The rocky road to the next climate conference: The next world climate conference will take place in Dubai at the end of November. Preparations are now underway in Bonn. Delegates from all over the world are looking for ways to implement the Paris Agreement. There is criticism of the host Dubai. While the data and graphics on the rapid pace of climate change and its consequences are clear to all delegates, the current forest fires in Canada hardly resonate. The extreme drought in Somalia, which is currently threatening the lives of millions of people, is also not reported in Bonn. The fear of the next „El Niňo“ weather phenomenon in the Pacific with droughts and heavy rain in South America and Southeast Asia is omnipresent, but not a topic. And the current heat wave in India does not lead to much debate at the conference either. deutschlandfunk.de , taz.de , handelsblatt,com
Heat pump: EU Commission plans de facto end to oil and gas heating: Newly installed heating systems are to have at least 115 percent efficiency from 2029 onwards, according to an EU draft. No problem for today’s heat pumps. Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and his colleague in the Ministry of Construction, Klara Geywitz (SPD), are getting backing from Brussels for their controversial legislative initiative for a „ban“ on classic oil and gas heating systems. The EU Commission wants to update the implementing regulations on heating appliances, which have been in force for ten years and are anchored in ecodesign legislation. Accordingly, newly installed heating systems are to have at least 115 percent efficiency from 2029 onwards. Current oil and gas boilers do not meet this efficiency requirement: they come in at less than 100 percent and would thus be left out by the end of the decade. heise.de
Germany’s thirty most CO2-intensive industrial plants caused 58 million tonnes of CO2 emissions last year
The „Dirty Thirty“ would account for around one third of the industrial sector’s emissions as defined in the Climate Protection Act and eight percent of Germany’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2022. fair-economics.de
Battle for farmland: The solar boom is putting farmers in Germany under pressure. Investors often buy huge areas of land to build solar parks on. For farmers, this makes farmland scarce and expensive. Between 2010 and 2020, agricultural land in Germany has become 126 percent more expensive on average. Free arable land in Germany is scarce – and it is therefore becoming more and more expensive. This is why lease prices have also increased significantly – by 62 percent on average. tageschau.de
Greens reaffirm their position on energy and climate policy: At a small party conference, the Greens want to reaffirm their position on energy and climate policy. In a leading motion of the executive board for the party’s state council on 17 June, which was made available to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur, it says: „We take responsibility and with pragmatism and energy we find ways to secure the energy supply of our country and to cushion social hardship. At the same time, with coal and nuclear power, we have also had to temporarily use technologies for longer that we have good reasons to want to leave behind yesterday rather than tomorrow.“ This had been done to secure the supply. t-online.de
DGB leader Fahimi: As long as there is no climate money, the increase in the CO₂ price must be suspended. The CO₂ price would hit again in full from next year onwards and burden people with low incomes in particular. The coalition had promised to compensate for this with social climate money. This must come with the next increase in the CO₂ price on 1 January. The federal government had better hurry. rnd.de
Oil company boss read emails on the next climate summit: The British „Guardian“ made an enquiry to the office of the UN climate conference – which ended up at the state oil company of the United Arab Emirates. The revelation proves Sultan Al Jaber’s conflicts of interest. spiegel.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Aufbäumen gegen die Dürre
How nature can help us end the water emergency. Everything about regenerative agriculture, sponge cities, climate landscapes & Co.
This book takes a completely new look at the climate crisis: everyone only talks about CO2, but drought, heat and floods are also the consequences of massive changes to the landscape, soil sealing and disturbed water cycles.
The good news is that we can do something about this without having to wait for the next climate conference to finally produce results. Local groups and committed communities cannot reduce the CO2 content of the atmosphere, but they can reduce local temperatures. Water and vegetation are the solution: if we succeed in storing more water in the landscape and greening cities and landscapes, it can rain more and become cooler, the risk of flooding decreases. So we get three solutions for the price of one: climate, species and health protection.
The book takes us to intact river landscapes, fields and meadows, sustainable forests and cities that store water like sponges instead of dumping it into the sewage system. A book that encourages and inspires us to do the same. oekom.de
Environment Minister Steffi Lemke: Cooperation with Poland on the Oder is tough and difficult. fair-economics.de
Energy transition: The next reason for rising electricity and gas prices. welt.de
Wind power: Is again the most important source of electricity in Germany. tagesschau.de
Climate policy: Several thousand people demonstrated against the heating law. zeit.de
Habeck thinks doubling wind power by 2030 is feasible: The Federal Minister of Economics considers the government’s targets for the expansion of wind power to be ambitious, but realistic. zeit.de
Fight against climate change: International Energy Agency advises more sensible use of energy. spiegel.de
Bornholm Energy Island: Germany and Denmark commit. heise.de
New York: Forest fires in Canada have enveloped parts of the US East Coast in thick smoke. Air pollution is therefore rising massively right now. fr.de
The seventeen goals magazine 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:
Can hydrogen make the steel industry „greener“?
The steel industry produces massive amounts of climate-damaging CO₂ emissions. Researchers are therefore trying to make production cleaner with the help of hydrogen and new technologies – and are facing major challenges in the process. Hydrogen is seen by many as a saviour in the climate crisis: with its help, millions of tonnes of CO₂ emissions can be saved and many previously climate-damaging processes can be made greener in the future. This also applies to particularly high-emission industries such as steel production.
In the classic steel industry, iron ore and coke (almost pure carbon) are melted into steel in a blast furnace at temperatures of up to 2000 °C. This process and the energy it requires leads to massive CO₂ emissions. This process and the energy that has to be used for it leads to massive CO₂ emissions. More than seven percent of total global CO₂ emissions come from the blast furnaces of steelworks. Or looked at another way: There is a lot of savings potential here in view of climate change.
Hydrogen as a climate saviour?
The steel industry itself is also increasingly emphasising this. The use of hydrogen can save a lot of greenhouse gas in the future, say industry associations. Some steelworks, for example in Sweden, are already conducting initial trials with the new technology. But there are still some technological as well as financial challenges. Because in business it is always a question of money, says Verena Tang, editor at Spektrum der Wissenschaft. The use of hydrogen must therefore not only be climate-friendly, but also profitable. detektor.fm
COMMENT OF THE WEEK:
How solidary is Western industrial policy?
by Joseph E. Stiglitz
The climate crisis can only be overcome with a global effort. The US is making up for lost time – whether that will be enough is uncertain. With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the US has caught up with the rest of the world’s advanced economies in combating climate change. The IRA authorises significantly increased spending to support renewable energy, research and development and other priorities, and it will have a significant impact on the climate if estimates of its impact are anywhere near accurate.
It is true that the design of the law is not ideal. Any economist could have drafted a more cost-effective bill. But the political situation in the US is messy, and one must measure success by what is possible rather than by lofty ideals. The IRA, despite its flaws, is clearly better than nothing. Climate change will not wait for the US to get its house in order politically. Those who focus solely on the flaws of the IRA are doing us all a disservice. By refusing to look at the problem in context, they are pandering to those special interests who would prefer us to remain dependent on fossil fuels. The biggest worrywarts here are the defenders of neoliberalism and unregulated markets. It is to this ideology that we owe the last 40 years of low growth, growing inequality and climate inaction. Its advocates have always argued vehemently against industrial policies like the IRA, even after new developments in economic theory explained why such measures are necessary to promote innovation and technological change. more on derstandard.at
Uber wants to use Big Data to encourage customers and drivers to protect the climate: The mobility platform is planning new environmentally friendly options in the app. The switch to electric vehicles is to be made easier. The mobility platform wants to make greater use of its huge amounts of data so that drivers and customers can do more for climate protection. To this end, information on CO2 emissions, traffic situation, petrol consumption and mobility behaviour, among other things, is to be processed for new services in the app. handelsblatt.com
Data for sustainable urban mobility: a transatlantic comparison: Data and digital technologies can facilitate the transition to greener and more equitable urban transport systems. This transatlantic project explores how public-private data sharing and seamless mobility between modes can help cities achieve their climate and inclusion goals – across very different regulatory systems. boell.de
Climate-friendly mobility – „Social peace and prosperity also play a role“: Meike Jipp is a transport researcher at the German Aerospace Centre. She predicts a mobility that, under certain conditions, no longer requires a private car. With regard to e-mobility, Jipp warns against an illusion. welt.de
Class action accuses Delta of climate lie: Delta Air Lines is investing a billion dollars to push down its emissions. Now a class action lawsuit has been filed in the US against the airline for greenwashing. aerotelegraph.com
Why Austria is so successful with its night trains: No one sends as many night trains through Europe as the Austrian Federal Railways. Nevertheless, the business with the sleeping cars is not easy. handelsblatt.com
This also makes a holiday in an e-car relaxing: Modern e-cars can cover a lot of kilometres. Even if the manufacturers‘ range promises „can only be achieved in reality with the utmost discipline“, as Henning Busse from „Auto, Motor und Sport“ says: 300 kilometres and more is easily possible with many electric cars. Nevertheless, a holiday trip with an electric car should be well planned. rheinpfalz.de
Expert: Germany „not competitive“ in green hydrogen: Green“ hydrogen produced with green electricity is considered urgently necessary for the climate neutrality that Germany is striving for. The decarbonisation of industrial plants with high greenhouse gas emissions is to be advanced with the ramp-up of the hydrogen market. But how will the growing demand be met? From abroad? Possibly, which is one of the reasons why Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck recently visited Namibia. In any case, energy suppliers in Germany do not expect to be able to supply themselves with sustainably produced hydrogen in the future. From the point of view of the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, this is also due to the lack of supply of the required electricity from renewable energies. „As long as we still have to „green“ large amounts of electricity in Germany, the hydrogen economy will always suffer from competing for renewables,“ said the sales director of Iberdrola Germany, Sven Wolf. In order to keep risk and prices in check for power producers, hydrogen producers and industrial consumers, companies rely, among other things, on long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs). Iberdrola Germany boss Felipe Montero considers hydrogen production without fixed contracts to be uncompetitive under normal market conditions, especially in Germany. merkur.de
RWE hydrogen boss: „Americans simply think much, much faster“. Sopna Sury sees hydrogen as the „only chance to defossilise our industry“ – but a crucial weakness in Europe’s tradition of research and development. handelsblatt.com
Hydrogen production – shortage of raw materials could hamper expansion: Many people have probably never heard of iridium and scandium. The chemical elements play a role in the production of hydrogen, but their availability is limited. The expansion of hydrogen production is threatened by a lack of raw materials, rising prices and dependence on a few exporting countries. To counteract this, experts believe that research and development as well as precise supply planning are necessary. stern.de
DNV: Hydrogen is becoming too expensive – players demand contracts for difference: Norway’s certification body DNV warns that government grants to the shipping industry to minimise emissions are not having the expected effect. „Ten ships whose goal is to run emission-free have received support from the business development agency Enova to be able to control hydrogen and ammonia as fuel. At the same time, five producers have also received support from Enova to set up the production and distribution of hydrogen on the same ships – among other customers. The risk is now increasing that the allocations will not bring the intended benefits,“ it says. businessportal-norwegen.com
From 2026: Hydrogen class at 24 Hours of Le Mans: The Le Mans organiser ACO is opening up the great endurance classic to hydrogen engines. Toyota has already presented a concept car for this. There was also more news at the ACO press conference. speedweek.com
Using hydrogen as an example: This is how the shortage of rare raw materials endangers the energy transition – and these could be solutions: Most people have probably never heard of iridium and scandium. Yet both elements are important for the production of hydrogen. However, they are only available in limited quantities. The example shows how the lack of raw materials endangers the energy transition. Or the other way around: that the departure from fossil fuels makes other raw materials all the more important. This is also politically significant: because many of these scarce raw materials have so far come mainly from Russia and China. This also includes iridium and scandium. businessinsider.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
CO2 emissions after shutdown of nuclear power plants: After the final shutdown of the three remaining German nuclear power plants on 15 April 2023, their electricity generation will be covered by the remaining power plant fleet in Germany and abroad, writes the government in its answer (20/7071) to a minor question by the AfD parliamentary group (20/6832) on the „possible increase in CO2 emissions after the shutdown of the last nuclear power plants on 15 April 2023“. The electricity generation mix depends on a multitude of factors and complex interrelationships, including fuel and CO2 prices, the Europe-wide feed-in from renewable energies and the development of electricity consumption in Europe. Thus, it can only be determined in retrospect how the actual generation mix of a country as well as the cross-border electricity flows have developed, but without being able to draw conclusions about an individual event and causal relationships, the answer continues.
Expansion of protected areas in Tanzania: The German government has no knowledge beyond publicly available sources and information about the Tanzanian government’s plans to expand the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) and resettle the Maasai living there. This is not a project area of German development cooperation and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCCA) is not a project partner, she emphasises in an answer (20/7059) to a minor question (20/6661) of the Left Party. Regarding reports of repression, violence, human rights violations and criminalisation of Maasai in the context of the expansion of protected areas, the German government writes that it is in regular dialogue with the Tanzanian government, human rights organisations, Maasai representatives and other donors. However, the allegations cannot be verified, as they do not refer to a project area or a project partner of German development cooperation.
The situation there is catastrophic. The situation is changing from hour to hour, but it is already clear that a huge area between the dam and the mouth of the Dnieper and Bug rivers on the Black Sea coast is flooded. The most important thing now is to help the many people affected and bring them to safety. That is also working pretty well.
Oleg Dudkin, Ukrainian naturalist, …it is already quite clear that we are seeing an ecological catastrophe of huge proportions here. This will probably have consequences for nature as well as for agriculture and thus for people for a long time to come. The affected region is both: in parts very intensively used for agriculture, but at the same time also an area of outstanding ecological importance, far beyond Ukraine. Of course, it is much too early for a thorough assessment. However, the problem of flooding for agriculture and the soil in general would be of great concern. In some places in the region, rice, for example, has been produced for a long time with very heavy use of pesticides. In addition, we would have a big problem with salinisation down to the groundwater for many years because of intensive irrigation. Pesticides, salt and the huge amounts of oil that would enter the Dnieper due to the disaster would mix with the clean water of the dam and become a toxic broth that would wash over everything. Our government estimates that up to 500 tonnes of oil could end up in the river. That is one of the big concerns we have. This will have consequences for nature, for agriculture and for people’s drinking water. And add to that the destructive power of the floods, which threatened some important protected areas. spektrum.de
African peace initiative for Ukraine: A foretaste of the new world order. Six heads of state from Africa want to mediate between Kiev and Moscow. The initiative shows what role the continent wants to play in world politics in the future. tagesspiegel.de
Hydrogen from Angola for Germany’s energy transition: German project developers want to use an existing power plant in Angola to produce hydrogen for Europe’s industries. At the same time, many private households in Angola have no electricity. How does that work together? dw.com
Shortly before the elections in Zimbabwe: Patriotism as a duty: Anyone who harms „national interests“ in Zimbabwe is now liable to prosecution. This is how the government ensures a faithful election campaign. By setting the next presidential, parliamentary and local elections in Zimbabwe for 23 August, President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week put an end to speculation – and at the same time set the stage for a heated election campaign period. Mnangagwa’s ruling party ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African People’s Union – Patriotic Front), which has ruled the country since independence in 1980, is this time confronted with the new opposition party CCC (Citizens Coalition for Change) under its leader Nelson Chamisa, which was only founded in 2022. taz.de
White benefactors criticised: „It’s never about Africa“: Stars of the pop industry like to be celebrated as benefactors. But this does not go down well everywhere. In Uganda, an organisation has come in for a lot of criticism, seeing pop stars in particular as representatives of a neo-colonial world. When Rwothomio Gabriel sees Madonna and Angelina Jolie adopting children from Africa or Southeast Asia, he gets angry: „This further ingrains the idea of Western superiority here, too,“ he says with an irritated look. „More people do think through this: oh, if children go to the West, they will have a better chance of a successful life.“ But that is a fallacy, he says. „When the child then leaves, it often turns out that he or she is not allowed back. In very many cases, children are separated from their families here.“ schwaebische.de
Colonial reappraisal: German restraint in Tanzania. The German government wants to come to terms with Germany’s colonial history. But the answer to a minor question by the Left Party shows that sensitive issues such as the Maji Maji war in Tanzania are left out. dw.com
Central African Republic: New constitution divides the country. President Touadéra wants to rule longer with a new constitution. The opposition is uniting against it. taz.de
170 trillion in climate compensation: the industrialised countries would have to dig deep into their pockets if they wanted to pay off their climate debts. Around 170 trillion US dollars are on the bill, as a study by researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science shows. This serves as compensation for the fact that the rich countries have exceeded their share of the global CO2 budget by more than three times. As plausible as these figures are, it is more than questionable whether they change the situation. Timmons Roberts of the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society agrees: „The estimates (…) are uncomfortable and will probably never be acknowledged by anyone in positions of power in the debtor countries,“ he writes in an accompanying commentary. Nevertheless, he considers it important to at least clearly show the magnitudes of the climate debt. scinexx.de
Environmental disaster after dam burst: After the Kakhovka dam burst, the energy authority gives the all-clear for the time being for the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant. For the environment, however, it will have dire consequences. Further downstream, in front of the destroyed dam, environmentalists are now talking about an ecocide. Since the irrigation systems in this area will be out of action for the time being, swamps will form, according to Lyudmilla Zyganok of the Association of Environmental Professionals. Other areas of the agriculturally productive region would turn into deserts. Toxic substances, land mines and bacteria would migrate with the floods towards the sea. We have to reckon with a huge fish kill, dried up soils and a completely changed climate. taz.de
Shredding, grinding, evaporating: a new process is supposed to make it possible to recycle lithium-ion batteries in an environmentally friendly way. Is the method also suitable for practical use? Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed a method that does not require toxic chemicals for battery recycling. The team has now presented the new method, which is intended to recover over 70 percent of the lithium from battery waste. To achieve this, the experts not only shred the batteries, but also grind them up. In the end, they resort to aluminium – an element that is contained in the battery cathode anyway. The aluminium reacts with the ground waste to form a water-soluble lithium compound. Finally, the mixture is dissolved in water and heated. The water evaporates – and what remains is a lithium salt from which new lithium-ion batteries can be made. sueddeutsche.de
China: The world’s largest desert solar power plant is being built in the north of the Middle Kingdom. nzz.ch
Research on high-tech processes: How nuclear waste could be made harmless. n-tv.de
Emission-free cruise: Hurtigruten introduces new ship. rnd.de
14/15 June 2023 BDEW CONGRESS
The motto of the BDEW Congress 2023 is „We secure energy“. At Germany’s largest industry meeting, we want to take stock of the current situation with you and top-class representatives from business, politics and science. We want to discuss what lessons we can learn from the crisis and how we can continue on the path to climate neutrality.
We secure energy for an independent, secure and climate-neutral energy supply of the future.
- 13 June 2023 – Kick-off evening
- 14 June 2023 – 1st Congress Day and Celebration Evening
- 15 June 2023 – 2nd Congress Day
Verbraucherzentrale: Poorer standards for Deutschlandticket wrong signal
Everyone is equal, but some are more equal. This phrase also applies to Deutschlandticket holders. In extreme weather, however, everyone is now looking down the tube. On 7 June 2023, the passenger rights of Deutsche Bahn will change due to a new version of the EU passenger rights – and from that day on, some grounds for compensation for rail passengers will also cease to apply.Ramona Pop, director of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv), not only criticises this, but also complains that people with a Deutschlandticket will now be completely excluded from some passenger rights. This is the wrong signal within the desired mobility turnaround. The national implementation decided by the federal government does not make use of existing leeway. Compensation for train delays will not apply from 7 June, for example, if the causes of the delay are „extreme weather“ – i.e. phenomena that may occur with increasing frequency as man-made climate change progresses, but whose attribution is often not easy. What is still „weather“ for the railway and what is already „extreme weather“? The answer to this question could lead to some disputes. Instead of compensation, according to Pop, passengers will soon be „stuck with damage and frustration“. Even if cables are stolen, emergencies occur on the train or people are on the track, compensation will not apply. heise.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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