa). „Here we go!!!! The first global reality show of its kind!!! „, said performer Andile Ncube. allafricanews.com.
Bitcoin mining – enormous power consumption: The so-called mining and generation of Bitcoins is only possible with very complex computing power and eats up huge amounts of electricity. According to the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, which shows the worldwide electricity consumption for Bitcoin production, the carbon footprint of the cryptocurrency is now as large as that of the oil state Kuwait. In the US in particular, more and more companies want to mine Bitvoin the green way. Large US crypto-mining companies such as Bitfarms and Neptune Digital Assets are now marketing their business as sustainable. Meanwhile, in Brazil, politicians are discussing a tax exemption for so-called green mining, in which the production of the cryptocurrency is powered by renewable energy. dw.com
Deserts of Central Asia important for cloud formation: Clouds are important for the climate. Because of their important role, researchers are now trying to better understand the processes that lead to cloud formation. Tiny particles (aerosols), such as soot particles, fine dust and sea salt, play an important role. Water vapour in the atmosphere can condense on them. Cirrus clouds, for example, have an influence on the heat balance of the Earth. An international research team has now shown that mineral dust from desert regions plays a surprisingly large role in the formation of these thin, high ice clouds. Although the Sahara releases the most dust into the atmosphere, the deserts of Central Asia are surprisingly often more important sources of cirrus cloud formation. derstandard.at
Do we need a language for the environmental crisis? Although we focus precisely and rightly on language in many areas of society, for example gender, colonialism, right-wing populism, a language for the scale of the environmental crisis is not in the public debate. What language do we use when we talk about the destruction of landscapes? Does this language fit the problems we have with climate change? Literature opens up other linguistic ways of accessing nature, landscape, ecological habitats. Poetic speech, in the sense of ecocriticism, becomes a counter-language here and sheds light on the formulaic and anthropocentric nature of environmental debates. deutschlandfunk.de
Climate communication in signs of war: Climate activists are asking themselves how they can currently communicate and reach the public at all. klimafakten.de
Fast Fashion: A new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in Copenhagen now shows that the textile industry in the EU is now one of the four most environmentally and climate damaging sectors of the economy. eea.europa.eu
Active climate protection: Organic farming is an important building block in the fight against climate change. utopia.de
Fly shit could become useful: The fly on the plate and the fly droppings on the field – if scientists have their way, this could be the future of a sustainable food cycle. If the world’s population consumed more insects as food, fields and meadows could be fertilised with the material left over from insect production, for example with the excrement or the so-called exuviae, the exoskeletons, i.e. the stripped shells that remain after the moulting of certain insects. spiegel.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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