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Climate Pact Germany adopted by the Cabinet: Last Wednesday, the Federal Cabinet adopted the Climate Pact Germany. This is the Federal Government’s response to the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court on the Climate Protection Act. The declared goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 65 percent by 2030 compared to 1990. The pact includes, among other things, the accelerated expansion of renewable energies, an „investment pact with industry“, a regulation on the distribution of CO2 costs in the building sector and the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy. Germany is to achieve climate neutrality by 2045. The business community has voiced criticism, some of it vehement. A look at wind energy also shows how difficult it will be to achieve these goals.  Long approval procedures and a difficult search for suitable locations have slowed down the expansion in recent times. ,,,

Greens: Green Party candidate for chancellor Annalena Baerbock wants to fight for the abolition of short-haul flights if she comes to power. Cheap fares like flights to Majorca for 29 euros should also be abolished if the Greens are serious about climate

CO2 price has tripled in twelve months

The European emissions trading scheme seems to be achieving results. The CO2 price has been rising since 2018. Especially in recent months, CO2 certificates have become massively more expensive. In March of last year, the price on the London futures exchange was still less than 16 euros. Now, around 50 euros have to be spent per tonne. This price already reflects the EU’s stricter climate protection goals, which are having an increasing impact on emissions trading. The EU wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 instead of 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990.

Timber prices rise – sustainable building becomes more difficult: Building with wood is becoming more expensive in Germany, the reason being that timber prices, especially for sawn timber, laths and planks, have continued to rise since the beginning of the year. In addition, the bark beetle is affecting the German spruce forest. Timber construction is booming not only in Germany, but especially in the USA and China. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the building trade. A roofer, for example, started an online petition, because in some cases he already has to pay five times the original price, and some timber processing companies have meanwhile had to put their employees on short-time work. The online petition also calls for export duties on German timber.

Farmers to get extra climate package:  Julia Klöckner (CDU), Federal Minister of Agriculture, wants to put together a separate climate package in German agriculture and forestry. Farmers are to receive extra compensation for so-called ecosystem services. The minister understands this to mean, for example, the preservation and development of CO2 storage capacities through forest conversion.  Considerable emission reductions could also be achieved through measures for the rewetting of agriculturally used moor soils. Klöckner also wants to achieve a broad use of biofuels and the expansion of the programme for the energetic utilisation of agricultural residues.

Chain reaction feared in Chernobyl: Nuclear chain reactions could continue to occur underground at the Chernobyl reactor in Ukraine, which was damaged in 1986.  Anatoly Doroshenko of the Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) in Kiev, explained that some sensors showed slowly but steadily increasing neutron levels. This could be a signal for self-perpetuating nuclear fission. However, there are still several years to get a grip on the problem. What is particularly insidious, however, is that the readings come mainly from a room under the reactor building that has not been accessible since the disaster.

FDP party conference on climate protection: the FDP’s top candidate for the Bundestag elections and party leader Christian Lindner spoke out on climate protection on the sidelines of the FDP party conference. „We want a CO2 cap,“ the party leader declared. Central to this, he said, is that it should be forbidden to emit too much CO2. The calculated CO2 budget that Germany still has in compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement must be strictly adhered to, he said. „The distribution of these CO2 rights is regulated by the market economy. So you have to buy them,“ is Lindner’s vision.


Überhitzt: Die Folgen des Klimawandels für unsere Gesundheit. Was wir tun können“

The effects of the global climate and environmental crisis are now increasingly being felt. The book „Overheated: The consequences of climate change for our health. What we can do“ vividly shows how they also directly affect our health, both physically and mentally. It becomes clear again and again that we must find ways to become more „climate resilient“ – and that climate change must be stopped in order to preserve the habitability of the earth. „Healthy people only exist on a healthy earth“ is how Dr. Eckart von Hirschhausen, who himself as a doctor and science journalist has been campaigning for the climate movement for years, concludes the book’s introductory talk. Instead of a foreword, he introduces the topic and the two authors in an interview. The rising number of heat deaths, increasing allergy complaints due to the greater spread of allergens, climate-driven fears or the spread of both old and new bacteria and viruses as well as disease vectors such as the tiger mosquito are just some of the serious health threats to which an answer must be found as soon as possible.


Spain:  Bans cars with combustion engines in 2040.
Slovakia: Green light for nuclear power plant.
Drought: Too little rain in Berlin and Brandenburg.
Foods: First German chia variety approved.
Landlords:  Should in future bear 50 per cent of CO2 price costs.
European emissions trading: Companies refuse to pay climate levy to the EU because of high CO₂ prices.

The seventeeen goals Magazin with its inspiring stories tells how people move the world and shows how everyone can make a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


Pretty dirty: This is how the German company car fleet looks in European comparison. This does not mean the dust and dirt on the bodywork, but according to a study, „a lot of expensive fuel guzzlers have been sold“. The company cars would influence the climate balance of the entire road traffic. Transport expert Stef Cornelis of Transport and Environment in Berlin therefore demands that Germany set a target: By 2030, commercial registrations should only be allowed for purely electric cars. 

Years of losses at DB-Cargo: In the coalition agreement, the Federal Government had anchored the goal of increasing the modal split of rail from 18 per cent to 25 per cent by 2030. That is important and right. But the issue has to be thought of in European terms, says Sigrid Nikutta, head of DB Cargo. Around 30,000 employees work for DB Cargo to send some 3,600 trains through 18 European countries every working day. One problem is still different power voltages and safety systems. Deutsche Bahn’s freight subsidiary responds with over 600 multi-system-capable electric locomotives and multilingual train drivers. Nevertheless, DB Cargo has been making high losses for years.

Aircraft manufacturers and airlines want to reinvent themselves with radical ideas and hydrogen: Airbus wants to replace paraffin with hydrogen – competitor Boeing is sceptical. Airlines like Lufthansa are preparing for the change. The problem: the technical solutions for a switch to hydrogen are only rudimentary so far. Moreover, the entire aviation infrastructure is still geared to kerosene-powered engines. One thing is certain: the switch to hydrogen will be long and expensive. This is deterring Airbus‘ arch enemy Boeing, for example – for the time being. Because aviation is under pressure to act. According to an international study, aviation contributes 3.5 percent to man-made climate change. At the same time, CO2 emissions have an effect at high altitudes, where, according to the latest findings, they cause particularly great damage to the climate.

Women and mobility in cities: „The female perspective is missing“: Packed with prams and shopping bags on the underground and bus – the mobility options of many women are not very comfortable. Most men, on the other hand, get into their cars in the morning, according to two female experts.

Mobility of the future: How walking works in the city and in the countryside. Walking is the most natural, healthiest and environmentally friendly way to get around – but there are many hurdles. How cities and villages would have to change.

E-mobility: Cabinet approves uniform payment system for charging stations: The Federal Cabinet has initiated an amendment to the Ordinance on Charging Columns. This was announced by the Federal Ministry of Economics. The amendment to the ordinance stipulates that operators of charging points for e-cars must in future offer at least contactless payment by means of common debit and credit cards as a minimum standard for ad hoc charging.

BMW electric strategy criticised: „Half-hearted commitment to e-mobility is not enough“. The change to electric mobility is not happening fast enough for shareholders. Group boss Oliver Zipse announces that in the future he will make do with fewer raw materials.


Future of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies: The future of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) is the subject of a small question (19/29469) by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group. The MPs want to know, among other things, whether the IASS should be merged with the Geo Research Centre of the Helmholtz Association.

Scientific Advisory Council calls for a turnaround in land management: „Land Turnaround in the Anthropocene: From Competition to Integration“ is the title of the main report of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), which has been submitted to the Bundestag in the form of a briefing (19/29585). Only if there is a fundamental change in the way land is used can the climate protection goals be achieved, the dramatic loss of biodiversity averted and the global food system made sustainable, the WBGU states in the report. In order to overcome the competition between land use claims, the WBGU proposes several strategies for a sustainable use of land. Among other things, it recommends expanding and upgrading protected area systems and diversifying agricultural systems, whereby agricultural subsidies should always be linked to ecological improvements. It also advocates a transformation of diets with the aim of strengthening people’s health and preserving ecosystem services. Another proposal aims at prioritising the use of biomass according to types of application, promoting construction with wood.

Federal government criticises scenarios for Euro 7 emissions standard: The scenarios for the design of the planned Euro 7 emissions standard presented at EU level in October 2020 do not provide a sufficient basis for the design of future emissions legislation. This is explained by the German government in its answer (19/29327) to a minor question (19/28713) of the FDP parliamentary group. The scenarios presented by the scientific consortium Clove, commissioned by the EU Commission, „lack a robust cost-benefit analysis“, criticises the Federal Government. The scenarios also raise the fundamental question of the extent to which they are balanced with regard to the defined requirements. According to its own information, the Federal Government has not yet made any statement on the revised versions of the scenarios presented in April 2021. The answer also states that the EU Commission has repeatedly made it clear that the results of the Clove Consortium do not represent a preliminary decision.

Federal government – review of the effect of energy taxes: The German government wants to review the steering effect of all energy taxes and levies. This is confirmed in its answer (19/28982) to a minor question (19/28286) of the FDP parliamentary group. Due to its steering effect, tax law plays a central role in combating climate change. However, the various instruments in the climate sector must always be systematically examined for interactions and efficiency in their overall effect, writes the Federal Government. For this reason, it has already decided in the Climate Protection Plan 2050 to review the steering effect of currently existing energy taxes. According to the Federal Government, the revenue from energy taxes and levies will amount to around 67 billion euros in 2020.


„The COVID-19 crisis could deepen the social and economic divide between Africa and the rest of the world, with devastating consequences for all. The economic impact of COVID-19 on Africa is already clear: a first recession in 25 years in 2020, with some 40 million people pushed into extreme poverty as a result, and economic activity in 2021 below pre-COVID-19 projections for most countries. The crisis has widened the gap in access to finance for small businesses, disrupted trade and supply chains, exacerbated pressure on the continent’s health systems, and highlighted the gap in infrastructure from electricity to broadband internet.“

Sérgio Pimenta, Sérgio Pimenta, IFC’s Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, nevertheless, said he believes Africa’s recovery from COVID-19 will be an opportunity to create a stronger, more resilient and better connected continent through private and public sector collaboration. He highlighted four areas that he said were essential to the continent’s recovery and where investment needed to be supported to create jobs and opportunities for the continent’s growing young population: Digitalisation, greening the economy, urbanisation and regional integration.

 „The pace of the coal phase-out does not depend solely on rising CO2 costs, but above all on the expansion path of renewables. We can’t start rationing electricity. We have to make it green.“

Markus Krebber, fresh in office as CEO of RWE, said that our business was the energy transition with its two facets: phasing out coal and nuclear power and entering the renewable energy market. And with the latter, we are more at the beginning than the end. There is still a lot to do. RWE is well positioned operationally, financially and in terms of personnel, and the strategic direction is right. Therefore, there is no reason to turn everything inside out and upside down. But a few things would change: RWE has often had to react to political developments in recent years. Now it is a question of acting and developing the strategy with a long-term perspective. In the energy industry, there are sometimes lead times of many years. The decisions we make now will determine our success in the second half of the 1920s.


Parliamentary election in Ethiopia postponed again: The national election commission of the East African country cited organisational reasons. Among other things, there were delays in the registration of eligible voters, the training of election workers and the printing of ballot papers. The vote had been scheduled for the beginning of June; the Ethiopian electoral commission initially gave no indication as to when it would take place instead.

Germany close to reconciliation agreement with Namibia: Negotiations between Germany and Namibia on how to deal with the crimes of colonialism are close to being concluded. According to information from Deutschlandfunk, an agreement has been reached on the most important points. The amount of reparation payments, with which the Federal Government wants to mitigate the social consequences of the war of extermination against the Herero and Nama ethnic groups, was still open. The German government is also prepared to recognise the killing of tens of thousands of people in the former colony of German South-West Africa as genocide from today’s perspective. According to information from Deutschlandfunk, a reconciliation agreement between the two countries could be finalised this weekend. It is planned that Federal President Steinmeier will travel to a ceremony in the Namibian parliament to officially ask for an apology.

China’s fishmeal production in The Gambia: The smell of money. Videos show inhumane conditions on Chinese ships off Gambia’s coast – and how nature on land is being poisoned. The government looks the other way, environmental activists fight against the illegal business.

Nigeria: Mass kidnapping as a business.

Seychelles: Infection wave after immunisation – questions about vaccination effectiveness. 60 percent of the population are vaccinated in the Seychelles, nevertheless the infection figures have risen recently – and also the occupancy in hospitals.

South Africa: Poison and a forged will: After two deaths, a fierce dispute has erupted in South Africa over the succession to King Goodwill Zwelithini. Heavy speculation is fuelling the ruling family’s conflict. The Zulu royal family has always attracted attention like few other traditional ruling families in Africa. The Zulus are an ethnic group in the province of KwaZulu-Natal that has played an important role throughout history

Agriculture on the Nile in Sudan: Sudan’s secret Eldorado lies between the Blue and White Nile. But the farmers there fear for their future. Squeezed between the White and the Blue Nile in Sudan lies one of the country’s most important agricultural areas: the Gezira project, about 12,000 square kilometres of farmland with one of the largest irrigation networks in the world.


Late effects of the Vietnam War: Agent Orange was the name of the poison used by the United States as a defoliant over Vietnamese forests during the Vietnam War. It contained TCDD, a highly toxic dioxin. Even today, millions of people in Vietnam suffer from the late effects. Leukaemia, prostate cancer, malformations in newborns are just some of the effects.

Genetic footprint of the Judean date palm: A few years ago, researchers planted three 2,000-year-old date seeds that had already been stored in the 1960s and at room temperature. They came from the Judean date palm, which was considered extinct at the time. One of the three seeds sprouted. In the meantime, more Judean date palm specimens have been raised – these formed the basis of a thorough genetic study. The genetic changes that the researchers found in the total of seven plants show the environmental influences and the influence of the Roman civilisation in the Middle East.

Enzyme system for the hydrogen economy: An enzyme could make an energy industry dream come true: Efficiently, it can both produce hydrogen from electricity and convert hydrogen into electricity. To protect it, the enzyme is embedded in a polymer. An international research team with significant participation of scientists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now presented the system in the renowned scientific journal Nature Catalysis.

California: Drought emergency
Animal welfare: Great Britain grants feelings to vertebrates.
Emerging and developing countries: Price increases for wheat and maize become a problem. 


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


Stupid mistake: Madrid Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida is falling over his own actionism as an opposition politician. Almeida sued in 2018 – then still as opposition leader – against the traffic calming of the city centre by his left-alternative predecessor. And now the Spanish Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the then opposition leader. The „Madrid Central“ environmental zone is illegal, although the air quality has improved considerably.  Now Madrid’s inner city residents fear the increase in traffic, and … that is Mayor Almeida’s fear. It could get really expensive for Madrid, because the city may have to pay back around 100 million euros it collected in fines and penalties for violations of environmental regulations in the environmental zone.

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