Europe’s emissions trading – reform on the verge of a breakthrough: Emissions trading must be tightened if the EU wants to achieve its climate targets. In these weeks, negotiators in the political groups of the European Parliament have now wrestled over the final cornerstones of EU emissions trading and have also reached agreement on key points. The work could succeed – despite rising energy prices, despite war. Rising energy prices and the war in Ukraine complicated the negotiations on the central law of the European „Green Deal“, presented by the Commission in July 2021: the reform of CO₂ emissions trading. It must be tightened and expanded if the EU wants to achieve its climate targets.The reform envisages a further reduction in the number of certificates. This is likely to cause prices to rise. However, a lot of money is to go back to the economy: Companies can have climate-friendly investments promoted from a huge innovation fund. In general, the system is designed to promote climate-friendly companies. Those who do not want to invest will face disadvantages. The EU also wants to make emissions trading the core of a new border levy (CBAM). In addition, it is to be extended to buildings and transport from 2026. sueddeutsche.de , stuttgarter-nachrichten.de , klimareporter.de
Climate protection emergency programme summarises savings: Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck is currently looking for energy sources to establish security of supply for the German citizens. In doing so, the minister is faced with squaring the circle, because the government knows full well that the clock is ticking on climate protection. At the current rate, there is a risk of „missing the target“ by 195 million tonnes of CO₂ equivalents in 2030. Accordingly, Germany would fail to achieve significantly more than half of its promised savings. To prevent this, the German government is working on an emergency climate programme, which it announced in the coalition agreement. The 100-page draft from the beginning of May lists numerous measures for reducing emissions in all sectors. The paper is currently being passed around the ministries and may still change. But it gives a good overview of how ambitious the government’s climate change will be. spiegel.de
Almost 30 percent more droughts than 20 years ago
Up to now, droughts have mainly occurred on the African continent. But Europe is also becoming increasingly dry. By 2050, a large part of the world’s population could be affected. spektrum.de
Paris climate protection targets not to be met: The 1.5 degree target was set at the 2015 Paris World Climate Conference. But in the meantime, many scientists are sceptical that this target can still be achieved. Last week, the World Metereological Organisation (WMO) published its new data on the temperature rise. According to this, the world’s average annual temperature could be more than 1.5 degrees above the pre-industrial level for the first time as early as 2026. The probability that this will happen at least once in the five-year period from 2022 to 2026 is almost 50 per cent, the WMO reported in Geneva. Only seven years ago, it was considered practically impossible that this value would be reached within five years. The global temperature increase is particularly strong in the Arctic. deutschlandfunk.de , youtu.be/YvlChfFt1nk , wmo.int (original report)
Planned oil and gas projects: 195 „carbon bombs“ threaten the global climate. The oil and gas production currently planned for the coming years could overturn the 1.5 degree target. Corporations like Gazprom, Saudi Aramco or BP are investing billions of dollars in the climate-damaging raw materials – despite all warnings. theguardian.com, spiegel.de
Berlin wants to re-regulate minimum distances between wind turbines: According to a draft from Berlin, the federal states should no longer be allowed to set minimum distances between wind turbines and residential areas. This should speed up the expansion of wind farms. Now, a proposal from the coalition government in Berlin is causing discussion. Several federal states had set up their own rules. In North Rhine-Westphalia, there must be at least 1000 metres between new wind turbines and residential areas. In Bavaria, the 10H rule applies. The height of the wind turbine multiplied by ten: this is how much distance there must be from residential buildings. In future, the federal states will no longer be allowed to set up such regulations. faz.net
Climate protection before property: This Friday, the Federal Court of Justice heard a case on the topic of thermal insulation. A Berlin municipal housing company wants to provide the gable of an old building with 16 centimetres of mineral insulation. But the building, which was erected in 1906, stands exactly on the boundary of the property, and at that time there was no thought of insulating the façade. So the company is arguing with the neighbour about whether the insulation layer can protrude into the neighbour’s property – exactly 16 centimetres. The legal dispute is an exciting duel of fundamental rights that will play an even more frequent role in matters of climate protection. The property guarantee is a traditional right, climate protection, on the other hand, is a newcomer to the Basic Law. The protection of the natural foundations of life has been mentioned there since 1994, but no one really took it seriously, at least until last year. The Federal Supreme Court is in a dilemma. sueddeutsche.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Medien in der Klimakrise
Let’s imagine that the world is ending – and no one is talking about it. What sounds dramatic is actually happening when it comes to climate change. Because on the one hand, science has been warning of climate catastrophe for decades, on the other hand, politicians find it difficult to do anything about global warming. And the media, which should be bringing a debate to the public? They are behaving strangely passively.
How can that be in the face of the greatest challenge in human history? The climate crisis concerns us all. Likewise, television and radio, newspapers and magazines, podcasts and online magazines are produced
for each of us, and we all have a right to comprehensive and good reporting. 28 renowned authors, mainly from the fields of communication science and journalism, impressively demonstrate how and why the media are in their own climate crisis. They show why climate change is a journalistic challenge and present solutions, ideas and experiences on how media professionals can better act in the crisis.
With a foreword by climate researcher Mojib Latif. oekom.de
Fuel prices: Who are the winners of the high prices? wiwo.de
Renewable Energies: EU Commission wants to accelerate the expansion of solar energy. faz.net
Climate Alliance: Heat in India shows urgency of energy transition. evangelisch.de
Environment ministers in favour of speed limit: The environment ministers of the federal and state governments are in favour of a faster expansion of renewable energies and less waste of resources. In the view of the Länder, a speed limit on motorways would also be useful for this. stern.de
Floating LNG terminals: Expensive emergency solution. focus.de
Sanctions: Russia imposes sanctions against Gazprom Germania. wiwo.de
Annalena Baerbock: Russia is deliberately waging a grain war. faz.net
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.
PODCAST OF THE WEEK:
Hunger, war, climate crisis – and what helps now
This spring, about 300 million people worldwide were acutely threatened by hunger. That is twice as many people as three years ago. The number of hungry people is rising again after decades of continuous decline. But the steadily worsening climate crisis, together with corona pandemics and the war in Ukraine, have now significantly worsened the food situation for a total of almost one billion people worldwide.
Just a year ago, the UN’s World Food Programme purchased almost 900,000 tonnes of wheat from Ukraine to help people threatened by hunger in other regions of the world. Now Ukraine itself is dependent on food supplies from the WFP. Frick also tells us what the situation in the country is like now, and what the consequences are for other crisis areas.
The good news is: even with rather small, unspectacular measures, a lot can be achieved in agriculture and the effects of the climate crisis can be brought under control. And the way we eat here in Germany can also make a real difference. (However, our diet is not only threatened by climate change, it is also one of the most important tools in the fight against the climate crisis. Martin Frick, head of the Berlin office of the World Food Programme, tells us why and how. tagesspiegel.de
Volker Wissing has extension of e-car premium examined. Criticism from the SPD: According to a report, the Federal Minister of Transport wants to increase the incentives for buying an electric car. The climate ministry, however, is said to be against the plans. The coalition partner SPD does not react enthusiastically – and instead demands more money for the railways. zeit.de spiegel.de (SPD criticism)
Climate problem child mobility: Decarbonising air and shipping traffic is technically and politically challenging. Ultimately, countries must act together to make global transport climate neutral. International shipping and aviation are the problem children of climate policy. The emissions are large, each accounting for about three percent of global CO2 emissions. These emissions are not assigned to any individual country and therefore do not appear in any statistics. International organisations are supposed to develop concepts for the path to climate neutrality. Little has been achieved so far. This is all the more regrettable because the volume of traffic and thus emissions, apart from a pandemic-related decline, have grown strongly in recent years and this trend will continue. energiezukunft.eu
Mobility: Car still indispensable according to survey – poor rating for public transport: Just one in four Germans uses a bicycle or an e-bike more or less frequently. This is the result of the latest Forsa survey on mobility. According to the survey, the car remains an indispensable means of transport. Especially in rural regions, two vehicles are often needed. Public transport also scores very poorly; only in the big cities does more than a third of the population use it. All in all, the study provides exciting information for all transport planners in the municipalities. kommunal.de
Raw material supply: The massive increase in electric cars in 2021 is making analysts sit up and take notice. They warn that the rapid development may soon be slowed down by the lack of lithium and charging stations. The study warns that industry and politics must take significant countermeasures. n-tv.de
Shell study: According to the study, the driving experience and technology of e-cars is a main reason for three quarters of respondents to switch to electric driving. At the same time, there are still hurdles to the widespread introduction of e-mobility. ecomento.de
Noise remediation of railways: Within the framework of the federal government’s voluntary noise remediation programme, a total of 71 kilometres of railways have been noise remediated in 2021. This is the result of the federal government’s answer (20/1660) to a small question by the parliamentary group Die Linke (20/1399). In the same year, according to information from Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG), modernisations or refurbishments costing at least 50,000 euros each were carried out at 733 railway stations in Germany.
Bosch is committed to hydrogen: Bosch is stepping up its efforts in the field of regeneratively produced hydrogen: for effective climate protection, the company not only wants to use H2 in the future, but also to participate in its production. That is why Bosch is now getting involved in the development of components for electrolysers. In these plants, water is converted into so-called green hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis using electricity preferably from renewable sources such as wind power or photovoltaics. elektroauto-news.net
Study on the decorbanisation of the steel industry presented: On the first of three days at The smarter E Europe, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of Hydrogen Europe, announced the launch of the study „Steel from Solar Energy“ with the support of The smarter E Europe. The focus of the study is to show under which conditions the economic production of steel from iron ore with hydrogen from renewable energies is possible. „Our Steel from Solar Energy study helps to demonstrate that decarbonisation of industrial processes is of paramount importance in combating climate change. Europe has a real opportunity to lead the way in achieving climate neutrality,“ says Jorgo Chatzimarkakis about the results of the study. iwr.de
Gigantic hydrogen tanker: One load is enough for 400,000 H2 cars. A newly developed type of tanker is to transport the climate-friendly substance H2 in liquid form across the seas instead of LNG, i.e. liquefied natural gas. German ports are to be visited first. e-fahrer.chip.de
Fraunhofer IPA study: Decentralised hydrogen production can meet regional demand. Green hydrogen that is produced decentrally with the help of renewable energy sources has the potential to meet the energy needs of industry and heavy transport on a regional basis. This is the conclusion of a new study by Fraunhofer IPA. chemietechnik.de
Derivatives ammonia and methanol: Hydrogen instead of coal – this is how H2 makes industry greener. If supplies of coal and natural gas are cut off, ammonia and methanol derivatives of hydrogen offer a CO2-neutral alternative. produktion.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
EU taxonomy could lose credibility: The EU taxonomy could lose credibility through the inclusion of nuclear power. This is what the German government writes in its answer (20/1683) to a minor question by the parliamentary group Die Linke (20/1255). According to the federal government, it is currently impossible to predict whether the classification of nuclear power as a sustainable economic activity would hinder the expansion of other sustainable energy production activities by directing financial resources towards nuclear power and less towards renewable energies. The EU taxonomy is supposed to support private investors in particular in their investment decisions. However, nuclear power is promoted in particular by state actors.
Natural Climate Protection Action Programme: The Natural Climate Protection Action Programme already presented by Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) at the end of March is to be adopted by the Federal Cabinet in the first quarter of 2023. This is stated in an answer of the federal government (20/1661) to a small question of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (20/1299). The programme includes measures for the protection, strengthening and renaturation of ecosystems. The implementation is to start „immediately“ after the cabinet decision, but individual measures in the field of land use, land use change and forestry are already planned in advance, the answer continues. Four billion euros have been earmarked for the action programme in the 2022 economic plan for the Energy and Climate Fund for the period 2022 to 2026. This does not involve a dissolution or reduction of existing titles in the federal budget.
Germany wants to become a leading sustainable finance centre: Especially against the backdrop of the accelerated energy transition and the associated costs, the topic of „Sustainable Finance“ must be taken out of its „orchid corner“. Kristina Jeromin, Executive Director of the Green and Sustainable Finance Cluster Germany, made this clear on Wednesday evening during a public meeting of the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development. „Our financial system is not yet fit for the future,“ Jeromin said. „But we cannot leave the potential of our financial system untapped if we want to be competitive and resilient in terms of economic value creation.
Sustainable Finance is about the question of what role the financial sector takes on in the transformation of economic value creation, Jeromin explained. The necessary transformation is ultimately cost-intensive. Therefore, in addition to strong signals from the public sector, it is necessary to „stimulate and enable“ private-sector investments in the transformation. After all, it is the responsibility of the financial sector to create value in the real economy „so that we remain attractive and competitive as a German and European location and keep an eye on employment security“.
While work on the topic had already begun at the European level in 2016, Germany had only become active three years later with the establishment of the Sustainable Finance Advisory Council of the Federal Government, of which Jeromin was a member as deputy chair until the end of the last legislative period. „We are now missing the three years,“ she said. Nevertheless, the goal remains to make Germany a leading location for sustainable finance. For her, leading means asking how best to meet the needs of the domestic economy, said the financial expert.
Human rights approach in international sports policy called for: During a public hearing of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid on „Human Rights and Sport“ on Wednesday afternoon, several experts criticised the actions of international as well as German sports federations. Journalist Laila Mirzo accused the German Football Association (DFB) of being a „complicit supporter of the totalitarian regime in Qatar“ by participating in the 2022 World Cup. Wenzel Michalski, Director at Human Rights Watch Germany, criticised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for not including human rights in the Olympic Charter and for not hiring adequate experts and resources to address systemic human rights violations in sport. The question of whether the awarding of major international sporting events to environments critical of human rights leads to an improvement of the situation in the respective country or is used by the rulers there for „whitewashing“ remained controversial among the experts. more at bundestag.de
Overtourism is taking its toll on national cultural landscapes: The Corona pandemic has been both a curse and a blessing for national natural landscapes: On the one hand, more people discovered the national parks, nature parks and biosphere reserves as local recreation areas for holidays in their own country. On the other hand, the increased number of visitors to the 16 national parks, 104 nature parks and 18 biosphere reserves put a strain on nature and biodiversity. In order to learn about the particular challenges facing the national natural landscapes during the pandemic, the Tourism Committee had invited four experts from the two associations National Natural Landscapes e. V. (NNL e. V.) and Association of German Natural Parks e. V. (VDN e. V.) to a public hearing. Through the questions of the MPs and the explanations of the representatives of the associations, it quickly became clear: the so-called overtourism, i.e. the rush of visitors to a few popular places, is becoming an ever greater problem. More at bundestag.de
Controversy over CO2 levy on certain EU imports: The EU Commission’s proposal for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) for certain sectors to counteract the risk of carbon leakage has met with a mixed response from experts. While at a public hearing of the Committee on Climate Protection and Energy on Wednesday Anne Gläser of the Germanwatch association called for the prompt introduction of a CO2 border adjustment mechanism that is ambitious in terms of climate policy and oriented towards cooperation, economist Fritz Söllner of the Technical University of Illmenau pleaded for a renunciation of CBAM and the retention of the partially free allocation of EU ETS certificates as an instrument to compensate European companies for the cost disadvantages caused by climate policy. More at bundestag.de
Since the 1990s, we have been working to convert the forest for more climate resilience. This is expensive and does not bring immediate returns. That is why some private forest owners shy away from the effort. We must support them by finally rewarding the ecosystem services that the forest provides for society. It will be a central topic of the conference to get such a system off the ground. In order to achieve the goal of German climate protection policy, namely to be greenhouse gas neutral by 2045, all forest owners must be enabled to protect their forests sustainably and to manage them in a near-natural way. Because we must not lose sight of that either: Forests are an important economic factor.
Till Backhaus, Minister of Agriculture of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on the occasion of the Special Conference of Ministers of Agriculture on the topic of forests, which begins today, said that more than one million people are employed in the timber cluster throughout Germany, predominantly in rural areas, who generate a turnover of around 187 billion euros. Therefore, he said again, forests are multi-talented. We owe it jobs, sustainable raw material, it is an important habitat for countless species, binds greenhouse gases, provides clean water and serves us for recreation, for example as a spa and healing forest. faz.net
Species extinction, climate crisis, the current dry spell: Despite, but also because of the Ukraine war, Germany must push ahead with the expansion of renewable energies
Steffi Lemke, Federal Minister for the Environment, warned before the conference with her state colleagues against cutting back on climate protection because of the consequences of the war in Ukraine Despite the war in Ukraine, we must not lose sight of the climate crisis and the crisis of species extinction. The current increasingly long dry spell in Germany made it more than clear that we had to pay close attention to all current crises. When it comes to replacing Russian natural gas, he said, we must not rely on other climate-damaging energy sources in the long term. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is a painful reminder of the vulnerability and dependence of our fossil fuel energy supply. This is precisely why we must push ahead with the expansion of renewable energies and not organise a regression to the old fossil times. augsburger-allgemeine.de
Africa and the Ukraine war: „The mistrust does not stem from colonial times“. The attitude of African states to the Ukraine war is ambivalent. Political scientist Siba Grovogui explains why this is and why he also sees the West to blame. „Many people believe that African attitudes are determined by emotions because of colonialism. But that is not true. The mistrust does not come from colonial times, but from the 21st century. Look, for example, at the military intervention in Libya. At that time, many African states were against a no-fly zone because they did not believe that the intervention would end there. And you know what? They were right. The intervention was much more far-reaching and Libya has still not recovered. The mistrust is not hysteria or paranoia, but well-founded. “ zeit.de
Covid: Africa wants to produce Corona vaccine itself to free itself from dependence – but now the orders are not coming in. A factory in South Africa has stopped production again. Is there nevertheless a future for vaccine production on the continent? nzz.ch
World’s largest hydrogen truck: The world’s largest hydrogen-powered truck was unveiled at a platinum mine in South Africa on Friday. Mining giant Anglo American, which unveiled the 220-tonne truck, said it was the first of a fleet to replace the company’s diesel-powered trucks. face2faceafrica.com
Lake Victoria: Lake Victoria residents blame companies for mysterious mass fish kill. africanarguments.org
Egypt: Pharaoh’s new capital: Bold vision or expensive castle in the air? A huge new city is being built in the desert east of Cairo. The plans are impressive, but are they economically and ecologically sustainable? It would not be the first time that the founding of a new city in Egypt has failed. nzz.ch
Kenya: Why Kenya – and its wildlife – need tourists to return. Covid has dealt a severe blow to tourism and the conservation funds it provides. But as visitors slowly return, the sector is looking for new ways to survive.The collapse of ecotourism during the pandemic has spelled disaster for conservation initiatives and livelihoods in Kenya and beyond. Budget cuts, staff reductions, salary cuts and stalled development and education projects have plunged communities into poverty and led to an increase in poaching and illegal wildlife trade. theguardian.com
Election campaign in Kenya: The race for Kenya’s House of Representatives is gathering momentum: Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga have resumed campaigning in Nyanza and Mt Kenya counties, holding a series of town hall meetings and public rallies. theeastafrican.co.ke
DR Congo: Dozens killed in attack on mine. Several civilians have been killed in an attack on a miners‘ camp. An aid organisation suspects the Codeco militia. taz.de
Mali: Federal Government increases UN mission in Mali. Despite the difficult situation in Mali, the number of German blue helmets in the north of the country is to be increased. The decision of the Federal Government must now be approved by the Bundestag. dw.com
How to control the introduced water hyacinth in South Africa with insects: In South Africa, too, the invasive plant displaces native species and forms a dense layer of leaves on the water surface that prevents sunlight from reaching the plants and animals living underneath. In 2019, the Centre for Biological Control (CBC), part of Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape Province, introduced a new tool to combat this neophyte: a species of cicada. Since 2019, the CBC has bred over one million of these insects, originally from Argentina, in a special facility. The first deployment for the insect army is the Hartbeespoort Dam in north-west South Africa, where the water hyacinth now covers more than 40 per cent of the water surface. dw.com
War in East Africa: Uganda intervenes in Congo, Rwanda in Mozambique. But an East African attempt to get Congo’s government to talk to rebels has failed. taz.de
Gigantic body of water discovered under Antarctica: Researchers have discovered another previously unknown huge body of water under the ice of East Antarctica. The team from the University of Texas had suspected for some time that there might be something under the glaciers of Princess Elizabeth Land. Satellite images showed a strange depression in the otherwise uniform highlands. Now radar as well as gravitational and magnetic field measurements by air confirmed the suspicion: At a depth of 3.2 kilometres, at the bottom of a canyon completely filled with ice, there was a lake 48 kilometres long, 15 kilometres wide and 200 metres deep on average. That is about 21 cubic kilometres, the group calculated, which corresponds to about half the content of Lake Constance (or about 200 billion bathtubs). derstandard.at
Strange working conditions in the meat industry: War does not stop work. Especially not those performed in system-relevant sectors, such as the food industry. The Tönnies slaughterhouse, for example, undertook recruitment attempts at a Polish border town. Refugees were made offers on the spot, including transport and accommodation in Germany. After the company had initially justified this practice, the offer was discontinued – but not without stylising the recruitment as quasi-charitable assistance in the same press release. Caution is advised against such rhetoric. The German meat industry is based on the systematic exploitation of migrants. Behind the promise of „workers welcome!“ intoned at every refugee crisis, the prospect of dignified, let alone fulfilling work is usually missing. freitag.de
Tropical rainforests are an important pillar in the fight against the climate crisis: as the „green lungs of the earth“, they should continue to store CO₂, stabilise the water cycle and provide clean air. But in 2021, the tropics lost 3.75 million hectares of primeval forest, as new data from the University of Maryland and the online monitor „Global Forest Watch“ show. This corresponds to a loss of ten football fields per minute. This is slightly less than in the previous year – but the level is as high as in 2019 and 2018. The vast majority – more than three million hectares – has been destroyed by humans, for mining, logging and conversion to cropland and pasture. Protection can be provided if, for example, the confiscation of chainsaws, tracked vehicles and cattle herds were enforced. But there is no patent remedy. tagesspiegel.de
Island tourism in Germany: Sustainable development must include tourism. taz.de
Indonesia: Ban the export of palm oil. klimareporter.de
Drought: Stresses plants more than assumed. derstandard.at
Hedges: Protect environment and nature and are important biotopes. spektrum.de
Home office: The trend towards more teleworking and less commuting seems to have a positive effect on the environment. A recent study shows that CO2 emissions are only reduced in the short term. personalwirtschaft.de
The first floating small town is to be built in South Korea
Rising sea levels endanger the lives of coastal dwellers. The team around the UN project Oceanix has now shown the design for a floating city. South Korea’s metropolis Busan is already dressing up as an architectural technology leader ahead of its bid for the 2030 World Expo. At the end of April, the city, UN-Habitat and the Oceanix initiative unveiled the design for the first prototype of floating cities that will provide safe housing for coastal residents even as sea levels rise. The concept looks like an oversized water lily farm: Starting in 2025, small, rounded rafts with four- to six-storey houses will be launched in a coastal city harbour, ultimately providing space for 12,000 people to live, work and have fun on 6.3 hectares of land. Solar and wind power plants supply the city with electricity, which recycles its waste water as a matter of course. Bridges connect the islands to each other and to the land. heise.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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