Gaps – draft bill on banning pesticide exports: Exports of pesticides not authorised in Europe are to be largely prevented. However, an as yet unpublished draft bill from the Ministry of Agriculture allows for many exceptions.There is much talk of „double standards“ when it comes to the export of highly toxic pesticides from Germany and Europe. Especially in the case of substances that are not approved in Europe but may nevertheless be exported – also by large German companies such as Bayer, BASF or Alzchem. This is causing outrage in the affected countries themselves. The government’s planned export ban on certain pesticides is also controversial within the coalition government. Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir plans to introduce a corresponding ban in spring 2023, but the r draft bill is still stuck in the cabinet without agreement. 180 such substances are listed in the draft. The Left Party criticises the draft as insufficient because it only takes into account substances that are harmful to health, but not to the environment. tagesschau.de
Dispute over water: Neighbouring states between peace and conflict: In the wake of global warming, weather extremes are increasing. In many places there is a lack of water, and tensions are straining relations between neighbouring states. Are the first wars already looming? There is the threat of conflict between India and Pakistan over large dam projects, for example. Pakistan sees Indian hydropower projects in the Kashmir region as a problem for its water supply. Similar conflicts exist between Afghanistan and Iran and Egypt and Ethiopia. handelsblatt.com
of all refugees are taken in by rich countries. The majority of people who have to leave their home countries flee to neighbouring countries. These countries are often no better off economically than the countries of origin, which are ravaged by war and environmental catastrophes.
No great success – Economist Grimm on the heating law: „The climate protection goals will probably not be achieved“. The traffic lights argued for a long time about the Building Energy Act. Now it is to be passed, heavily revised. According to Veronika Grimm, the compromise is not a great success. The promise of relief is not sustainable for long. Her solution: more honesty about costs and more market economy. deutschlandfunk.de
Is the European Union’s ambitious environmental and climate protection policy failing? Problems are mounting with the „European Green Deal“, which aims to make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050. The European Parliament in Brussels is in a crisis mood; the controversial renaturation law has fallen through. In a fight vote in the Parliament’s Environment Committee on Tuesday, no majority was found for the EU Commission’s draft. German Christian Democrats, conservatives and right-wing extremists voted against it; the draft failed by 44 votes to 44. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) is thus being pressured by her own party friends, among others, to withdraw the draft. taz.de
EU will miss climate target: According to the EU Court of Auditors, the European Union will not be able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as announced. There are no signs of sufficient funding to reach the goal of reducing emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, the authors write in a special report by the Court of Auditors. This applies above all to the private sector, they say. The report also takes Germany in particular to task. According to the information, the Federal Republic, together with Ireland and Malta, is among the states that were unable to achieve their greenhouse gas targets for 2020 on their own. zeit.de
Is the EU exacerbating the lignite crisis in eastern Germany? At the beginning of the week, the federal and state governments as well as the EU Commission met in Brussels to discuss whether the electricity company LEAG is entitled to 1.75 billion euros in compensation for the coal phase-out by 2038. Figures have not yet leaked out, but the pressure on the federal government and the eastern coal states is growing. That lignite-based electricity will no longer be profitable from 2030 at the latest is now assumed not only by climate activists, but by practically everyone – research institutes, state governments and presumably LEAG itself. But the company will no longer be „missing out“ on profits that would have to be compensated by 2038. It is said that this is the obvious position for the EU to take. An EU decision that no longer takes into account lost profits for LEAG after 2030 is likely to further exacerbate the lignite crisis in the east. klimareporter.de
Electronic waste does not end up in the supermarket: Since 1 July last year, consumers have been able to return their old small electrical appliances to most supermarkets and discount shops. After one year, it turns out that this option is rarely used. This was the result of a survey among the large retail chains. Germany’s largest grocer Edeka reported that the return option is „used rather sporadically“. Competitor Rewe, which also owns the discount chain Penny, also said: „Little use has been made of the offer in our stores so far.“ The discounter Lidl said that the offer had only been „cautiously accepted“. tagesschau.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Exnovation und Verkehrswende
From the automobility regime to sustainable urban mobility
The transport sector is the problem child in climate protection. In order to achieve the climate protection goals, a rapid and far-reaching change in transport and less car traffic overall are necessary. In transport policy, innovation-oriented strategies are usually pursued to achieve this. However, as long as the car retains its privileged status as the preferred mode of transport, a shift to innovative and sustainable alternatives will be prevented.
Alina Wetzchewald investigates whether and how „exnovation“ – i.e. the termination of unsustainable practices – can promote an urban transport turnaround so that sustainable innovations and alternatives can subsequently become better established. The author justifies the necessity of exnovation, develops theory-based explanatory approaches and examines exnovation in the case of the city of Oslo. As a result, she is able to derive concrete recommendations for actively shaping the urban transport transition through exnovation.
North Sea: in German-Danish consortium wants to build two huge „energy islands“ in the North Sea. focus.de
Cracks in the electricity architecture: Politicians have turned the electricity market into a patchwork quilt of false incentives, subsidies and dirigiste specifications. wiwo.de
Energy study: No decline in fossil energies in sight. energyinst.org
Viessmann: Wants to set up Klimatech Fund. handelsblatt.com
Federal Environment Ministry: Calls on population to save water. rnd.de
Generation in tears: The hopelessness of Israeli-Palestinian youth. fair-economics.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:
„We are changing the environment so that it makes us sick“.
Allergies, asthma, heat stroke: the climate crisis is making us sicker and sicker. Conversely, what is also good for the climate keeps us healthy. Environmental physician Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann explains how a crisis can turn into a double win. Actually, climate protection is not so much about the climate. It’s about protecting us humans. Because we need a certain climate to stay healthy. At the moment, however, the opposite is happening: the constantly heating climate, including various environmental consequences, is making many people sicker and sicker.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK:
Wiretapping Last Generation: Encroachment on the Freedom of the Press
by Alina Saha
For months, mobile phones, emails and the press phone of the Last Generation were monitored by the Bavarian police. Apparently no one was interested in the fact that this interferes with the freedom of the press.
At the end of April, when the Last Generation was in the process of paralysing the German capital with large-scale bonding actions, I spoke on the phone with Carla Rochel, a representative of the group. We talked about the accusation of „forming a criminal organisation“ against the Last Generation, how it feels to be publicly branded as criminals by politics and the judiciary and why it takes on these state repressions. Not a word about the structures of the Last Generation. Nothing about planned actions that had not already been announced, no comments on legal strategies in view of the numerous proceedings against members of the group.
Nevertheless, there may now be a policeman in Bavaria who knows exactly how my voice sounds on the phone. And there might be a record of the phone call in some file, in which my name could be noted… Because in Bavaria, the Last Generation is still being investigated on suspicion of „forming a criminal organisation“ under section 129. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported last Friday, not only have private mobile phones been tapped, located and emails read in this context since October 2022, but the press telephone has also been monitored. … The surveillance of the press telephone was justified with the claim that this was the only way to gain knowledge about the structures of the Last Generation. Yet rudimentary skills in using the internet are sufficient to find most of this information: Transparency is a trademark of the Last Generation. The press telephone is answered with the real name, the faces are clearly recognisable in the actions, and on the website there is a publicly visible wiki on structure and strategy that anyone without hacking experience can find. freitag.de
Smart Cities for mobility, participation and sustainability: Digitalisation opens up new possibilities for urban development. As a broad-based funding programme shows, the much-discussed smart cities can also be found in rural areas. dabonline.de
Major shipping companies are cutting emissions from their fleets: The shipping group A. P. Møller-Mærsk, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, is pushing ahead with its conversion with a new order. Green methanol as fuel is to save thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide. faz.net
Ship recycling rules come into force in 2025 – Shipowners see milestone: In the EU, the scrapping of old ships is strictly regulated. Worldwide, too, ship recycling is now to prevent environmental damage, human rights violations and child labour. handelsblatt.com
Federal transport infrastructure plan not in line with climate goals: A debate on the topic is necessary, said Dr Urs Maier, Agora expert on freight transport, sector coupling and transport infrastructure. Because, in Agora’s view, the federal transport infrastructure plan up to 2030 should be modernised as soon as possible – because it does not fit with the Climate Protection Act, which was also only passed after the transport infrastructure plan. According to Maier, the projects listed must all be re-evaluated against the background of a climate check and according to the planning principles of rail before road, preservation before new construction: „If a project is also necessary from a climate perspective, then its implementation should be accelerated. If it is also not beneficial from a climate perspective, then it should be put on hold.“ eurotransport.de
Will private jets soon be grounded? Private aircraft are becoming more and more efficient, but innovations for sustainability are lacking. Business customers therefore fear that they will soon be politically regulated. handelsblatt.com
E-bike beats car: The electrification of individual transport is advancing in Germany. Last year, around 470,559 electric cars were newly registered in Germany. A large number – but compared to the more than two million e-bikes sold in the same year, it seems small. de.statista.com
LNG as a „bridge“ to green hydrogen?One year after Germany’s decision to quickly build up an LNG import industry, doubts are growing. Not only are the environmental consequences of Germany’s billion-euro investment at home and abroad unclear. It is also questionable whether LNG terminals can be converted for green hydrogen. klimareporter.de
World Energy Council: More cooperation in Northwest Europe for the development of a hydrogen infrastructure. The World Energy Council – Germany published the annual study „Energy for Germany 2023″ focusing on the realignment of the gas and hydrogen infrastructure in Northwest Europe. Northwest Europe (the Benelux countries and Germany) is increasingly becoming an international hydrogen hub,“ explains Carsten Rolle, Managing Director of the Weltenergierat – Deutschland. „Due to its favourable location between the North Sea and relevant consumption centres in Central Europe, the region is on the one hand an important transit area for energy imports. On the other hand, it offers considerable potential for the production of climate-neutral hydrogen. At the same time, the region is becoming one of the leading users of climate-neutral hydrogen. At the same time, these centres of consumption strongly determine the required infrastructure.“ energie.de
This is how Europe’s hydrogen potential can be unlocked: Although the hydrogen economy is still in its infancy, there are already a host of new projects in Europe, with governments and private investors raising their ambitions and investing billions in the development of the clean fuel. euractiv.de
After a long standstill, hydrogen producer plans regular operation: Bavaria’s largest plant for the production of green hydrogen has been largely at a standstill since autumn 2022. The reason is the impact of the electricity price brake. Now that the regulations are coming to an end, operations are to be ramped up. For months, Bavaria’s largest green hydrogen plant has been largely at a standstill – now production in Wunsiedel in Upper Franconia is soon to go into regular operation. In the course of August, they want to produce significant quantities of hydrogen, said Managing Director Philipp Matthes. By the end of the year, production should then be successively increased. The electrolysis plant had already started operation in September 2022 and had even been described by Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) as „pioneering work for Germany and Europe“. But shortly afterwards it was largely over. Basically, the plant had not been in production for a week, Matthes said. stern.de
Germany should rely on domestic hydrogen: Industry needs huge quantities of the climate-friendly gas. But production and transport are expensive. A study now sees great opportunities for production in Germany. lee-nrw.de
Is the door opening? FDP Education Minister finds no clear answer on the subject of hydrogen on Lanz: Markus Lanz grills Federal Minister of Education and Research Stark-Watzinger on hydrogen: Is this technology really – as the FDP also gives the impression – a heating alternative? The minister does not give a clear answer. merkur.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
Government on the implementation of the heat pump strategy: 19,000 heat pumps were subsidised in 2018, around 21,000 in 2019, 31,000 in 2020, a total of 78,000 in 2021 and 260,000 in 2022, and 180,000 in the current year up to April. This is according to the federal government’s answer (20/7430) to the AfD parliamentary group’s small question (20/7118) on the „Implementation of the heat pump strategy“. A breakdown by subsidies is not possible, it continues. Furthermore, the government states that the extent to which measures can be promoted in the federal funding for efficient buildings – individual measures (BEG-EM) – depends decisively on the current budget negotiations. Accordingly, the budget funds for the BEG will be used to promote systemic refurbishment in addition to other uses in the BEG-EM, such as efficiency measures and systems engineering. In response to the question as to how many existing buildings the subsidies currently available are sufficient to ensure the heat supply there with a conversion to heat pumps, the Federal Government explains. Within the framework of the BEG, budget funds of 12.8 billion euros are available for new commitments this year. The budget is not reserved for a specific purpose, but is allocated according to demand through the BEG guidelines.
Target for charging points and electromobility remains: The Federal Government is sticking to its goals in the field of electromobility and charging infrastructure. This is stated in the government’s answer (20/7425) to a small question by the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (20/7144). The CDU/CSU parliamentary group had asked, among other things, whether the goal of creating one million publicly accessible charging points in Germany by 2030 was still considered to be in line with the times. Furthermore, the MPs had inquired what strategy the federal government is pursuing with regard to vehicle availability and acquisition costs „in order to achieve the goal of having 15 million electric cars on Germany’s roads by 2030“.
Government wants to improve on plant protection reduction: The German government sees room for improvement in the negotiation process so far on the Sustainable Use Regulation (SUR) – an EU regulation on the reduction of plant protection products in agriculture. This is stated in an answer (20/7326) of the Federal Government to a small question of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (20/7104). The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) wants to submit further proposals on the procedure to avoid negative effects on domestic agriculture. On the one hand, this would be a modified definition of „sensitive areas“, which would harmonise protected goods and agricultural production, as well as a description of the planned restrictions in these areas. On the other hand, the aim is to specify viable measures to support farmers and to take into account reductions already achieved in the use of pesticides. All proposals should be designed with „little bureaucracy“, the federal government’s answer states. The debate on the reduced use of pesticides was sparked in the course of the European Commission’s planned Green Deal measures and the Farm-to-Fork Strategy. The plans provide for an across-the-board reduction in the use of plant protection products by 50 percent by the year 2030. The reduction target is to be achieved, among other things, with a total ban on chemical plant protection products in so-called sensitive areas. In Germany, this would affect 31 percent of arable land and 36 percent of orchards and vineyards. Depending on the type of crop and location, yield losses would have to be expected.
Government response to 100 questions from the FDP to Minister Habeck: The savings in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) brought about by the intended amendments to the Building Energy Act (GEG) increase from year to year, as the new savings made each year add up over time. The GHG savings amount to an average of about six million tonnes of CO2 equivalents in the period from 2024 to 2030, according to the federal government’s answer (20/7290) to the small question of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (20/7078), which had put the 100 questions of the FDP to Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) as a question to the government. Thematically, the questions range from questions on costs to those on the supply situation for heat pumps to the effects for tenants and the inclusion of EU emissions trading. The answers, according to the government’s preliminary note, were based on the version of the draft law that was the subject of the cabinet decision of 19 April 2023.
The turning point was the fall of the Iron Curtain a good 30 years ago. At that time, Vienna had just under 1.5 million inhabitants, and the number stagnated. This year we will probably cross the threshold of two million inhabitants. Such a development challenges urban planning. Our regular citizen surveys show that around 90 per cent of people like living in Vienna very much or like living here and 75 per cent have a positive attitude towards growth – an important feedback for us, especially considering that people like to argue in Vienna.
Thomas Madreiter, Planning Director of the City of Vienna, reduction is not a technical goal, but maintaining or improving the quality of life is. Vienna has a compact development structure, which allows for a pedestrian-friendly city. In addition, the public space is being attractively redesigned in many places. The public transport system is well equipped and will be further expanded. There is a parking management concept that now applies to all districts. He wants to make alternatives to the car as convenient as possible, so that more people do not use their own cars. (In addition, the city is preparing for climate change. ed.) In the „worst case“, an increase of five degrees is expected by 2100. Therefore, as much greenery as possible must be integrated into the public space as quickly as possible. They are also pragmatic, because the structure of the streets and the finances often do not allow the Viennese planners to go into the streets with large new trees. That is why they often work with temporary elements, with troughs, bushes and grasses. By 2025, 25,000 city trees would be planted in Vienna, of which about 3,000 trees would be planted at 500 new locations. rp-online.de
Immeasurable potential: Big Tech invests massively in Africa. But to win over politicians and the population, companies have to take local interests seriously. ipg-journal.de
Wagner mercenaries in Africa: The brutal adventure of the Russian wage fighters on the continent is by no means over. In Central Africa, they control almost an entire state. Putin’s concession to Yevgeny Prigozhin also clears up another misunderstanding. That his rift with Prigozhin could lead to a withdrawal of mercenaries from Africa. Both the Wagner founder and Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have already made it clear that the African adventure of the wage fighters is by no means over: the economic and political gains that Prigozhin and Putin derive from the machinations of the far more than 5,000 mercenaries on Europe’s neighbouring continent are too great. The only ones who could give the troops the boot are the governments of the countries in which they operate. If they did not have to fear that they would be swept out of office without the unscrupulous swashbucklers. fr.de
Mediterranean countries urge EU to create new ‚Southern Partnership‘ with Africa: A group of nine Mediterranean member states has called on the EU to create a formal ‚Southern Partnership‘ with African countries based on cooperation in the areas of energy and migration. The draft document, circulated on Thursday (29 June) during the regular summit of EU leaders in Brussels, was co-signed by Italy, Croatia, Spain, Slovenia, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, France and Portugal. The proposal is a response to the geopolitical challenges posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and notes that „the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean face the same challenges.“ euractiv.de
The next rubbish scandal: clothes that H&M claims to recycle turn up as mountains of rubbish in Africa. In a fascinating investigation, the Swedish newspaper „Aftonbladet“ has uncovered how used clothes from H&M turn up as rubbish in Ghana. Clothes that the clothing company claims will be resold or recycled. Used clothes produced under exploitative conditions in Asia have long clogged African markets and polluted the Chilean desert. In 2021, the Hamburg-based medium „Flip“ proved that Nike shreds shoes as good as new, and a year later it tracked Zalando returns that are driven endlessly through Europe by truck. The journalists travel to Ghana in pursuit of a piece of clothing. They walk across a beach, but the ground feels strange. It vibrates, wobbles and crunches. The reporters realise: the beach is not a beach. It is a huge pile of old clothes on which sand has been dumped. infosperber.ch
Mali: A majority of voters voted in favour of the new constitution. The president and the army are thus significantly strengthened. There is protest against the referendum, especially in the north of the country. The military-ruled West African crisis state of Mali is to receive a new constitution that will give the president and the armed forces more power in the future. 97 per cent of the participants in the constitutional referendum last Sunday voted in favour of the new basic law with a voter turnout of 39.4 per cent, according to the electoral authority in the capital Bamako. tagesschau.de
Annalena Baerbock in South Africa: When neutrality is partisan: On her trip to South Africa, Baerbock wanted to heal old rifts and move the country away from its proximity to Russia. But the success remains manageable. zeit.de
Why „The Line“ is a misconception: Two uninterrupted rows of skyscrapers, flying taxis and robot servants: the linear metropolis „The Line“ in northern Saudi Arabia is a project dear to the heart of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Viennese complexity researchers, however, pick apart the 170-kilometre-long „city of the future“ that is currently being built out of the ground on the Red Sea. Long distances would force half the population to commute long distances, the team writes in the journal „npj Urban Sustainability“ – and recommends a circular layout instead. The bottom line is that „The Line“ is more likely to be a publicity stunt than the eco-city of the future anyway, the researchers suspect. derstandard.at
Conservationists criticise cruise industry: According to an investigation by the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union Germany (NABU), the cruise industry is making only slow progress in climate protection. „It seems out of time that the majority of large ships continue to sail with the particularly toxic but cheap heavy fuel oil,“ said NABU federal director Leif Miller. However, NABU shipping expert Sönke Diesener also emphasised that the first shipping companies are making efforts to achieve climate neutrality. However, the pace would have to pick up considerably. Although emissions had to be drastically reduced, they continued to rise. „Particularly worrying is the sharp rise in methane emissions from LNG use,“ Diesener said. In the cruise industry, propulsion with LNG, i.e. liquid natural gas, is considered more climate-friendly compared to propulsion with heavy oil. zeit.de
Climate change denial in the media declined sharply, but criticism of the measures is on the rise: Climate change is hardly ever denied on TV and in newspapers – in general, however, a shift can be observed: Instead, there is now criticism of climate protection measures. Media researcher Jana Egelhofer that science now distinguishes between several forms of climate change scepticism. „There are different theoretical approaches to specifications of climate scepticism,“ says Egelhofer. „One of them distinguishes between Evidence, Process and Response Skepticism. Evidence Skepticism denies the reality of climate change, Process Skepticism criticises the scientific process of climate change research, and Response Skepticism criticises attempts at regulation.“ The last area in particular is gaining in importance, says the researcher. derstandard.at
Brazil: Moulting into a green energy giant. focus.de
Solar reactor: Converts CO2 and plastic into fuel. basicthinking.de
StartUps: Financing rounds are getting smaller and smaller – except for climate start-ups. capital.de
Over 400,000 euros for a taxi ticket – it goes into space:
The first commercial flight by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic makes dreams come true – and leaves climate protectionists with nightmares..Converted, the damage caused by a space tourist is around 150 times greater than that caused by a long-haul flight. Per nose, 50 to 75 tonnes of CO2 are released. By comparison, Germans produce around 10 tonnes of CO2 per year, which is still three to four times more than it should be to keep the Earth’s climate in balance. focus.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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