IPCC report – that’s no way to protect the climate: At the beginning of the week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented a comprehensive summary of the current scientific findings on the causes and consequences of global warming. The so-called synthesis report summarises several IPCC studies that have already been published; it also contains further findings from so-called special reports. In short: Nothing is lost yet. Technically and physically, it would still be possible to meet the Paris climate targets and thus enable humanity to have a future worth living. And this despite the fact that climate change is progressing faster than expected. The many bad news stories in the latest publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change can also be reduced to a simple formula: This is not going to work. The way the global community is currently dealing with its existential crisis, climate change cannot be limited to a tolerable level. Energy and climate researcher Daniel Huppmann of the Climate Change Centre Austria (CCCA): „The IPCC synthesis report clearly shows that our society does not have the time to focus exclusively on the development and marketability of new technologies.“ He said it was dangerous in the public discussion to play down the urgency of global warming and its risks: „Calling scientific forecasts ‚doomsday madness‘ is dangerous and reinforces the scientific scepticism of the … population.“ At the same time, however, one should not fall into a state of shock. Instead, the report should be a warning to all decision-makers, says the expert: „Nothing less than the preservation of our livelihoods is at stake“ deutschlandfunk.de , derstandard.at , spektrum.de , original report
Özdemir’s policy is „hypocritical“: The environmental organisation Greenpeace has vehemently criticised the stance of German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) on the planned EU-Mercosur free trade agreement. „It is hypocritical and neo-colonial of Özdemir to push through a free trade agreement with the bogus argument that it fights hunger and forest destruction in Brazil,“ said Greenpeace trade expert Lis Cunha. The rainforest is not protected by a trade agreement that increases the import of harmful products such as beef and pesticides. The EU has been negotiating a free trade agreement with Mercosur, which includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, since 1999. The agreement would create one of the largest free trade zones in the world with more than 700 million people. tagesspiegel.de
A thousand times higher
is the CO2 consumption of the richest Germans compared to the poorest. While the poorest in Germany emitted just over 3 tonnes of CO2 per year in 2019, the richest 1 percent emitted about 105 tonnes – almost 35 times as much. If we look at even smaller groups among the richest, this inequality increases further: The emissions of the richest 0.001 per cent in Germany, about 800 people, are estimated at 11,700 tonnes a year – a thousand times the German average. taz.de
From the field to the bin – Too much food ends up in the rubbish instead of on the table: a new study shows that food waste causes half of all greenhouse gas emissions from food production. In figures: 9.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent came from food waste and losses during the production chain in 2017. This is roughly equivalent to the total annual emissions of the USA and the European Union. In Germany, so-called dumpster diving – dumping or containerising – is still prohibited. klimareporter.de
Climate change in the Alps – The meltwater is missing: In the Alpine region there is much less snow on the mountains than usual. This means that less meltwater reaches the valley in spring. The first consequences for water supply, and animal and plant life are noticeable. Due to the lack of water, the places that are under water all year round are becoming fewer and fewer – and the habitat for micro-organisms such as stonefly or caddisfly larvae is becoming smaller and smaller. tagesschau.de
Wind summit – acceleration of expansion required: With the „wind summit“, the German government wants to speed up the expansion of renewables, because the new German speed is not yet really igniting – and China is always beckoning. The country needs more wind turbines – and it needs them faster. The industry still sees brakes on the accelerated expansion of onshore wind power. These are now to be solved. That was the message of the „wind summit“ held on Wednesday at the home of Economics Minister Robert Habeck. Last year, a number of packages of measures were adopted, for example in planning and licensing law, said the Green politician. Large chunks on the way to an accelerated expansion had been cleared away. However, „smaller stones“ still lay in the way. In order to more than quadruple the current rate of expansion, all obstacles to expansion would have to be removed. The wind summit was attended by representatives of the energy sector, municipal umbrella organisations, federal states, trade unions and other federal ministries. badische-zeitung.de , wiwo.de
Last Generation „unignorable“: Last Generation responded to the accusation of blackmail with another letter to the municipalities on Tuesday. They apologise that their first letter could be interpreted as blackmailing. „That was never our intention,“ the activists wrote. In a statement they stressed at the same time: „No one can be blackmailed into obeying their own laws.“ With their actions, the Last Generation has managed to become an important part of the climate movement within a year. It has become „unignorable“, as the group itself puts it. Through civil disobedience, the group has „drawn attention to the climate crisis, even in the polycrisis situation in which we currently find ourselves due to the corona pandemic, the Ukraine war and climate change“, says protest researcher Michael Neuber from the TU Berlin. The general conditions are also favourable at the moment. taz.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
°C – Celsius
If you could influence the climate, who would you save from global warming? Your homeland? Greenland? Africa?
When several black flying objects appear over Chinese airspace, the world holds its breath. Has the Chinese government made good on its threats? Are they going to attack Taiwan? The White House is in turmoil and the American president is on the verge of alerting the fleet. Only at the last second can a climate scientist avert an attack. She immediately realises that there are no combat drones in the sky. China does not want to attack a country, it wants to seize power over the world’s climate. No one yet suspects that this is only the beginning of a much more dramatic development … penguinrandomhouse.de
Climate referendum in Berlin fails: – initiative falls well short of quorum. rbb24.de
How buildings store CO2: Building materials made of straw and hemp, for example, can bind CO2 in the long term and thus contribute to climate protection. handelsblatt.com
EU Commission: Wants to present „greenwashing law“. welt.de
Bavarian election campaign: Minister of Agriculture publishes list of 34 „stumbling blocks“ for the energy transition. pv-magazine.de
Subsidies worth billions planned: Heat pump for the price of gas heating? That’s what Habeck’s promise costs. focus.de
Environmental associations: Misinformation. about planned EU standards for building renovation. deneff.org
Diving robot: Can’t seal leak at sunken oil tanker off the coast of the Phillipines. zeit.de
Protest against climate policy: Munich enacts superglue ban. sueddeutsche.de
Environment Minister Lemke: Demands special envoy for water at UN conference. tagesschau.de
The seventeen goals magazine tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
PODCAST OF THE WEEK:
„Tremendous speed“ – Dirk Messner on the climate crisis
The IPCC report presented last week paints a bleak picture of the future: in almost all scenarios, global warming of 1.5 degrees will already be exceeded in the next decade. Yet the effects of the climate crisis are already clearly noticeable. In Europe there is a drought – in the middle of winter. A winter that was actually too warm in Germany for the twelfth time in a row. The Federal Government’s Forest Condition Survey states: more than a third of all trees in Germany have significant damage. In view of these challenges, the question arises: What can we do? And how does society discuss climate protection measures?
n the fourth episode of „In aller Ruhe“, Carolin Emcke talks to Dirk Messner about the climate crisis. Messner, born in 1962, has been the President of the Federal Environment Agency since the beginning of 2020. In this role, he works at the interface between research and policy advice. Previously, the renowned sustainability researcher and political scientist was, among other things, Director of the German Development Institute from 2003 to 2018. He was also co-chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change. He coined the term „transformation“, which describes the upcoming restructuring of cities, mobility, energy systems and land use. sueddeutsche.de
COMMENT OF THE WEEK:
The careless use of water as a resource
A commentary by Dagmar Röhrlich
Humanity must save water in order to survive. This is shown in a report by the United Nations. But our use of precious water is also crucial in the fight against climate change.
… Germany also treats this resource indifferently or, better, carelessly. For example, we have no idea how much water agriculture really uses. Only 2.2 percent is reported to Brussels – in the countries around us it is 15. The reason for the discrepancy: the measurements in this country are voluntary. Apparently, it was not worth a political decision to anyone to change this. Whether it is one, two, three or 15 percent, the difference is not that big after all. Water is a human right – and we tend to forget that nature has just as much right to it. We destroy ourselves when we deprive ecosystems of the water they need. Without functioning water cycles, we will not be able to cope with climate change. Whether forests or swamps are to store carbon dioxide or the subsoil is to become a reservoir via technical solutions: All of this needs a lot of water. deutschlandfunk.de
Battery truck Nikola Tre outruns them all: The electric truck from the US manufacturer is being built in Ulm and will be delivered this year, long before the competition from Daimler and MAN. edison.media
How e-cars are accelerating deindustrialisation in Germany: Figures show that the mobility shift from combustion cars to electricity is costing Germany a lot of jobs. But this is not only due to electric cars. For decades, the development and production of automobiles provided prosperity in Germany. With the end of the combustion engine approaching, this soon seems to be a thing of the past. Figures from the Ifo Institute show how serious the situation is for the heart of the German industrial economy. merkur.de
Charging infrastructure for e-cars: Scholz calls for fast charging points at every petrol station. The German government is tightening its requirements for the involvement of the petroleum industry. By the end of 2027, at least one fast-charging point should be installed at every petrol station, demands Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz. tagesspiegel.de
OTTO Group: wants to reduce sea freight emissions by 15 percent. The online retailer also wants to make transport routes more climate-neutral and is now relying on cooperation in sea freight. logistik-watchblog.de
Climate protection in shipping: EU decides on e-fuel quota – for ships. The goal for 2050: Large ships in Europe are to emit 80 percent less greenhouse gas. To achieve this, there are also plans to make climate-neutral fuels mandatory. spiegel.de
Stabilising the electricity grids with hydrogen: The TSOs have published the first draft of the grid development plan „2037/2045“. It describes an electricity grid that can achieve climate neutrality by 2045. The transmission system operators (TSOs) 50 Hertz, Amprion, Tennet and Transnet BW have now published the first draft of the network development plan „2037/2045 (2023)“. The public can participate in the consultations until 25 April this year, and the comments will be included in the second draft of the NEP, which the TSOs will subsequently submit to the Federal Network Agency for review. Compared to previous NDPs, the assumptions on the extent of hydrogen use have also increased significantly. As early as 2037, the TSOs expect a hydrogen infrastructure, the design of which will have an impact on the development needs of the electricity transmission grid. The new NEP assumes that electrolysers will be built where they serve the grid, according to the grid operators. Overall, the infrastructure of electricity, gas and hydrogen will have to be planned in an increasingly coordinated manner in the future. According to the TSOs, the draft now published describes an electricity grid with which climate neutrality can be achieved by 2045. Electricity plays a central role in this, as the decarbonisation of the industry, transport and building sectors is predominantly achieved through direct or indirect electrification, the companies emphasise. „The great importance of sector coupling for decarbonisation is clearer in this NEP than in any of its predecessors,“ they say. energie-und-management.de
Expert report recommends setting up a national hydrogen infrastructure company: Economist Tom Krebs advises the German government to take an active role as owner of the nationalised energy companies Sefe and Uniper. The FDP takes a critical view. According to economist Tom Krebs, the German government should actively use its ownership role in the nationalised energy companies Sefe and Uniper to drive forward the transformation of the energy industry. Krebs assigns clear tasks to the two companies: Uniper should focus on the production and import of green hydrogen and the construction of hydrogen-capable gas-fired power plants, while Sefe should play a central role in the import of green hydrogen as well as in the transport and storage of hydrogen. Krebs wants the public sector to play a central role in the development of a hydrogen transmission network. There are economic reasons for founding a federal company for the development of a hydrogen network. This public grid company should work closely with the existing gas grid companies in the form of a public-private partnership (PPP), Krebs recommends. handelsblatt.com
Germany and Denmark want hydrogen pipeline by 2028: Copenhagen and Berlin want a hydrogen pipeline to be laid across the two countries‘ common borders by 2028. This would make it easier for Germany to import large quantities of hydrogen to supply its industry. Hydrogen, a gas that does not release greenhouse gases when burned, is widely used in industry, with the steel industry in particular expected to significantly increase its demand. German industry is expected to consume more than 90 terawatt hours (TWh) of the gas by 2030, compared to the 60 TWh of dirty hydrogen used today. Berlin assumes that a large part of this will come from Denmark. Germany and Denmark want to „cooperate more closely in the future on the development of a European hydrogen infrastructure“, German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck said on Friday after his visit to Denmark, where he met with the new government. euractiv.de
Italy wants to bring green hydrogen from Africa to Germany: A consortium around the Italian pipeline operator Snam plans to import several megatonnes of hydrogen per year. Bavaria is also to be connected via the route. handelsblatt.com
Green hydrogen in paper mill: The paper manufacturer Essity is the first company in its industry to produce paper completely CO2 -free. In its plant in Mainz-Kostheim, the Swedish company, known for its products „Tempo“ and „Zewa“, is for the first time using climate-friendly green hydrogen in addition to electricity from renewable energies. This replaces the natural gas previously used in the energy-intensive paper drying process. According to the company, the permanent use of green hydrogen on the largest and most efficient paper machine at the site could save about 37,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. This would correspond to about a quarter of the energy consumption. This would correspond to about a quarter of the total CO2 emissions of the Mainz plant. So far, however, the necessary efficient hydrogen infrastructure is still lacking. klimareporter.de
BDEW publishes factsheet „H2-ready“: What does H2-ready actually mean? And can domestic gas appliances be operated with hydrogen today and in the future? The new factsheet provides answers to these questions. It also provides information on the DVGW’s rules and regulations and the most important properties of hydrogen. bdew.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
Union asks about plastics and the circular economy: The CDU/CSU parliamentary group addresses the use of plastics in the circular economy in a small question (20/6063). Among other things, it wants to know when the federal government will present the announced national circular economy strategy and what concrete measures it plans for the „gradual transformation of the plastics industry“. She also asks whether, in addition to plastic recyclates, the use of biomass and CO2 from carbon capture and utilisation, CCU for short, could also be considered as a supplement within the framework of the national circular economy strategy.
Evaluation of development cooperation: The Federal Government reports on the evaluations of governmental and non-governmental German development cooperation carried out in 2022 in an answer (20/6056) to a minor question (20/5741) of the AfD parliamentary group. It also lists evaluations in the field of multilateral development cooperation in tabular form.
More recycling of lithium batteries: The German government expects continued high growth rates in the secondary use and recycling of lithium-ion batteries. An annual increase of 30 per cent can be expected until 2030, it writes in an answer (20/6054) to a minor question by the AfD parliamentary group (20/5802). In 2021, 27,897 tonnes of spent batteries were recycled. In 2030, a recycling mass of about 300,000 tonnes of used lithium-ion batteries was expected. The Federal Government does not see any danger of contamination of soil and groundwater by lithium in the context of the expansion of electromobility, as is further stated in the answer: „Large-scale contamination by lithium“ is not to be expected, as lithium-ion batteries must be properly collected and recycled after use.
Objectives of feminist foreign and development policy: The guidelines of feminist foreign policy of the Federal Foreign Office and the strategy of the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development on feminist development policy aim at a concrete promotion of gender justice. This is stated in the answer of the Federal Government (20/5648) to a small question of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (20/5187). Both the AA guidelines and the BMZ strategy are „based on the conviction that all people deserve the same rights, freedoms and opportunities. They are also based on the scientific knowledge that societies are more peaceful and prosperous when all people can participate equally in political, social and economic life,“ writes the German government. Feminist foreign policy and also feminist development policy are therefore directed towards strengthening the rights, resources and representation of women and marginalised groups worldwide.
„I am investigating how humanity can adapt to global warming. The experiences of indigenous groups and local communities are very important for this, because the climate crisis is already hitting them particularly hard.“
Prof. Dr. Lisa SchippeProfessor in the Geographical Development Research Group at the University of Bonn,…we should not ignore their voices. Only by talking to them can we understand how meaningful local adaptation to climate change can work. Indigenous groups also often have a completely different understanding of the relationship between humans and nature. Thinking about this, instead of dismissing it out of hand as unscientific, could open up important new possibilities for us. zeit.de
Anger spring in Africa: The continent’s youth is revolting against the elites: Broad protest movements are forming in four of Africa’s most important states. They are mainly supported by young people. They have good reasons for their anger. They are among the biggest players on the continent – the powerful states of Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Tunisia. Geographically, they are far apart, spread all over Africa. And yet they have much in common: all four states are considered stable democracies and comparatively strong economically. Almost 350 million people live there. And there is something else the four countries have in common: In each of them, the population is resentful of its own government. tagesspiegel.de
USA condemns Uganda’s law against homosexuals: Uganda’s parliament passes a law that imposes severe penalties for same-sex relationships. The USA is dismayed. Should the law really come into force, economic sanctions against the country are being considered, according to Washington. The US government is considering economic sanctions against Uganda because of the country’s anti-homosexuality law. If the law is actually enacted, it would be necessary to consider whether economic consequences would have to be taken, said the communications director of the National Security Council, John Kirby. White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said they were extremely concerned about the passage of the bill. It would restrict universal human rights, jeopardise progress in the fight against HIV and the immunodeficiency disease AIDS, and damage Uganda’s international reputation. n-tv.de
South Africa: Fairtrade wine without minimum wage: Fairtrade is „kamma-laaiks“, translated from Afrikaans: „Just pretend“ – this is the title of a report published by the South African Women on Farms Project (WFP) on Thursday. In it, the Stellenbosch-based NGO paints a disillusioning picture of the production of South African wine that ends up in European supermarkets with a Fairtrade label. South Africa’s winegrowers are heavily dependent on exports to Germany. With 92 million litres per year, the Federal Republic was South Africa’s largest buyer after the UK in 2020. For the survey, WFP mainly interviewed women, as they are often exposed to more difficult working conditions. A good half of the 94 female workers interviewed from 18 Fairtrade-certified wineries said they were exposed to pesticides – mostly without knowing how to use them properly. taz.de
Germany and Namibia adhere to Joint Declaration: Both the Federal Government and the Namibian Government adhere to the „Joint Declaration“ on coming to terms with colonial history in German South-West Africa. Both are of the opinion that unresolved issues still need to be clarified by means of renegotiations. This is stated in the answer (20/6085) to a small question (20/5788) of the parliamentary group Die Linke. According to the answer, the German government and the government of Namibia entered into a dialogue in 2015 „which dealt with the colonial history of German South-West Africa, including the war between 1904 and 1908“. In the form of the draft „Joint Declaration“ of Germany and Namibia entitled „United in the memory of our colonial past, united in the will for reconciliation, united in the vision for the future“, the result has been available since 2021. The declaration contains political commitments by both parties. It goes on to say that the Federal Government decided to conduct the dialogue on dealing with the colonial past with the Government of Namibia, which represents the entire Namibian people under international law. For lack of a legal basis, neither individual nor collective claims for compensation by individual descendants of victim groups such as Herero and Nama or their associations against the Federal Government existed. „The Federal Government is in agreement with the Namibian Government that the use of the funds paid by way of a joint settlement must be decided in a transparent procedure which ensures an appropriate participation of the descendants of the victims of the genocide.“
Morocco: The USA is making moves to relocate its Africa Command to Morocco. Algeria sees this as an affront – and knows that Moscow and Beijing are on its side. These are not good omens for Europe’s new energy partnership with North Africa. sueddeutsche.de
Without rare raw materials – researchers report breakthrough on the way to bio-solar cells: A research team questions the previous understanding of photosynthesis – and at the same time opens up new possibilities for generating climate-friendly energy. For it finds a possible way to efficiently use the ability of plants to produce green hydrogen. The highlight: the scientists succeeded for the first time in extracting electrons directly from the initial stages of photosynthesis. „Our results enable completely new concepts for the design of biological solar cells, which – at least theoretically – could significantly improve efficiency,“ said Marc Nowaczyk, head of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Rostock and co-author of the study. n-tv.de
For rapid wind power expansion – artificial intelligence recognises bird species: Wind farm projects are repeatedly slowed down by lawsuits or lengthy approval processes. Often the issue is nature conservation and then mostly birds or bats. With the help of artificial intelligence, it should be possible to produce expert opinions much more quickly in the future. For the construction of wind farms, comprehensive assessments are necessary that concern nature conservation. Sensitive bird or animal species in particular can significantly delay or prevent the erection of wind turbines. This is where artificial intelligence may soon come into play. Since the beginning of the year, Fraunhofer IEE has been working on a system that can automatically recognise and classify birds and other animals on the sites based on audio signals. The institute is supported by the universities in Kassel, Kiel and Chemnitz as well as partners from the field. The aim is to use deep-learning methods to detect the different animal species much faster than is possible for humans. This should speed up approval procedures and create legal certainty. ingenieur.de
Danube delta is being dredged and upsetting habitats: Once again, the consequences of the Ukrainian war are directly affecting nature and its habitats he Ukraine has dredged a canal in the Danube delta in order to be able to ship more grain despite the war. This natural habitat is completely disrupted as a result. Algae, which produce oxygen, grow in shallow water zones. Dredging, however, creates more deep river areas. The algae there die because not enough light reaches them and are broken down by microbes. These microorganisms consume oxygen in the process. In other words, the areas where oxygen is produced become fewer, and the areas where oxygen is consumed become more. This creates so-called oxygen holes in the river, which are dangerous for fish. dw.com
Climate change: Kenyan calls on Switzerland to act: further words. blick.ch
Sewage treatment plants: Can generate energy. tagesschau.de
Titanium oxide: Many toothpastes still contain the banned whitener. woman.at
Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue Conference 2023
28.03.2023 – 09:00 – 29.03.2023 – 18:00
Since its inception in 2015, the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD) has become one of the world’s most important forums on the global energy transition. In a high-caliber conference program held over the course of two days at the Federal Foreign Office, the BETD facilitates personal exchange between high-ranking government representatives, global business leaders, scientists, leaders of international organizations and NGOs. Here, key decision-makers of the energy transition engage in dialogue and bilateral meetings to share ideas and experiences, discuss and solve urgent challenges and forge energy partnerships in pursuit of an environmentally sound, secure and affordable global energy transition.
An energy transition that achieves one hundred percent renewable energy is possible. That message was the starting point for the dialogue that was initiated eight years ago; today it is clearer than ever how paramount that goal is to combatting the climate crisis we face. Countries all over the world recognise the unprecedented urgency that is driving the energy transition. What is at stake is more than saving the climate. A renewables-based energy supply is also a powerful job engine that will provide skilled employment and grow prosperity as it promotes a reliable, locally sourced energy system based on decentralized, resilient technologies.
The Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue is not only the largest event hosted by the Federal Foreign Office, it is also the largest and longest-running energy transition conference organised by the German government. The BETD takes place at the invitation of the German government and is organized jointly with the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), the German Solar Association (BSW), the German Energy Agency (dena) and the consulting firm eclareon.
Sustainable employers particularly popular:
When looking for a job, young people in Germany pay particular attention to their employer’s attitude to the climate. This and more came out in the annual climate survey of the European Investment Bank (EIB). According to the EIB Climate Survey, this is playing an increasingly important role for young people starting their careers in Germany. Already, a good half of those surveyed (56 percent) expect a potential employer to pay attention to sustainability. For 10 percent of job seekers, this is even a priority. haufe.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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