Climate Protection Act partially unconstitutional: A bang for the political buck this week. The Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the Climate Protection Act is partly unconstitutional. What is unique about this judgement is that the judges in Karlsruhe granted children and young people a right of action with a view to impending restrictions on their fundamental rights in the future. Experts see this as the introduction of a kind of global popular complaint to the Federal Constitutional Court. The first reactions of politicians were unanimously positive – except for the AfD. In a second reaction, however, some politicians put on the brakes as far as the speed of the change in the law is concerned. fair-economics.de , tagesspiegel.de (Reaction Politics), spiegel.de (Reaction of Friedrich Merz), zeit.de
The price of procrastination is rising: Each additional year that emissions do not fall increases the costs of counteraction enormously. The options for future generations dwindle. With every year of inaction, the sum needed to achieve this goal currently goes up by several trillion dollars. And that is only the cost of reducing emissions. Not included are costs caused by climate damage, such as hurricanes, floods, droughts or heat waves. sueddeutsche.de
Germans waste around 18 million tonnes of food every year
10 million of these could already be avoided today. The WWF symbolically reminded everyone of this yesterday, 2 May, the day on which production will no longer be for the bin but for the plate. wwf.de
Infrasound calculated incorrectly for years: Economics Minister Peter Altmaier had to apologise for a calculation error made by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), which reports to his ministry, when calculating the infrasound exposure of wind turbines. The calculations were too high – and thus provided wind power opponents with dubious arguments. The BGR stated the exposure at 100 decibels instead of the mathematically correct 64 decibels. fair-economics.de
How Germany can become climate neutral sooner: A study has just been presented that shows how Germany could become climate-neutral by 2045. In doing so, it is also necessary to consider uncomplicated and possibly unpleasant ways – such as „CCS“. The abbreviation stands for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage and means that climate-damaging carbon dioxide is extracted from the air and then stored deep in the earth so that it is not released into the atmosphere. The report entitled „Climate Neutral Germany 2045“ shows that a target year brought forward by five years would save almost one billion tonnes of CO₂ emissions. To achieve this, climate protection technologies such as energy efficiency, renewable energies, electrification and hydrogen would have to be ramped up even faster. agora-energiewende.de, Original document, deutschlandfunk.de
New climate protection initiative in the CDU: CDU budget expert Andreas Jung proposes to use the revenues from a higher CO₂ price to finance the eco-surcharge on electricity. „In order to achieve the new EU targets, we must also make another significant increase,“ Jung writes in a statement. „In doing so, we cannot bypass emissions trading as our guiding instrument for market-based climate protection at all.“ spiegel.de
Decentralisation saves grid expansion – energy transition cheaper and fairer: Germany’s entire energy demand for electricity, heat and mobility can be met 100 percent from renewable energies – without non-European energy imports and also without hydrogen imports.The current grid expansion planning is oversized, especially due to the neglect of the costs of grid expansion in system planning; 100 percent renewable scenarios have not been considered so far. If the grid is nevertheless expanded, as envisaged by the German government, this will make the energy transition considerably more expensive. In addition, more investments are flowing into technologies such as power lines and offshore wind farms, which make broad participation in society more difficult. sonnenseite.com
BOOKTIP OF THE WEEK:
Climate neutrality policies put to the test: IPCC reports, Paris Agreement, European emissions trading and Green Deal, international voluntary climate compensation projects and German climate policy.
With a foreword by Niko Paech and a guest contribution by Jutta Kill
This book provides an overview of the difficult-to-fathom environmental and climate policy and its terms, goals and international regulations, and then critically evaluates them from a fundamental ecological perspective. It opens with an unembellished assessment of climate policy in the present. The central concepts of climate policy: climate neutrality, compensation and emissions trading are then introduced and the motives for their worldwide problematic implementation are shown in a political economy explanation. After a brief recapitulation of the disastrous Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), the EU Climate Change Regulation, the Green Deal and the EU regulations on land use and forestry as well as the Market Stability Reserve are explained as an example of EU bureaucracy.
One chapter deals with the European and international regulations on air traffic. Germany’s climate policy is examined on the basis of the national emissions trading system and the Climate Protection Act, including public institutions claiming climate neutrality. Furthermore, international voluntary offset projects are presented with regard to their elementary weaknesses, followed by a critique of emissions trading and the problems of EU carbon tariffs. The narrow limits of green investments and the climate policy of DAX companies are further areas of focus.
The IPCC reports show that the human emissions residual budget has already been used up. Helge Peukert therefore draws a line under the sham of previous climate policy and makes radical proposals for an immediate, post-growth economic shrinkage and transformation programme. metropolis-verlag.de
Coal phase-out in Lusatia: Where the coal is going. mdr.de
Sustainable structural change in the energy sector: How companies can combine profitability and climate protection. euractiv.de
EU: Doubts about compensation for RWE and LEAG. klimareporter.de.
Companies: More and more companies have to submit sustainability reports. tagesspiegel.de
Climate Council: Has started its work. rnd.de
Baerbock: „Race for competitiveness“ in climate-neutral products. dlf.de
The seventeeen goals Magazin tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can make a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
VW, BMW, Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, DHL and HUK found data supermarket Mobility: Chancellor Angela Merkel has made the data space Mobility a top priority at the end of 2019 in order to counter Google and Co. Now six German companies have signed a declaration of intent to found a supporting company. The platform serves the voluntary exchange of information to facilitate access to mobility data and thus enable new business models.businessinsider.de
Change of business model urged: The chairman of the works council of the second largest VW plant in Germany, Carsten Bätzold, says he has no problem with Fridays for Future, on the contrary. After all, there are no jobs on a dead planet. As works council chair, he sits on the climate protection council with representatives of the Kassel Fridays. However, Bätzold also says about the methods of some protests: „When colleagues don’t come off the job after their shift and miss an appointment with the paediatrician with their little one, the fun stops. freitag.de
Tesla and the battery cell factory in Grünheide: The plans of the US electric car manufacturer Tesla to build a battery cell factory in Grünheide near Berlin are now becoming more concrete. However, the start of construction will be delayed. According to the Brandenburg Ministry of the Environment, the company has informed the authority that the permit application for the Gigafactory is to be amended. „The amended application will also include the construction and operation of a plant for battery cell production,“ it said. Because application documents for the project will now have to be reissued, there is a risk of delays and a later start of production. handelsblatt.com
Taxi in the sky: How the mobility of the future will reach potential passengers. idw-online.de
Bicycles: simple and efficient mobility with added value. The worldwide triumph of the bicycle began with the invention of the chain-driven rear wheel. Despite constant technical progress, the principle has remained the same ever since. derstandard.at
No traffic expansion of the Oder planned: Since the state of maintenance of the river control structures of the Oder border river is insufficient on both the Polish and German sides, Germany and Poland concluded an agreement in 2015 on the „Joint improvement of the situation on the waterways in the German-Polish border area“. This is what the Federal Government writes in its answer (19/28110) to a minor question by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/27229). From Germany’s point of view, the agreement contains measures concerning the Oder as a transport route and serving to ensure ice break-up, the answer says. A transport expansion of the Oder is not intended. National strategies, such as the German Sustainability Strategy and the National Biodiversity Strategy, would be taken into account by the Federal Government in the implementation of the agreement in Germany.
No grid instabilities feared with e-mobility: The Federal Government does not currently see any threat to grid stability from the charging of electric vehicles. This is explained in the answer (19/28701) to a small question (19/28020) of the AfD parliamentary group. In principle, the operators of electricity distribution networks have to guarantee the security and reliability of the electricity supply in their own networks, it explains and lists measures that support these goals. It is currently examining how agreements with electricity customers on the intelligent control of flexible electricity consumption devices could be made even more attractive, so that private charging devices can get a grid connection quickly in any case.
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
Federal government wants to continue protecting the beaver: The Federal Government sees no reason to remove the beaver from Annex IV of the Habitats Directive. The Habitats Directive continues to provide for protection measures even for species in a favourable conservation status in order to preserve their conservation status, writes the federal government in its answer (19/28894) to a minor question (19/28290) of the FDP parliamentary group. According to Annex IV of the Habitats Directive, the beaver is a species of Community interest that requires strict protection, the answer continues. Therefore, the federal government does not plan to include the beaver in the Federal Hunting Act.
Costs for remediation of contaminated sites: According to the Federal Government, there are only isolated cases of land in Germany which – apart from the legacies of former uranium mining in Saxony and Thuringia – are contaminated with radioactive contamination. This is stated in the answer (19/28892) to a small question (19/28291) of the FDP parliamentary group. According to the answer, the Federal Agency for Real Estate Tasks (BImA) and the Federal Armed Forces spent 35.5 million euros on the clean-up of contaminated sites in 2020. According to its own information, the Federal Government does not have any information on the question of what costs private persons, Länder and municipalities have incurred in the past ten years for the remediation of contaminated sites.
Compensation payments for nuclear phase-out: The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety has sent the Bundestag the public law contract on the payment of financial compensation due to the accelerated nuclear phase-out in the form of a briefing (19/29015). The contract is intended to end the protracted legal disputes with the four energy supply companies EnBW, Eon/Preußen Elektra, RWE and Vattenfall. The agreement will become effective when the 18th Act Amending the Atomic Energy Act (19/28682), which is currently being discussed in parliament, comes into force.
Plastic waste in the North and Baltic Seas: Worldwide, packaging materials and waste from fishing and shipping are responsible for the deaths of more than one million seabirds and around 100,000 other marine creatures. This is stated by the Federal Government in its answer (19/28746) to a minor question (19/28289) of the FDP parliamentary group. In Germany, too, marine species are known to regularly get entangled and strangled in rubbish or to eat the rubbish and choke on it, the answer continues. According to the Federal Government, there is no significant trend in the amount, input and removal of plastic waste in German marine waters since the year 2000. It also refers to its answer (19/22590) of 16 September 2020 to a small question by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group on the problem of plastic waste on the beaches of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
EU-wide nutrition labelling model: As part of the Farm-to-Fork strategy, the EU Commission has announced that it will present a legislative proposal for a uniform mandatory nutrition labelling model at the end of 2022. In the run-up to this, the EU Commission is conducting an impact assessment this year, in which it will examine different types of extended nutrition labelling on the basis of models already used within the EU, according to an answer (19/28453) of the German government to a minor question (19/28122) of the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group. This includes nutrient-specific models without rating and colour like the Italian Nutrinform model, nutrient-specific models with colour rating like the British „nutrition traffic light“, models with summary positive labelling like the „Keyhole“ as well as models with graded, summary, colour rating like the Nutri-Score. According to the EU Commission, a suitable uniform model could also consist of a combination of several of these options.
No property tax plans for wind areas: The federal government has no plans to introduce a property tax for areas with wind turbines. This is stated, among other things, in the federal government’s answer (19/28702) to a minor question by the parliamentary group Die Linke (19/27348). According to the answer, this separate right of municipalities to levy property tax on areas with wind turbines was not introduced when the Climate Protection Programme 2030 was legally implemented in December 2019. The Federal Government does not currently intend to introduce such a right of assessment.
Impact of climate change on foreign policy: According to the Federal Government, the impact of climate change on international security is increasingly becoming the focus of its foreign policy. As it writes in its answer (19/28639) to a minor question by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group (19/27537), central foreign policy coordinates will change as a result of climate change. „Global raw material and economic centres are shifting and questioning existing geopolitical power relations. Conflicts over food, water, land and resources will increase, causing displacement and migration.“ Climate-induced displacement and irregular migration are expected to increase. The poorest and most vulnerable countries, which have contributed least to climate change, are particularly affected by climate impacts. „Because of the increasingly obvious security policy implications of climate change, the German government wants to anchor the topic of climate and security in the United Nations, in the EU context as well as in other international forums,“ the answer continues. Climate and security will be a focal point during Germany’s membership of the UN Security Council in 2019/20, for example, with the aim of better enabling the Security Council to act in a crisis-preventive manner.
The ruling was a surprise, but a good one! If you look at it more closely, it is an enormous tailwind for my climate protection policy. The mechanism in the law was confirmed by the court, i.e. the principle of binding, annually decreasing targets for each individual sector, for example. And if the court now demands that even more precise targets be set after 2030, then that is exactly what was in my original draft bill. But this could not be done with the Union.
Svenja Schulze, SPD, Federal Minister for the Environment, said she was not deporting anything, but making it clear what had happened. The CDU/CSU and their Economics Minister Peter Altmaier had not even wanted the law to be called a „climate protection law“. The coalition agreement therefore only contains a vague formulation of „legal regulations“. spiegel.de
„The new regulation removes some important barriers to the use of electrolysers to produce hydrogen.“
Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Secretary General of Hydrogen Europe, in response to the European Commission having approved, under EU state aid rules, the extension and modification of a German scheme to support electricity generation from renewable energy sources and from mine gas, as well as the reduction of levies to finance support for electricity from renewable sources. This was good news and an important signal for investments in the ‚HydroGenewables‘ sector.“ paderborner-blatt.de
Green Deal for Africa: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday suggested the creation of an African „Green Deal“. In a video message for the opening session of the EU-Africa Forum on Green Investments in Africa, von der Leyen described the Green Deal as a „new energy for growth and the heart of reconstruction“ in the European Union. Therefore, she believes that „the same can apply to Africa“ and that by creating „an African Green Deal, we can work towards a stronger and more prosperous Africa“. euractiv.de
Against loans in Africa: Loans for distressed states are good if the money ends up in the right pockets. In fact, however, it often seeps away into corrupt channels. For the countries, a deadly debt cycle begins. A citizens‘ movement in Kenya is therefore now publicly calling for the country to turn off the money tap. n-tv.de
The long road to medicines „made in Africa“: Many countries in Africa import urgently needed medicines. In Corona times, this has become difficult. Even before the pandemic, many countries were planning to produce medicines themselves. dw.com
Trigger for fear in Africa: Heavily overcrowded hospitals, constantly enlarged crematoria and lack of vaccine – the pandemic situation in large parts of India seems out of control. In Africa, fear is growing because of this: the health system, which is just as fragile in many countries, could also collapse, warned the health authority Africa CDC. On the one hand, this is due to similarly weak structures – on the other hand, it is due to India’s vaccine production. orf.at
Colonial policy in Germany – Benin bronzes return: The first Benin bronzes from Africa classified as looted property are to be returned to Nigeria by German museums next year. An agreement on this has now been reached, explained Monika Grütters (CDU), Minister of State for Culture, in Berlin on Thursday evening. This is an „important milestone for understanding and reconciliation“. „We face up to the historical and moral responsibility of bringing Germany’s colonial past to light and coming to terms with it,“ Grütters stressed: „The handling of the Benin bronzes is a touchstone for this.“ In addition to the greatest possible transparency, substantial restitution is the primary goal, the Minister of State for Culture emphasised: „In this way, we would like to contribute to understanding and reconciliation with the descendants of the people who were robbed of their cultural treasures during the period of colonialism.“ pnp.de
African countries criticise European travel restrictions: Strict corona travel restrictions such as those imposed by Germany on visitors from South Africa are increasingly being met with rejection in Africa. „A valid negative test should be enough,“ John Nkengasong of the African Union (AU) health organisation, the Africa CDC, said on Thursday. „There is absolutely no reason why a person should be banned from travelling just because they come from a certain country,“ he stressed during a video conference. Because of a more contagious coronavirus variant first discovered in South Africa, the federal government had classified the Cape state and neighbouring countries as a risk area with particularly dangerous virus mutations in February. handelsblatt.com
Madagascar: 1.35 million people urgently need help, says the World Food Programme. The scale of the disaster is „unfathomable“, say experts in the island nation. dw.com
Conflicts in Tigray: According to the assessment of the Federal Government, EU sanctions against Ethiopia are not suitable at the present time to influence the events in the province of Tigray in the sense of the European Union. The German government is in constant dialogue with the Ethiopian government, aid organisations and international and European partners in order to work towards an end to the conflict in Tigray, according to an answer (19/28809) to a minor question by the parliamentary group Bündnis 90/Die Grünen. It also uses international forums to draw attention to the situation in the province in the north of the country. For example, together with other European states, it had initiated a referral to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in November and December 2020. The questioners had inquired about the conflict between the troops of the Tigrin regional government, led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), and the Ethiopian national army under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. According to the German government, referring to data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), a total of 4.5 million people in Tigray are in need of humanitarian aid. For Ethiopia as a whole, UN OCHA estimates that more than 23 million people will be in need of humanitarian aid by autumn 2021. There are reports of massive human rights violations, such as sexual and gender-based violence and the looting of health facilities. According to UN OCHA, 2.7 million people in Ethiopia are internally displaced. The number of internally displaced people due to the conflict in Tigray is still unclear, but is estimated by UN OCHA at over 700,000.
Federal government gives positive interim assessment for Mozambique: The progress in the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process after the peace agreement concluded between the „Mozambique National Resistance“ (RENAMO) and the „Mozambican Liberation Front“ (FRELIMO) has so far been assessed positively by the federal government. As it writes in its answer (19/28725) to a minor question by the FDP parliamentary group (19/27161), a total of 1,490 former combatants (142 women and 1,348 men) would have gone through the disarmament and demobilisation component of the process by the end of 2020. Another 1,490 former combatants were simultaneously registered for the reintegration measures and initially received short-term support within the framework of a so-called „Reinsertion Package“ while the process of their reintegration into civilian life began.
Deforestation in Brazil – CO2 balance worrying: A study reveals the worrying CO2 balance of the Amazon rainforest in recent years. Researchers fear that the „change could become irreversible“. Over the past decade, the Amazon rainforest has emitted almost 20 percent more CO2 into the atmosphere than it has absorbed. To do this, the study compared the amount of CO2 absorbed with the carbon dioxide released through slash-and-burn and destruction. fr.de
Saving the mangroves against the climate crisis: The fight against the climate crisis is a race against time. In the search for solutions, nature itself can also play a role. This is shown by a project with mangroves in Kenya, because mangroves are unique: they grow in water and can store more emissions than most other trees. That is why the project in East Africa seeks to protect and reforest mangrove forests. In terms of area, mangroves store four to five times more carbon than conventional forests. enorm-magazin.de
More energy from photovoltaics than from fossil energy: The largest oil field on earth is the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia. It extends over 8,400 square kilometres and its oil generates energy of just under one petawatt hour (PWh) per year. That is equivalent to 1 quadrillion watt-hours. However, if this area under the Arabian sun were covered with photovoltaic modules, it would produce 1.6 PWh, according to a new report by the British think tank „Carbon Tracker“. The report concludes: Renewable energies are so widely available worldwide that even with today’s technology they can produce a hundred times more than the entire global energy demand. taz.de
AFRICA EUROPE FORUM – Global Virtual Conference – 17 – 18 May 2021: Africa has the potential to become the largest growth region in the world. With a growing middle class, a young population and many investment projects, it offers diverse opportunities for European companies in Africa. The conference series, AFRICA EUROPE FORUM, a platform to promote dialogue between the economic partners of both continents, will continue as an important meeting point for entrepreneurs, top managers of leading entrepreneurs, SMEs, banks, financial institutions and decision makers.This year, the Forum will bring together opinion leaders in African-European economic relations virtually. Leading representatives from industry, finance, trade, and academia, will discuss current issues in economic relations and development. zur Anmeldung
Hearing on autonomous driving: A draft bill of the Federal Government on autonomous driving (19/27439) will be the subject of a hearing of the Committee on Transport and Digital Infrastructure on Monday, 3 May 2021. Eight experts are expected to attend the public event, which will start at 13:00. Due to the Corona pandemic, the public will only be able to attend via a TV broadcast/recording.
Climate-friendly burial: earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Since last year, the US state of Washington has allowed a new alternative to burial in the ground and cremation: „natural organic reduction“, in which bodies are composted into soil. The driving force behind this was Katrina Spade, whose start-up Recompose, founded in Seattle in 2017, began operations last November. Spade’s main motivation was the climate-damaging record of traditional burials. heise.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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