Companies are to contribute to plastic waste disposal in parks: Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) wants manufacturers of single-use plastic to soon contribute to the costs of removing such waste from parks and streets. She is preparing a draft law. With the bans on some plastic products, Germany has taken first important steps, she said. „I want to go further,“ the Green politician emphasised. In concrete terms, it is about setting up a fund for single-use plastic, into which the manufacturers should pay, depending on the quantity they sell. A „special levy with financing function“ is planned, according to the corresponding draft bill. welt.de
Establish a special fund for environmental protection: Fridays for Future calls on the German government to provide a special fund of 100 billion euros for climate protection – also to accelerate the expansion of renewable energies. Backing comes from the scientific community. „Our dependence on fossil energies. And that’s exactly what needs to end,“ activist Luisa Neubauer declared last week. „If massive investments are not made now in the rapid transformation away from coal, oil and gas, then we have no chance of getting out of the crisis spiral.“ tagesschau.de , rnd.de
Warming of up to 5 degrees in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East
Countries in the region are warming almost twice as fast as the global average. This was found by a group of international scientists led by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the Cyprus Institute in preparation for the next UN climate conference. The region will warm by up to five degrees Celsius by 2100 if emissions are not reduced. „In this case, the dry climate zones would expand northwards at the expense of the more temperate regions,“ explains lead author George Zittis of the Cyprus Institute. The consequences are severe heat waves, especially in summer, droughts and other extreme events such as dust storms and heavy rain. This can endanger the water and food security of over 400 million people. faz.net
Tipping points can be triggered earlier: In an extensive new study, an international team of renowned climate researchers comes to the disturbing conclusion that several dangerous tipping points of the Earth’s climate can be triggered as soon as the global temperature exceeds the limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Even now, when the Earth’s temperature is only slightly above 1.1 degrees, there is a risk that the Earth will cross five dangerous climate tipping points, the authors say, putting coral reefs, permafrost soils and polar ice at risk. science.org(original study) , rnd.de
Climate lawsuit against company dismissed: The DUH had filed the suit. The plaintiffs demand that Mercedes change its business policy in a climate-friendly way, because otherwise the state would massively restrict the plaintiffs‘ basic rights. If the entire German CO2 emissions budget is used up, also because of Mercedes‘ cars, politics would have to massively restrict the consumption, traffic and living comfort of the entire population, i.e. also of the plaintiffs. However, the Stuttgart Regional Court could not do anything with this in the specific civil law case. If the court is to weigh the interests of the plaintiffs against the interests of Mercedes-Benz, said presiding judge Bernd Rzymann, then one must know in some concrete way what impairments the plaintiffs are actually threatened with in the future. So far, however, it is not at all clear whether the politicians would really order massive restrictions if the German climate budget were exceeded and how the plaintiffs would be personally affected by this. zeit.de
Patrick Graichen – Habeck’s climate saviour: The civil servant State Secretary Patrick Graichen is the spiritus rector of the BMWK. He is considered very well connected and part of a network of influential Green politicians. Minister Robert Habeck and Graichen have set out to improve the energy infrastructure. Their commitment is to the expansion of climate-friendly power generation and the grids needed for it. In the long term, the effort is also aimed at hydrogen use. However, after the Russian attack on Ukraine, it was necessary to switch to a different mode. NorthStream 2 not commissioned, LNG terminals activated on the North Sea coast, iImports and transport of oil and coal reorganised, instead of building new gas-fired power plants – as envisaged in the coalition agreement – old coal-fired piles are reactivated. This climate policy gaffe is already enough of a problem for the Greens. The only thing that surpassed the party’s shaking of its self-image was the idea of extending the lifespan of the last three nuclear power plants beyond 31 December. The ecologists in the cabinet and in the government factions did not let it get that far. According to the latest decisions, the reactors will be taken off the grid as planned at the end of the year, with the two southern German plants remaining in an operational or cold reserve until mid-April at the most. faz.net
Error in the abolition of the EEG levy? Until July, the EEG levy was still an item on electricity bills and was used to pay for the promotion of renewable energies in order to make electricity generation climate-friendly. However, parts of industry benefited from exemptions; moreover, the levy hit people with low incomes relatively harder than the wealthy. In order to make the promotion of green electricity more equitable, the „traffic light“ government had therefore announced a switch to tax financing from 2023 – and brought this date forward by another six months to provide relief in the energy crisis. But if the levy under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) were still in place today, it would no longer burden the electricity price, but relieve it. taz.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
So reicht das nicht
Enlightenment, foreign policy and affront. What the climate crisis really needs now
Already 50 years ago, the „Club of Rome“ published „The Limits to Growth“, a study on the development of the global economy and showed even then how soon humanity will reach the end of further possibilities. The World Climate Report and extraordinary weather phenomena still show the urgency: the way we live has global effects – with a dramatic development. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker views the often national measures and ideas of individual countries with great concern and knows that the challenges today are far worse than they were 50 years ago. With seven points in his book, he calls for decisive action for the good of future generations. For him, what is needed now in terms of climate protection is, among other things, a foreign policy, new economics and a new enlightenment. bonifatius-verlag.de
Light pollution: The lights went out in many cities in recent weeks – Germany must save energy. Environmentalists also see the crisis as an opportunity for sustainability and species protection. tagesschau.de
Patagonia: Founder gives company to environmental protection foundation. handelsblatt.com
Companies: Postponing the issue of sustainability. spiegel.de
Italy: After extreme drought – extreme rainfall as a result of oil climate change. euronews.com
French energy supplier: Nuclear power plant shutdown costs operator EDF billions more. manager-magazin.de
Energy crisis: To prevent chaos in an emergency, several countries in Europe are preparing for scheduled power cuts in winter. capital.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:
Hardly a substitute for Putin’s gas – fracking? „No quick fix“ for energy crisis
In the fight against the energy crisis, the German government is looking for alternatives. Unused gas reserves still lie dormant under Germany. They could be squeezed out by unconventional fracking. However, the introduction of the controversial method would take years, says the chairperson of the Bundestag’s expert commission.
Germany is struggling for every cubic metre of gas, at least since Russia stopped sending gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Germany does produce its own gas, but not much any more. Last year, 5.2 billion cubic metres of natural gas were produced in Germany, mainly in Lower Saxony. That covers just about five per cent of Germany’s annual demand. n-tv.de
COMMENT OF THE WEEK:
Drought, wars, migration: why the water crisis in the Middle East cannot leave us cold
by Ulrich von Schwerin
The environmental problems in the Middle East are already dramatic and are likely to worsen due to climate change. Europe should support the region in its ecological transformation – also out of its own interest. … The images of burning forests in Brandenburg and Brittany have been startling and have given a foretaste of what could await us in the future. The Middle East and North Africa are already further along: much of what is still a gloomy vision of horror in Europe is already reality in this region. For years, it has been struggling with deadly heat waves, falling groundwater levels and acute water shortages. The lack of rain repeatedly leads to severe droughts in Syria, in Iraq devastating sandstorms take away people’s ability to breathe, and throughout the region lakes and rivers are drying up. In northwest Iran, Lake Urmia has largely disappeared, in Khuzestan the water buffaloes are dying of thirst, and in Isfahan the Zayanderud, the life-giving river, hardly carries any water. Meanwhile, in the metropolis of Tehran, the ground is sinking because the groundwater is being pumped out uncontrollably. …. Even if the connection between climate change, conflicts and migration is neither always direct nor clear, the problem cannot leave Europe cold. The danger that the loss of livelihoods will drive many people in the Middle East to migrate is real. It is therefore in Europe’s own interest to support the region in overcoming the environmental crisis and the necessary ecological transformation. nzz.ch
Mobility of the future: The cost advantages of e-cars seem to be disappearing into thin air: Electricity is becoming more expensive due to the war in Ukraine, the purchase premium for e-cars will fall at the end of the year and free charging at discounters is no longer available. Incentives to opt for e-mobility in the future are disappearing, especially for potential buyers. radioeins.de
Mobility: If traffic is to flow smartly and sustainably, there is no way around the automotive industry, mobility service providers, municipalities and transport companies exchanging data and networking with each other. automotiveit.de
Berlin is setting the course for a 9-euro successor ticket: The supervisory board of the Berlin-Brandenburg Transport Association (VBB) has voted in favour of a temporary 29-euro ticket in the capital. It is expected to be valid from 1 October for the Berlin AB area, as the VBB announced. However, a formal decision is still pending. This written procedure will be initiated immediately. The 29-euro ticket will be issued as a season ticket until 31 December. An extension of the tariff is not planned. Both holders of a season ticket and those who take out a new one would benefit from the cheap ticket. zeit.de
A car with an electric drive is not environmentally friendly per se: „It depends very much on what components are installed, what materials were used – and what it weighs, says Professor Dirk Reith of the Bonn Sieg University of Applied Sciences. Life cycle assessment is the key word here. And it depends on how it is used. We will only be able to travel in a way that really conserves resources if the car has been designed from the ground up for urban traffic. That means, for example, that the batteries and the car as a whole are only as big as absolutely necessary. And, yes: if we want to get around efficiently individually with a car, we will have to accept a loss of comfort. In any case, we as a society will not be able to afford the big bulky and heavy SUV in the long run, even with electric drive. fair-economics.de
Gewerkschaft: Union: Bahn has problems also due to lack of staff. stern.de
Daimler Truck CEO calls for more action from the German government on charging infrastructure: Daimler Truck CEO Martin Daum has called for more action from the German government with regard to the infrastructure for e-mobility. „Currently, there are many plans and announcements on the part of the federal government, but little in the way of concrete action,“ said Daimler Truck CEO Daum. He considers the communication with the ministries to be „completely okay“. It was just: „What will come out in the end, what will actually be implemented and at what speed? The will is there, the action is still missing. „finanzen.net
European Parliament sets decisive course for eFuels: For the first time, the EU Parliament has set minimum quotas for the use of hydrogen and climate-neutral synthetic fuels, also called eFuels. According to this, the share of so-called renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs) in the transport sector should be at least 5.7% by 2030; in industry, their share should be 50% by 2030 and even 70% of hydrogen used in industry by 2035. The eFuel Alliance supports this step and welcomes the prominent role of eFuels for a climate-neutral future. windkraft-journal.de
Hydrogen via the electricity grid: The EU Parliament wants to change a regulation that has so far severely slowed down the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy. At the request of German CDU MEP Markus Pieper, the EU Parliament decided this Wednesday that the electricity for green hydrogen can also be obtained via the normal electricity grid and does not have to come from specially built plants. It was a good day for the European energy transition, Pieper said after the vote. It was not clear that he would get a majority, because most recently the EU Commission had prevailed with a different approach. handelsblatt.com
Hydrogen in trucks – heavy-duty transport with fuel cells before series production: One way to decarbonise heavy-duty transport is with fuel cells powered by green hydrogen. Clean Logistics wants to offer this from 2023. However, unlike the passenger car industry, the truck industry has not yet made much progress with alternatives to fossil resources: there are prototypes, research vehicles and extended manual production. Large-series products or concrete initiatives, on the other hand, are rare. This makes the announcement made by the systems provider GP Joule all the more surprising: In cooperation with Clean Logistics, a total of 5,000 fuel cell-electric tractors will be delivered to haulage companies and supplied with hydrogen from 2023 and until 2027. heise.de
Producing hydrogen from seawater: A new catalyst offers a cheaper way to split both freshwater and seawater at low voltage. solarify.de
Trondheim is a European centre for hydrogen research: the German government wants to procure green hydrogen for heavy industry in Germany in order to meet the climate targets by 2030. It is considered emission-neutral because it is produced by electrolysis of water and with renewable energies. Since capacities in Germany are still far from sufficient, the German government is in talks with Norway, which could supply both green and blue hydrogen. businessinsider.de
First hydrogen test delivery from the Emirates arrives in Germany: According to the Ministry of Economics, the first hydrogen test shipment from the United Arab Emirates has arrived at the Port of Hamburg. The cooperation was agreed during the visit of Economics Minister Robert Habeck to Abu Dhabi in March and is „an important step in the intended development of a comprehensive hydrogen value chain between Germany and the UAE“, the ministry explained. cash.ch
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
Question on the Alliance for Global Food Security: The parliamentary group Die Linke takes a close look at the Global Alliance for Food Security (GAFS) in a small question (20/3363). The alliance was established at the summit meeting of the seven leading democratic industrialised countries (G7) in the summer in Elmau, Bavaria, on the initiative of the German government in order to be able to react quickly to the developing food crisis. Some non-governmental organisations feared that the new alliance could weaken the United Nations World Food Council and hide important issues in the fight against hunger. The Group asks which GAFS projects are intended to mitigate the global food crisis and how the Alliance could initiate a long-term transformation of food systems. Specifically, the group wants to know who is involved in GAFS, what the organisational structure looks like and whether there is a work plan for implementing the overall strategic goals. They also want to know how the 4.5 billion US dollars announced at the G7 summit for the initiative are made up and how high the German participation is. Information is also requested on the duration of the alliance.
Question on ammonia emissions in agriculture: In a small question (20/3262), the AfD parliamentary group inquires about measures to reduce ammonia emissions in agriculture and their effects. Among other things, it wants to know whether the federal government considers the reduction target for ammonia emissions by 2030 to be realistic and technically achievable – and if so, with which concrete measures it is to be achieved. She also asks whether and by how much livestock numbers in Germany will have to be reduced to achieve this.
The Left Party wants information on Asse II: The Left Party demands information on the planned clearance of the Asse II nuclear waste repository. The third report on the progress of the Asse II project, presented by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) in May 2022, raises „many questions“, according to the Small Question (20/3307). Among other things, the Left Party wants to know on the basis of which assumptions the Federal Government assumes that the retrieval of the radioactive waste stored there will begin in 2033 „despite little progress“. The MPs are also interested in why the Federal Government assumes that the decommissioning of the shaft, which is „expected to last until the 2060s“, complies with the Atomic Energy Act, which prescribes the „immediate decommissioning“ of Asse II in section 57b, paragraph two.
Question on chemicals in the EU: The REACH process initiated by the EU Commission to ban perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) is still at an early stage, according to an answer by the German government (20/3223) to a minor question by the CDU/CSU parliamentary group (20/3040). A dossier on the restriction of PFAS, „with the exception of those compounds that are socially necessary or whose risk is adequately controlled by other Community legislation“, is currently still being worked on, the federal government writes. The technical authorities of Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway involved in the project should submit the restriction dossier to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) by 13 January 2023. The dossier would provide the scientific basis and detailed justification for the restriction and would be the starting point for the further procedure, in the framework of which consultations of the stakeholders would take place and two independent scientific committees of ECHA would examine the proposal for the design of the restrictions, explains the Federal Government. As soon as ECHA’s assessment was available, the EU Commission would deal with it and decide „whether and with what content“ it would submit a proposal for a regulation. The Federal Government clarifies that it will only be involved in the REACH restriction process once the EU Commission has submitted its proposal.
We can no longer avert a climate change that has serious effects. We will probably cross the 1.5 degree line of global warming in ten to 15 years and then overshoot it. However, we can still prevent climate change that endangers human civilisation or even the human species. There is still at least a 50 per cent chance of that happening. That’s not a bad chance when everything is at stake.
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, climate researcher at PiK, …In the best case scenario, global warming will be stopped just above two degrees and then slowly reversed over the next 200 years, tenths of a degree at a time – hopefully to about one degree, as it is today. To achieve this, CO2 would have to be removed from the atmosphere again, above all through large-scale afforestation, sustainable land use and the massive use of wood and other renewable raw materials as CO2 reservoirs in urban development. A rather dizzying script for saving the world, admittedly. fr.de
Africa’s democracies in crisis? Many states have taken on autocratic features in recent years. In Africa, heads of state like to be in power for several decades and bend the constitution to do so. dw.com
Climate crisis: Gates, Soros and UN call for billions in aid for Africa: Ukraine war and climate crisis hit Africa hard. Bill Gates calls for billions for African agriculture, the Soros Foundation proposes a solidarity fund. handelsblatt.com
Europe-Africa a common destiny: After the withdrawal of French troops from Mali, the question arises as to Europe’s position in Africa. What strategy is Europe pursuing on the African continent, in the face of China’s economic offensive and Russia’s growing influence? arte.tv
Ethiopia: After almost two years of armed conflict, rebels in the Tigray region have agreed to peace talks led by the African Union. dw.com
Kenya: On Tuesday, William Ruto was sworn in as Kenya’s fifth president before the country’s chief justice in the capital Nairobi. A week earlier, Kenya’s Constitutional Court had upheld the final results of the 9 August election challenged by long-time opposition leader Raila Odinga. The new president, who despite his three active decades in Kenya’s politics was able to successfully portray himself as a hustler in the election campaign and thus distinguish himself from the political elite, had made several popular campaign promises aimed at providing economic relief to the population. At his swearing-in ceremony, he directly announced the promised implementation of the 46 percent price cut on fertilisers within the coming week. He also referred to his government’s plan to facilitate credit facilities for small and medium-sized enterprises to the tune of 420 million US dollars within the framework of a fund known as the Hustler Fund. At the same time, one day after taking office, Ruto lifted the previous fuel subsidy, which had made the prices for petrol, diesel and paraffin the lowest in East Africa, but which the new president described as ineffective and too costly. Overnight, petrol prices rose over 13% on Thursday. The removal of the fuel subsidy is also said to be a condition of a 38-month US$2.34 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. reuters.com
Rwanda: Two-year prison sentence for „shameful dressing“? The image of the „women’s wonderland“ Rwanda is crumbling. The arrest of a woman in the small East African country is causing a stir. She had worn a partially transparent dress while attending a concert. nzz.ch
E-mobility in East Africa: A Frenchman and a German bring electric mobility to Nairobi and Kampala. Now customers are taking notice – because the global energy crisis is driving up fuel prices. faz.net
Charles III, the new environmental king? After the death of the Queen, he is coming to the fore: the new King Charles III, who is considered by many to be a visionary in matters of climate protection. So far, at least, the new king has had a completely different image than his mother: sometimes he was seen as an eccentric oddball, sometimes as a visionary in matters of climate protection. But he has always been a man of clear positions. Now that he has to prove himself as Britain’s new head of state, it is up to him to find a balance. Politically, Charles has been seen as a committed advocate for greater environmental and climate protection for many decades. As a „climate activist from the start“, even US President Joe Biden is reported to have said to him: „You got it all going.“ utopia.de
Newly discovered mineral in moon rocks could be energy source of the future: Chinese researchers have discovered a new mineral in a rock sample brought back from the moon in 2020. Because the mineral, called changesite (Y), contains helium-3, it could serve as an energy source of the future, according to researchers in China. They have found the helium isotope helium-3 in the lunar rock, which is considered an important fuel for generating energy through nuclear fusion. Large deposits of enriched helium-3 are suspected on the moon. tn3.de
German cities are getting darker. This not only saves electricity and money, but could also have a positive effect on health, the climate and biodiversity in the future. For example, lamps that are switched off in summer could save entire insect populations. Due to the attraction of artificial light on insects, an estimated 100 billion individuals die each summer in Germany alone. This also has consequences for the pollination of plants. A study published in 2017 showed that plants growing near streetlights are pollinated significantly less often at night and bear less fruit than their unlit counterparts. dw.com
Facilitating sustainability reporting for companies: RNE and DRSC agree on cooperation. fair-economics.de
Sustainable buildings: This house in Oaxaca combines inside and outside with nature. ad-magazine.de
Voluntourism: Is the trend of people who want to combine their holidays with something meaningful, which is not always unproblematic. utopia.de
EU Commission concerned about trade impact of US climate package: There are concerns in Europe about trade impacts of the US climate package. He had expressed his concerns in a conversation with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said on Thursday on the sidelines of a meeting of G7 trade ministers in Neuhardenberg, Brandenburg. This group of leading industrial nations includes Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, the USA and the UK. heise.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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