LNG law passed: The plans of the traffic light coalition to accelerate the construction of liquefied natural gas terminals have cleared the next hurdle. The Bundestag passed a law that allows certain procedural steps in the approval of LNG terminals to be bypassed. Before the vote, SPD MP Bengt Bergt praised the fact that the commissioning would not further fill the Russian war chest. Commenting on the criticism of the lack of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the terminal buildings, Bergt said that while the EIA would be suspended for the floating terminals, it would be maintained for the land-based ones. Nevertheless, the LNG acceleration is meeting with cumulative opposition from environmental associations. BUND, Nabu and WWF announced on Thursday that they would take legal action against the start of construction for the floating terminal in Wilhelmshaven. tagesschau.de , bundestag.de, klimareporter.de
Veto against taxonomy: Germany will veto the controversial EU „taxonomy“ in Brussels, which classifies nuclear and gas as „sustainable“ investment opportunities – but it will not attack such a taxonomy in court. This has now been admitted by the Ministry of Finance upon request. This increases the chances that this criticised regulation will prevail as planned. In addition, the EU’s requirements to report sustainability figures are too high for many companies – especially in the SME sector – and will overburden them. faz.net , wiwo.de
Climate crisis makes heatwave in India 100 times more likely
For months now, more than a billion people in India and Pakistan have been suffering from temperatures above 40 degrees. The likelihood of such heat waves in the region are over a hundred times more likely due to climate change, according to a study by the British Met Office. The scientists have calculated the probabilities of extreme weather under changed climate conditions. The researchers have thus calculated how much climate change is involved in individual weather events. This cannot yet be said for the current Indian heat wave, but the researchers took a closer look at 2010. At that time, the highest average temperatures ever measured were recorded in India and Pakistan. They came to the conclusion that under natural conditions such a record heat would only occur every 312 years. Now it could hit the region every 3.1 years. spiegel.de
Expansion of emissions trading: Last Tuesday in Brussels, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted in favour of the long-disputed expansion of emissions trading to include buildings and transport. Until now, these two important sectors had been left out. However, the additional trading of pollution rights will initially only affect corporations and commercial activities. Households are to be spared for the time being and will only be asked to pay from 2029 onwards – if certain conditions are met. In this way, MEPs want to ensure that driving and heating do not become even more expensive than they already are. One of the conditions is that energy prices must be below the average prices of March 2022. In addition, there is to be money from a new climate social fund worth billions. This is how the EU wants to avoid social hardship. taz.de
Scientists voice criticism of Habeck plans: Scientists are now voicing criticism of the plans of Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck. „We need mandatory instruments, not advisory services,“ says Matthias Koch from the think tank E3G. Not only private households could be more economical. In the short term, there is also room for improvement in industry. For example, industrial plants could lower their room temperatures. „If you also reduce production in the short term, but install more efficient and electrified plants in return, it’s a win-win situation,“ says the energy expert. „The government has to get the population out of its comfort zone if it really wants to solve the crisis in a sustainable way,“ says Peter Mellwig of the ifeu Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg. For this, unpopular decisions have to be taken. spiegel.de
Global temperature already over one degree: In the Paris Climate Agreement, countries agreed that the average global temperature should be as close as possible to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. Last year, the global average temperature was about 1.1 degrees above this value. This is shown by the current State of the Climate report of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). According to this report, the rise in sea levels, the heat content of the oceans, the acidification of the oceans and the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are higher than ever before. The last seven years have thus been the warmest since measurements began. „Our climate is changing before our eyes,“ said WMO head Petteri Taalas. The man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere prevented heat radiation from the Earth into space, which is why the planet will continue to heat up for generations „unless methods are invented to remove carbon from the atmosphere.“ zeit.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Zwischen Weltsicht und Garten
Climate change and species extinction are increasingly threatening our society. In order not to deprive ourselves and future generations of their future, our relationship with nature must change fundamentally. Christine Lange-Krüger is certain that we need a new way of thinking. Kneeling among plants and with her hands in the ground, she begins to get involved. In the confrontation between familiar challenges and new insights, she lets us share in her love of nature. In her essay, she reveals to us a new view of the world; it is lively and full of emotion – created to advance the necessary change in society in the interest of children and grandchildren. oekom.de
Energy efficiency work plan: Economics and Climate Minister Robert Habeck has presented an ambitious action plan with tough cuts, billions in funding and a tight schedule. rnd.de
Tesla: Dropped from Sustainability Index . taz.de
EU: 300 billion for independence from Russian energy. tagesspiegel.de
The world’s richest energy billionaires: Energy transition makes itself felt . capital.de
Damage caused by climate change: Forest owners demand financial aid. tagesschau.de
LNG: Emir of Qatar wants to make a deal with Germany. handelsblatt.com
Plastic certificates: Possibility of greenwashing. dw.com
Climate crisis: Investments spoil the climate balance for digital companies. golem.de
Ministry of Economics: Dismantling of gas networks planned. welt.de
International arbitration courts: Lawyers determine climate policy. freitag.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.
PODCAST OF THE WEEK:
A mud pack for the climate
Peatlands are true carbon eaters. In the fight against the climate crisis, they are seen as a beacon of hope. In the fourth episode of the rbb podcast „Feld, Wald und Krise – Landschaften im Wandel“ (Field, Forest and Crisis – Landscapes in Transition), Fred Pilarski and Andreas Jacob get an explanation of how much Brandenburg’s peatlands can help the climate and what is being done about it, not only to the delight of the spotted crake. The forest and meadow landscape around the Ragöser Schleuse near Eberswalde (Barnim) looks quite natural at first glance, but it has been decisively changed over the last 300 years. Before the Finow river was forced into a canal bed here, the area was characterised by permanently wet moorland, says Prof. Vera Luthardt from the Eberswalde University of Applied Sciences (HNEE). „In terms of the number of moors and hectares, the situation is depressing,“ the biologist says of Brandenburg’s moors. In the past 300 years, about half of the moors in the Mark Brandenburg have disappeared. The areas that still have organic soils are largely dry. Less than 4 per cent of them are now considered near-natural and intact. rbb.de
Siding with the railways: People who travel by train cause five times less CO2 emissions per kilometre than someone in a car. Because the train is our most environmentally friendly means of transport after the bicycle, the federal government, according to the coalition agreement, wants to double the number of rail passengers in the next eight years and transport significantly more goods through Germany by train instead of by truck. tagesspiegel.de
Sustainable offers demanded: The call for more than just the 9Euro ticket‑: sales begin nationwide today. „At the same time, we must also finally seize this opportunity now and direct ‑more attention towards all forms of shared mobility. We hope that the 9Euro ticket ‑is the prelude to more digitalisation and cooperation in urban transport,“ says Alexander Mönch, head of the mobility portal Free Now. rnd.de
ADAC wants to help cyclists: The enormous increase in fuel prices could achieve what many efforts in recent years have failed to do: encourage car drivers to switch to bicycles. Especially in cities, many are already considering using their bikes more often. In future, the ADAC also wants to pay more attention to two-wheelers. n-tv.de
On a green wave through the city: Congested traffic – a nuisance for drivers and harmful to the environment. Hesse relies on digitalisation of urban traffic, for less congestion and cleaner air. heise.de
Climate check on company cars: Transport Minister Wissing clearly breaches EU requirements. Despite all its commitments to environmental protection, the German government massively violates the EU’s CO2 emission standards with its official cars. handelsblatt.com
Organic farmer sues Volkswagen: An organic farmer demands that VW take measures for more climate protection. From now on, only one in four vehicles should be equipped with a combustion engine. At least in the first instance, however, he will not be successful with this lawsuit. It is a classic David versus Goliath story: organic farmer Ulf Allhoff-Cramer against Volkswagen (VW). The farmer from the North Rhine-Westphalian province wants to force Europe’s carmaking market leader to produce more climate-friendly vehicles. According to the farmer, he has suffered crop failures due to climate change, for which VW is also partly responsible. lto.de
North Sea states cooperate on offshore wind and hydrogen: The energy ministers of four North Sea states want to accelerate the expansion of offshore wind and green hydrogen. To this end, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands signed a declaration in Esbjerg. In it, they agree to jointly develop „hybrid“ offshore cooperation projects that combine wind farms and electricity grids and to which several member states are connected. This is intended to develop the North Sea region as the „Green Power Plant of Europe“ and supply the EU with green electricity. The agreement complements the declaration of the heads of state and government of the countries bordering the North Sea, which was also signed on site. bmwk.de (text of agreement), solarserver.de
Eco-hydrogen for all? The pitfalls of Habeck’s plan for industry: Minister of Economics and Climate Protection Habeck has presented his work plan for saving energy. Central to it: green hydrogen – the „champagne of the energy transition“. rnd.de
H2 Mare – hydrogen directly from the wind turbine: The direct production of hydrogen in offshore wind farms is considered one of the technologies of the future. However, there are still many challenges to overcome, as became clear at a conference on the „H2 Mare“ project. The project, which is funded by the German government with 100 million euros, aims to create the basis for the production of hydrogen and other products on the high seas by 2025. 35 partners such as Siemens Gamesa, Siemens Energy, Thyssen Krupp, but also energy suppliers such as EnBW and various research institutes are involved. edison.media
BDEW calls for faster hydrogen ramp-up: BDEW has presented 14 measures to accelerate the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy. This is not only important for achieving the climate goals, but also for becoming independent of Russian gas imports, it says in a press release. From BDEW’s point of view, the measures will help to ensure that hydrogen can actually be made available within the next five years. zfk.de , bdew.de
Hydrogen capsules: An African-European start-up has developed an SUV that uses a hydrogen-powered fuel cell that has replaceable capsules. This should enable the NAMX to reach 800 kilometres. wiwo.de
Alliance for sustainable energy imports: An alliance of associations presents demands for green hydrogen in future exporting countries. The G7 countries ‑are to set up a „task force“ for sustainable trade in the energy carrier. klimareporter.de
Bosch: Accelerates hydrogen offensive and pushes the pace. iwr.de
Airbus A380 prepares for hydrogen future: Soon Airbus and CFM plan to test a hydrogen engine on an A380. The first built example of the XL aircraft is now preparing for conversion. aereotelegraph.com
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
Budget funds increase: The budget of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Section 23) will increase by about 1.5 billion euros to 12.35 billion euros. Among other things, the budget for „crisis management and reconstruction, infrastructure“ will increase by 328 million euros to around 879 million euros. According to the Federal Ministry of Finance’s adjustment bill, 278 million euros will be used „to mitigate the effects of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and for food security measures“. Expenditures for „contributions to the United Nations, its specialised agencies as well as other international institutions and international non-governmental organisations“ increase by a total of 489 million euros to around one billion euros. Among other things, the contribution to „Gavi, the vaccination alliance“ increases from 120 to 470 million euros.
Budget funds shrink: The only section of the budget where expenditures decrease compared to the government draft is the section of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. Expenditures of 2.17 billion euros are planned here, which is about 20 million euros less than previously planned. The reduction, however, is mainly due to the new responsibilities agreed upon during the formation of the government, which were not yet reflected in the previous drafts. For example, the transfer of posts from the Ministry to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection will result in a reduction in expenditure of 6.9 million euros.
Sustainable travel requires awareness on the part of holidaymakers: The opportunities and challenges of sustainable tourism were the subject of a public hearing in the Tourism Committee. Five experts presented their ideas on promoting low-emission, climate-friendly and socially just travel to the committee members. The SPD parliamentary group asked Uwe Hiksch, member of the federal board of NaturFreunde Germany, how people could be made to think about sustainability not only when they travel to their destination, but also when they arrive at their holiday destination. Hiksch explained that it was necessary to get people to think more about the holiday region before they arrived. For example, holidaymakers could be asked whether they really need to book the hotel with the big pool when travelling to Africa, which has little water. It is about education and reflection, said Hiksch. Niklas Höhne of the New Climate-Institute for Climate Policy and Global Sustainability addressed the question of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group on what the state should do in terms of sustainability and renewable energies in tourism. Since certifications are voluntary, regulatory measures are also needed, Höhne said. For example, CO2 emissions had to be priced, there had to be standards for buildings and means of transport, and the use of CO2-neutral fuels in air transport had to be promoted. more at bundestag.de
Total gas supply secured until autumn: The total supply of gas is currently physically secured until the end of summer or the beginning of autumn 2022 in the event of a short-term and prolonged failure of all Russian gas imports. This is stated in an answer (20/1804) of the Federal Government to a minor question (20/1404) of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group.
New campaign to save energy: With a long-term campaign, people are to be informed about the topic of saving energy. Parliamentary State Secretary Michael Kellner (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) informed the members of the Economic Affairs Committee on Wednesday about the measure of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), which is to start on 10 June 2022. It was important to the BMWK to „spread the information about possibilities for saving energy in the budget and in renovation and construction projects“, Kellner told the committee. The aim is to point out very specifically what savings potential there is in private households and businesses. The campaign is to run until the end of 2025 and will be launched in several stages, including at the beginning of the heating season in autumn. One of the core messages of the campaign is: „Whoever protects the climate protects freedom“. According to Kellner, citizens and companies will be called upon through various channels to contribute to climate neutrality and energy sovereignty. bundestag.de
Committee chairmanship remains vacant: The chairmanship of the Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development remains vacant. In a secret ballot on Wednesday, the two committee members proposed by the AfD parliamentary group, Markus Frohnmaier and Edgar Naujok, did not achieve the required majority. Frohnmaier received three votes in favour and 19 against, Naujok three votes in favour, 18 against and one abstention. The AfD parliamentary group had demanded that the election of the chair be put on the agenda. The SPD parliamentary group then requested a secret ballot, which all parliamentary groups except the AfD agreed to. In the meeting chaired by Deputy Chair Christoph Hoffmann (FDP), the AfD parliamentary group stressed that it considered the election inadmissible because the chair had to be determined. An election was not foreseen.
The future of coal: According to the Federal Government, Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine poses enormous energy policy challenges for the Federal Republic of Germany. The goal of all measures is to quickly reduce energy dependence on Russia. The phase-out of coal-fired power production „ideally by 2030“ is nevertheless to be pushed forward in order to achieve independence from fossil energies and to combat the climate crisis. In view of the Russian attack, however, the German government will ensure that coal-fired power plants are also temporarily available as a backup. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) is therefore examining whether and to what extent coal-fired power plants that are due to be decommissioned can also be transferred to a temporary reserve so that they are available in an emergency. This is the government’s answer (20/1787) to a small question by the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (20/1376) on the effects of an early coal phase-out from 2038 to 2030 on structural change in the Rhenish coalfield.
Hearing on renewable energies: The Committee on Climate Protection and Energy dealt with the topic of renewable energies on Monday, 16 May 2022. The basis of the two-hour hearing was the „Draft Law on Immediate Measures for an Accelerated Expansion of Renewable Energies and Further Measures in the Electricity Sector“ (20/1630) and the „Wind Energy at Sea Law“ (10/1634). Kerstin Andreae, Chairwoman of the Executive Board of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), began by stating that the energy turnaround was a „question of determination“, and that this determination was noticeable in the Federal Government and the EEG amendment, which was to be welcomed „in principle“. Andreae combined her praise with her call to the legislators to critically examine the present draft laws on the Easter package to see what potential for accelerating the conversion can still be raised and whether further measures need to be brought forward in time. BDEW still sees a need for improvement in the acceleration of planning and approval. The statement that the expansion of renewable energies is in the public interest should also apply to grid expansion and be enshrined in other laws. more on bundestag.de
„If you look at copper, for example, a very important metal for the energy transition, we currently consume about 20 to 25 million tonnes per year on a global level. And in 60 years, we will consume about 70 to 100 million tonnes. So that means we have to increase our annual production by a factor of three or four. We would then consume as much copper in 50 years as we have produced since ancient times.“
Olivier Vidal of the Institut des Sciences de la Terre in Grenoble, such a gigantic production of raw materials would also consume enormous amounts of energy, whereby coal, oil and gas are mostly still burned for the extraction and further processing of metals today. And indeed, the energy input increases exponentially with decreasing metal content. This is why, for example, steel extracted from rock containing about 50 per cent of this metal is much cheaper than gold extracted from rock containing two grammes of this metal per tonne of rock. The problem is that the rich deposits are exhausted and will disappear over time. And we are currently extracting metals from less and less concentrated deposits. So that doesn’t mean we’re running out of metal, but the energy of production and the price are likely to go up in the future. And the environmental impact would also likely increase. deutschlandfunk.de
Scholz’s first trip to Africa: The Chancellor visits Senegal, Niger and South Africa. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine also travels along this time. Scholz wants to clear up Russian disinformation about the war. But in Dakar, President Macky Sall defends Senegal’s abstention in condemning Moscow. Meanwhile, German business is calling for a rethink of development policy. More investment in local food production and processing is needed, said Liebing, chairman of the Africa Association of German Business. Africa does not want handouts but help for self-help. In view of the Chancellor’s trip, Liebing called for a strengthening of cooperation, both in terms of investment and job creation. rnd.de , dlf.de
So far, no date has been agreed between the Federal Republic of Germany and Nigeria for the signing of a treaty on the restitution of cultural property with a colonial context. This was stated by the Federal Government in its answer (20/1561) to a minor question by the AfD parliamentary group (20/1389). Most recently, a Nigerian delegation visited Berlin for talks at the beginning of April this year. The talks between the two countries are „on a good path“. In its answer, the Federal Government emphasises that the desired dialogue in partnership presupposes that Nigeria „decides independently and autonomously to whom exactly the so-called Benin bronzes in Nigeria will be returned and what will happen to them in the future“. The negotiations involve „all relevant partners“ on the Nigerian side. Both the Federal Government and the Nigerian side were interested in the public accessibility of the Benin bronzes.
Food prices in Africa are rising rapidly: The hunger crises in the Horn of Africa and West Africa could increase drastically, warn aid organisations. Due to the Ukraine war, food prices are rising rapidly, so poverty is growing. dw.com
Mali Security situation: In a small question (20/1815), the AfD parliamentary group asks about security developments in Mali since 2013. Among other things, the Federal Government is asked to state „how many attacks and assaults by insurgents and terrorist organisations or comparable armed groups“ there have been since then and whether the influence of armed groups in Mali has recently decreased or increased.
Kenyan nurse Anna Qabale Duba is the first winner of the Aster Guardian International Nursing Award. She was selected from 24,000 nominees to receive the US$250,000 prize in Dubai last week. The 31-year-old is being honoured for her work as a nurse and as an activist against female genital mutilation and early marriage. She is herself affected by it and only narrowly escaped a forced marriage at the age of 14. Despite a legal ban, about 90 percent of girls in northern Kenya continue to be genitally mutilated. Through her Qabale Duba Foundation, Duba offers sexual and reproductive health education and also provides girls and women with hygiene products, which means they no longer have to miss school during their periods. In 2019, Anna Qabale Duba has already been awarded the Waislitz Global Citizens‘ Choice Award for her work. bbc.com
Kenya: Climate change and water sports add to the growing list of threats to sea turtles. africanews.com
Kakamega: Kenya’s last rainforest. Farmers campaign for species protection.
Construction of the Green Wall stalls: The project is almost as ambitious as the construction of the Great Wall of China. But while the structure in China was supposed to keep enemies out, the Great Green Wall, which is planned across Africa, is supposed to stop the advance of the desert. It is to stretch over some 8000 kilometres from Senegal in the west through the entire Sahel region to Djibouti in the east of the continent. But the desertification of the Sahel, which borders the Sahara in the north, is increasing due to deforestation, erosion, salinisation and the decline of water resources. In the past 100 years, the Sahara has grown by ten percent, according to the US National Science Foundation (NSF). According to the UN drought report presented last week, Africa accounted for almost 45 percent of all droughts worldwide in the past 100 years. rp-online.de
Libya: Rival government in Libya announces move to Tripoli. Fathi Bashagha wants to replace the internationally recognised government. Clashes broke out on his arrival in Tripoli. derstandard.at
Morocco: Border between Spain and Morocco reopened. faz.net
Somalia: Powerful jihadists, a record drought and deep political rifts: A daunting task awaits Somalia’s new president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Somalia has a new president after a long and bitter election process. Despite all the problems, many see his election as a glimmer of hope. nzz.ch
South Africa: The connection between dying regimes and larger-than-life monuments is familiar from biblical – Tower of Babel – or entirely unbiblical times: Albert Speer’s plans for the Nazi world capital „Germania“. South Africa’s Minister of Culture Nathi Mthethwa sought to follow the same principle, albeit in a somewhat more modest way, by catapulting his stricken homeland into the annals of world history with bold momentum. Namely, with a 100-metre flagpole to be erected on a hill near Pretoria on the principle that „mine is longer“. The pole should remind his countrymen of democracy and how they came to it, Mthethwa presented his project in parliament: Whether he was alluding to Nelson Mandela’s „long road to freedom“ remained unclear. derstandard.at
The new issue will be published on 30.5.2022
Degrowth in global food: Advocates of the „degrowth“ theory believe that if people in richer countries build a good life with less consumption, production and money overall, this could help reduce climate-damaging emissions and sustainably feed humanity with the remaining arable land on Earth. A team from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has tested these assumptions for the global food system. The results in the scientific journal „Nature Food“ are sobering: less money for people in rich countries and more money for people in poor countries would hardly lead to more climate protection in the current food system. The reason for this is that higher incomes in poor countries promote climate-damaging diets such as more meat and cheese consumption. tagesspiegel.de
Floating wind turbines are to close the energy gap: Floating wind turbines are to open up previously inaccessible areas of the sea, because the water must not be more than 60 metres deep in order to set up an offshore wind turbine attached to the seabed. Now they are to produce energy hundreds of miles beyond the shallow coastal fringe, opening up previously inaccessible locations on the open sea. The potential is huge, but so far there has been little interest in these turbines. This could change. Since the beginning of 2022, however, the expansion of floating wind power seems to be accelerating. Numerous energy suppliers and mineral oil companies have been bidding for the best places in the sea in the gigawatt range for floating wind turbines. spektrum.de
Limited regenerative capacity of streams and rivers: Streams and rivers are negatively affected by human activity. This is a truism – by now. This also affects their chemical condition and biodiversity. A new study by researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Magdeburg shows that the ability of rivers to self-purify, i.e. the degradation of substances by microorganisms living in water bodies, is particularly affected. The efficiency with which flowing waters can retain nitrate, for example, is almost five times lower in streams that flow through agriculturally used land than in streams with a natural environment. „This is really enormous,“ says author Mario Brauns: „Agriculturally influenced watercourses are so heavily polluted by high nutrient concentrations and a damaged watercourse structure that they can no longer adequately fulfil their natural ecological retention function and thus lose a large part of their purification capacity.“ Their capacities for this are exhausted. natur.de
New process: Turning CO2 and waste into plastic. process.vogel.de
Australia: New prime minister announces radical change in climate policy. orf.at
Consequence of the climate crisis: Severe sandstorm leads to breathing problems for many citizens in Iraq. watson.de
HSBC boss stresses climate goals: After controversial statements on climate policy from the top management of the major British bank HSBC, Group CEO Noel Quinn tries to smooth the waters. cash.ch
Underestimated danger? Obsolete technology in the body
The case of the US company Second Sight, which no longer supports a bionic eye implant, raises the question of how to deal with e-waste in humans. heise.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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