Coalition agrees on massive expansion of renewable energies: The coalition parties in the Bundestag have agreed on a massive expansion of green energies. Various laws are to create the basis for a climate-neutral electricity supply in the long term. According to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (German Press Agency), the last differences regarding the so-called Easter Package by Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) have been resolved in the parliamentary procedure. Previously, the package had been passed in the cabinet and discussed in the Bundestag, but the FDP had demanded a number of changes. wiwo.de , handelsblatt.com , br.de , bundestag.de
Is Germany facing a cold winter? In a few days it will become clear whether Russia will permanently cut its gas supplies. The government is alarmed. Because then Germany would be facing a difficult winter. Pipeline maintenance is scheduled for this Monday, and gas will not flow for ten days. Actually, this is routine. Every summer, the gas flow is stopped and robots are sent through the 1.20-metre-long, 1200-kilometre-long pipes. They clean the system, look for cracks and corrosion damage. But doubts are growing as to whether Russia will turn on the gas tap again afterwards. Technical maintenance could turn into political maintenance. Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) is voicing what many in the government have long feared: From 11 July, there is a threat of „a blockade of Nord Stream 1 as a whole“. Even though the last week of sessions before the summer break ended on Friday, the parliament remains in a mood of alarm. sueddeutsche.de
60 percent of all banks fail the ECB climate stress test
Banks in the Eurozone are not sufficiently prepared for climate risks. This was revealed by the so-called climate bank stress test of the European Central Bank (ECB).According to the test, 60 percent of the 104 banks reviewed did not pass the test and thus do not have the necessary framework to take climate risks into account. „Euro area banks urgently need to step up their efforts to measure and manage climate risk,“ said ECB Governing Council member Andrea Enria. Currently, most banks do not consider climate risks in their credit risk models. Only 20 per cent of the banks audited even consider climate risk as a lending variable. However, according to the report, the ECB estimates that environment-related credit and market losses for the industry add up to at least 70 billion euros in adverse scenarios. And according to the central bank, this figure also reflects only a fraction of the actual climate-related risk for the industry. manager-magazin.de
Taxonomy Gas and nuclear power are classified as green by the European Parliament: In the EU, investments in certain gas and nuclear power plants will in all likelihood be able to be classified as climate-friendly. Opponents in the European Parliament failed to stop such plans with a vote on Wednesday. Instead of the required 353 MEPs, only 278 voted against the legal act on the so-called taxonomy in the plenary session in Strasbourg. Environmental organisations sharply criticise the EU Parliament’s decision to classify gas and nuclear energy as „sustainable“ energy sources. Greenpeace goes one step further and threatens legal action if this is implemented. Other associations are demanding a reaction from the German government. Chancellor Olaf Scholz also criticised the decision. „I always thought it was wrong“: classifying natural gas and nuclear power as climate-friendly meets with disapproval from Olaf Scholz – however, he said, the Federal Government had not been able to prevent the EU Parliament’s decision. faz.net , lto.de , n-tv.de , spiegel.de (Scholz)
DIW Berlin: Energy transition must be accelerated significantly: According to the research institute, the pace of expansion in photovoltaics is only 30 percent of what is needed to meet climate targets. Progress in electromobility and heat pumps is also far too slow. With the new „Traffic Light Monitor Energy Turnaround“, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) wants to regularly check from now on whether the pace of the energy turnaround is sufficient to achieve the climate goals of the Federal Republic. pv-magazine.de, diw.de (Monitor)
More greenery and more shade in cities called for: In the view of the Federal Environment Agency, more greenery and more shade could make particularly high temperatures in inner cities more bearable. Among other things, the UBA had used simulation calculations to investigate how cooler temperatures could be achieved in inner-city neighbourhoods and in the buildings there. In addition to Hamburg, Cologne and Frankfurt, the researchers also looked at Madrid and Tunis in the Mediterranean region. Trees with large crowns, awnings and umbrellas have positive effects there in the neighbourhoods as well as in the houses and flats. Green roofs, water spraying and light colours for the facades also had a positive effect. This measure also reduced the energy demand for cooling, the scientists report. However, air conditioning could not be dispensed with in subtropical quarters or, for example, in attic flats in temperate latitudes without a loss of comfort. sueddeutsche.de , umweltbundesamt.de
Germany’s CO2 budget is shrinking threateningly: The Federal Republic of Germany ranks sixth among all countries in the world in terms of cumulative CO2 emissions – behind the USA, China, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia, but all these countries have a larger population than Germany. The CO2 budget available to the Federal Republic is shrinking from day to day. The German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) has calculated that Germany will thus only be entitled to 3.1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions from 2022 onwards, for a 50:50 chance of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees. If emissions remain at the current level, the budget would be used up in four years. In the case of a linear reduction, this would still be possible by 2031 – but emissions would have to fall around twice as fast as envisaged in the German Climate Protection Act. spiegel.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Kleiner Bruder – Die Geschichte meiner Suche
Little Brother – The Story of My Quest
When his little brother disappears and everything points to him having made the dangerous journey to Europe, Ibrahima sets out to find him. And experiences first-hand what the dream of a life in Europe means for so many young men in Africa: insecurity, violence, exploitation, loneliness, despair. Ibrahima is beaten, humiliated, sold, but at the same time he experiences the cohesion, hope and rock-solid confidence of a community of destiny, and finally makes it to Spain, where he finds his own voice to turn the story of his lostness into a salvation. A testimony that gets under your skin. A piece of literature that touches with its immediacy and beauty. Kleiner Brudergives an inside view of the refugee experience, in a language that astonishes. suhrkamp.de
Markus Söder: Demands stress test for gas supply. spiegel.de
A huge market: Energy companies develop into eco-pioneers. handelsblatt.com
Drought: Spain and Portugal are drier than they have been for 1200 years. spektrum.de
Study: Young people fear climate change the most. zeit.de
Enercon: Wind power company receives state aid. wiwo.de
Energy crisis: Housing company Vonovia wants to lower heating temperature at night. tagesspiegel.de
The seventeeen 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:
Is climate activism in crisis?
At the 2015 G7 summit in Germany, around 40,000 people took to the streets for more social justice and climate protection. This year, there were only 5,000. The activists of the „Uprising of the Last Generation“ are currently present in the media, sticking themselves to the streets and stopping traffic. Their hard core, which takes care of the entire organisation, has about 50 members. Berndt Welz is a documentary filmmaker who has been dealing with ecological and climate protection issues for years. His latest film „Radical Climate Activists: How Far Can Protest Go? can be found in the ZDF Mediathek. In it, he closely followed activists from the „Last Generation“ and „Extinction Rebellion“, among others. Welz is full of sympathy for the activists‘ cause, but has some doubts about their approach. Climate protection is thus „pushed into a left-wing corner“, he says. He considers this division fatal, because climate protection must be supported by society as a whole. Nevertheless, he is sure: the activists will not become violent. „The trend is clear that they will not radicalise.“ tagesspiegel.de
Drought, glacier collapses, heat records - climate change is no longer the sole preserve of polar bears. Nevertheless, the frequency of disaster reports seems to lead to habituation. Foreign Minister Baerbock is right with her drastic remark: „There is a fire.“ And as with a fire, the reaction must be immediate, comments Daniela Vates. …
The reports of the catastrophe are now coming in rapid succession. They are not statistical coincidences. Climate change has left the polar bears on the North Pole behind at a rapid pace and is on our doorstep. … But instead of raising the alarm level, something else seems to be setting in: habituation to the extreme. There is something else, too: The Corona pandemic has left behind exhaustion. The war against Ukraine and the fear of its spillover are filling the account of terror to the brim. rnd.de
Nine-Euro Ticket is a sales success: After only one month, it is already clear that the Nine-Euro Ticket for local transport is a sales success. Now the first reliable data are available on how German citizens have used it: very intensively and especially for weekend excursions, as the Federal Statistical Office has determined. The result: in June, the first month with the nine-euro ticket, mobility was 42 per cent higher on average. At the peak, for example over the Whitsun weekend, it was up to 56 percent. Even reports of overcrowded trains did not deter customers. At the end of June, the increase was still 40 per cent. May came in at only plus three per cent compared to May 2019. What everyone who wanted to travel to the countryside by train has noticed is now also statistically proven: Especially on weekends, the nine-euro ticket has triggered a real rush on regional trains. klimareporter.de, destatis.de
Higher costs for passengers: EU Parliament wants sustainable fuel as standard in air travel. rnd.de
Car manufacturers need to communicate new mobility better: An evaluation of reports in traditional media and social media posts on smart mobility shows that the opinion leaders are NGOs and politicians. Automobile manufacturers, on the other hand, are said to have a lot of catching up to do in terms of communication. automotiveit.eu
Mobility turnaround: With two new expert councils, the German government wants to accompany the change in the automotive industry and find a way for people to continue to be mobile without harming the climate. handelsblatt.com
EU taxonomy not consistent with regard to shipping: According to the German government, the life-cycle approach „taking into account all relevant greenhouse gases“ is the appropriate indicator as part of the sustainability assessment of fuels for maritime shipping „because it captures the total greenhouse gas emissions regardless of the location of bunkering“. This is stated in the government’s answer (20/2421) to a minor question by the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (20/2134). According to the submission, the German government considers it „inconsistent“ that alternative fuels for shipping such as LNG, methane or synthetic fuels continue to be considered unsustainable according to the EU Taxonomy Regulation. This classification was made across the board and was not based on the life cycle analysis, it says.
Natural gas grid to hydrogen grids: The EU is now labelling some gas projects as sustainable if they are completely converted to renewable energies by 2035 – especially hydrogen. But some hurdles must be overcome in the process. spiegel.de
Bill Gates focuses on hydrogen: Elon Musk is fully committed to electric mobility at Tesla, while Bill Gates is concerned with hydrogen. Gates calls hydrogen the „Swiss army knife“ for reducing CO2 emissions. If it were possible to produce this hydrogen in an environmentally friendly and cheap way, it could replace fossil fuels in various industrial processes. In addition, hydrogen could be used as an energy storage medium. Gates also emphasises the advantages for transporting goods. But how can hydrogen become a climate-neutral technology? According to Gates, green energy must be used as the basis for water electrolysis, which splits water into water and oxygen. If the energy comes from fossil fuels, the carbon emitted must be recaptured and bound. The greatest challenge is to be able to produce hydrogen as quickly and cheaply as possible. This is what the „Breakthrough Energy“ initiative, which he founded, is working towards. gatesnotes.com
Shell to build largest green hydrogen plant in Europe: The energy company Shell has made the final investment decision for the construction of Holland Hydrogen I. The project in Rotterdam is expected to be the largest green hydrogen plant in Europe when it comes on stream in 2025. chemietechnik.de
Green hydrogen: Gigantic production plants for green hydrogen are being built in Saudi Arabia and Namibia. Germany is involved as a partner. But the new energy carrier also harbours risks. spektrum.de
EON with new hydrogen division: The Eon Group has set up a new unit for the hydrogen and green gases business field. It is headed by former VSE board member Gabriel Clemens, who is now to steer the group-wide activities. energate-messenger.de
Rostock as a hub for hydrogen from gas: A German-Norwegian energy project wants to make Rostock a hub for the production of hydrogen from natural gas, so-called blue hydrogen.The German gas company VNG plans to build and operate a plant with a target capacity of 1.3 gigawatts in Rostock with an annual hydrogen production capacity of up to 230,000 tonnes, which would correspond to about 20 % of the current hydrogen market in Germany. A final decision on the investment project, which will cost around one billion euros, is to be made in 2025 or 2026, according to which production could start in 2029. A feasibility study is to clarify the points that are still open. process-vogel.de
Gasunie: Submits applications for Brunsbüttel connection. energate-messenger.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
Research funding for the energy transition: It is important for climate protection that new technologies find their way out of the laboratories and into the economy and society, according to the report on the 7th Energy Research Programme, which the government has now presented as a briefing (20/2370). Accordingly, the funding programme has placed a focus on the accelerated transfer of innovations into energy industry practice and society. The new formats include, for example, the energy transition real laboratories of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) and the hydrogen lead projects of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Debate on new version of the Federal Forest Act started: This week the dialogue on the future of forests in Germany of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) started. The process is preparing a new forest strategy of the Federal Government, which is to emerge by summer 2024 and culminate in a new version of the Federal Forest Act. In a public expert discussion of the Committee on Food and Agriculture on Monday afternoon, the Scientific Advisory Council on Forest Policy (WBW) at the BMEL presented the expert report „The Adaptation of Forests and Forest Management to Climate Change“. Although the experts agree that there must be a forest transformation and that more money should be made available for this purpose, the means by which the transformation is to succeed are very inconsistent. bundestag.de
Hearing and criticism on the amendment of the Federal Nature Conservation Act: The planned amendment of the Federal Nature Conservation Act has met with scepticism from experts in a hearing of the Environment Committee. Although the experts supported in principle the objective of the draft of the Fourth Amendment to the Federal Nature Conservation Act (20/2354) submitted by the parliamentary groups of SPD, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and FDP, they saw considerable need for improvement in the concrete implementation. It was to be feared that the goal of accelerating and simplifying planning and approval procedures for wind power plants would otherwise be missed. bundestag.de
Union – No ban on the climate-neutral internal combustion engine: The CDU/CSU parliamentary group urges technological openness in drive technologies. In a motion (20/2555), which is on the agenda of the Bundestag on Thursday evening, it demands to allow the use of climate-neutral e-fuels in combustion engines. In concrete terms, the German government should lobby the EU Commission and the trilogue negotiations for synthetic fuels to be included in the CO2 fleet limits so that new vehicles in the passenger car, commercial vehicle and truck sectors with internal combustion engines can use climate-neutral e-fuels, write the MEPs. Furthermore, the German government should allow climate-friendly alternatives to electromobility, such as hydrogen burners and synthetic fuels, and also develop a strategy to promote their market ramp-up. Legal certainty, „comprehensible investment conditions and fair regulations“ are needed, the bill continues.
The same people who worked with financial tricks that led us into the banking crisis of 2007/2008 are now developing similar, complex financial mechanisms to address climate change. But the money must be transparent and honest. I fear, however, that this is not the case. At the same time, climate finance follows the idea that we pay others, especially in developing countries, to make the changes for us.
Kevin Anderson of the British Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research. A Marshall Plan for the climate is needed, which must benefit the poor and the lower classes. The elites are failing, they are unsuited to respond to the climate crisis. They are stuck in a mindset and a model that caused the problem and will stand in the way of a solution. We therefore need a mobilisation from below that can lead us out of this impasse in which we are stuck. telepolis.de
Electricity in Africa: Almost half of all people in Africa live without electricity. This could be changed very quickly and in a climate-friendly way. Around 600 million Africans, more than 40 percent of the continent’s population, have no access to electricity. They can neither cool their houses nor their food, have to cook and heat with dung, wood or charcoal – a disaster for the forests and their own lungs. Due to the economic consequences of the pandemic and war in Ukraine, the number of Africans without electricity has recently risen again – by 25 million people. IAE All now has a plan to change this quite quickly. iea.org , zeit.de
Thousands of donkeys stolen from Africa: Because African farmers do not want to sell their donkeys, countless numbers are stolen every year. The donkey skin can be used to produce a „miracle cure“ of traditional Chinese medicine. Several countries in Africa react. Allegedly, it all started with the Chinese TV series „Empresses in the Palace“. In it, the aristocrats consume traditional Chinese medicine called ejiao, which is made from donkey skin. Ejiao is considered a „miracle cure“ in China, but causes „untold suffering and the cruel death of thousands and thousands of donkeys“, writes the World Society for the Protection of Animals. faz.net
Criticism of the German government’s gas plans with Senegal: Claudia Kemfert is an economist who specialises in questions of the energy transition. The 53-year-old heads the Energy, Transport and Environment Department at the German Institute for Economic Research and is a professor at Leuphana University Lüneburg. She finds the German government’s plan to participate in new gas fields in Senegal with German tax money counterproductive. Kemfert says: „This helps neither the economy there nor ours. It creates new fossil fuel path dependencies and, on top of that, fuels the climate crisis, from which countries like Senegal suffer particularly badly. The real opportunities for the future are obvious: we should enter into wonderful cooperation agreements with Senegal in renewable energies and green hydrogen. That would be worthwhile for both sides“. taz.de
Africa bears the risk: The EU wants to get away from Russian gas, and states in North and West Africa are to supply it. But they have every reason to distrust Europe. ipg-journal.de
Africa sends back clothing donations: Well-intentioned is often the opposite of good – this saying applies in the case of clothing donations that are shipped to Africa in large bundles by the ton. Two projects from the Kenyan capital Nairobi at the documenta art festival in Kassel, Germany, deal with this and with the hard life in the slums in a trenchant and harsh way. orf.at
South Africa: Many dead in attacks on bars in South Africa. At least 19 people have been killed in gun attacks on two bars in South Africa. Further people were injured. It is still unclear whether there is a connection between the acts. dw.com
The tricks of the tobacco industry in Africa: Worldwide, the number of smokers is decreasing, only on the African continent it is increasing. The tobacco industry is therefore focusing on expansion – but often with questionable methods. nzz.ch
Brazil’s highest court for more forest protection: The highest court in Brasília may have made a landmark ruling: It has ruled that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is a human rights agreement. What sounds like a formality has far-reaching consequences: Human rights agreements have a higher legal status than normal laws or state treaties. Caio Borges of the Brazilian environmental organisation Clima e Sociedade hopes not only that existing anti-eco rules can be challenged in this way, but also that new ones will occur less frequently. „The status of supra-legality gives human rights treaties a ‚deterrent effect‘ on laws that run counter to them,“ explains the environmentalist. taz.de
Rainforest Brazil, the second: Whether the ruling of the highest court in Brazil can still make much difference, we will see. The Amazon rainforest is on the brink of collapse, but now researchers have determined that it might not take that much to save the ecosystem. And it would not be too late. However, the scientists warn that the window of opportunity to save it could soon close forever. Currently, about half of the 4.3 million square kilometres of Amazon rainforest is officially protected. But to avert the ecological, social, cultural and economic erosion of the entire region, at least 80 percent must be protected. This would require an initial investment of a maximum of 1.6 billion dollars. In addition, there would be annual recurring costs of up to 2.8 billion dollars. According to the researchers, this investment is well within the realms of possibility. spektrum.de
A long-extinct oak rediscovered: The tree was rare and considered extinct. The oak species has the name Quercus tardifolia and was considered to have finally disappeared since 2011. On 25 May 2022, a team of American botanists discovered a specimen in Big Bend National Park in the south of the US state of Texas. The tree is not in good condition, more dead than alive. Its trunk is charred from a forest fire, and it also appears to have a bad fungal infection, report the scientists from „The Morton Arboretum“ organisation, among others. Another drought or another forest fire would almost certainly finish off what may be the last known specimen of Quercus tardifolia, sueddeutsche.de
Laws against „woke capitalism“: Companies are punished for climate protection and diversity. utopia.de
Lower Saxony: Further construction of coastal motorway halted. klimareporter.de
Microplastic pollution in the Northeast Atlantic: First long-term findings from deep water layers of the open ocean. fair-economics.de
Trump mocks the climate crisis: Nobody should be surprised by the statements of former US President Donald Trump. Trump supports Sarah Palin, who is running for the US House of Representatives. And in doing so, he makes fun of rising sea levels. We’re going to have a little more beachfront property, which is not the worst thing in the world,“ he said on Saturday night at a campaign appearance in Anchorage in the US state of Alaska. „I’ve heard that the oceans will rise one-eighth of an inch (just under 0.32 centimetres) in the next 300 years. We have bigger problems than that.“ He left open what the source for this figure should be. tagesspiegel.de
FAIReconomics is also taking a summer break, at least for the newsletter. We will be back on 22 August 2022 with new news from the environment, energy, the climate crisis and more. Always up to date on FAIReconomics.de with the most important news.
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