Bundestag passes targets for more energy efficiency: In a second attempt, the Bundestag passed a law last week to increase energy efficiency. Companies with high energy consumption are to introduce energy or environmental management systems and draw up concrete plans for implementing measures for more energy efficiency. A limit on individual consumption by companies or private households is not to be introduced. The law primarily implements EU requirements. It was supposed to be passed in July shortly before the summer break. However, the vote fell through because there were not enough MPs in the plenary chamber. rnd.de, dlf.de, faz.net (comment)
EU Commission proposes glyphosate approval for another ten years: With the extended approval, the EU Commission would follow an assessment by the EU Food Safety Authority. Criticism comes from environmental groups and the Greens. The proposal will now be put to a vote of the 27 EU members. A qualified majority of 15 members representing at least 65 percent of the EU population is required to either support or block the proposal. Germany, on the other hand, wants to ban glyphosate from the beginning of 2024. zeit.de
was the average power outage time for consumers. In 2021, the average power outage time for customers was still 12.1 minutes. Only in 2020 was this average interruption duration, also referred to as unavailability, even shorter at 10.2 minutes. Overall, the electricity supply in Germany remains one of the most reliable in the world. elektropraktiker.de
Federal government considers complete takeover of pipeline operator Wiga: Wintershall could sell its stake in the gas network operator to the federal government. Pipelines are to play a central role in the development of the hydrogen economy. Such a deal could happen through Sefe, formerly Gazprom Germania, which was nationalised in the energy crisis, people familiar with the matter said. Sefe already owns a 50 percent stake in the pipeline operator. Oil and gas group Wintershall Dea holds the rest, but wants to part with it, according to financial circles. handelsblatt.com
German chemical industry largest consumer of fossil raw materials and driver of the plastic crisis: A recent study entitled „Blackbox Chemieindustrie“ commissioned by the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) shows that the chemical industry is the largest consumer of fossil raw materials in Germany. The German chemical giants consume the most oil and gas nationwide and are thus the main driver of the resource crisis. 383 billion kilowatt hours of energy and raw materials such as oil and gas were consumed by chemical companies in 2020. The chemical sector uses a full 20 percent of its energy and raw material requirements for the production of plastic packaging alone – in other words, waste. BASF in Ludwigshafen has the highest fuel consumption. BUND appeals to the traffic light parties to work towards high resource efficiency in the chemical industry. chemie.de
EU wants to ban greenwashing in advertising: The European Union wants to ban advertising that misleadingly promotes products as environmentally friendly. In addition, information about the guarantee is to be more visible in future. Negotiators of the EU Parliament and the EU Member States agreed on this in the night to Wednesday. Both should make it easier for consumers in the EU to make their consumption more sustainable. Sixty percent of European consumers do not even know that all products in the EU come with a two-year guarantee, „that will change as of today“, explained Biljana Borzan, MEP. In addition, the EU Commission will design a new label for manufacturers who offer a free extension of the warranty. faz.net
Fighting climate change: EU banking chief warns against neo-colonialism: The President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Werner Hoyer, warned against the vulnerability of the global South at the UN General Assembly climate summit. The EU should not simply exploit the South for green hydrogen. However, the development of environmentally friendly energy should not be at the expense of the resource-rich global South. For example, the EU, like others, is currently trying to secure access to important raw materials needed to manufacture products such as batteries for electric vehicles or magnets for wind turbines. „This must not be a one-way street. Climate protection must not become colonialism 2.0,“ Hoyer warned in reference to the possible risks of unfair agreements with developing countries. euractiv.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Mia hilft den Tieren
Mia lies in her tree house and watches the moon. I wonder what it would say to her if it could speak? I wonder if it likes animals as much as she does. Suddenly the moon really does talk to her. He likes to watch people living their colourful lives. But he is sad that they often forget to take care of nature, and so the animals have almost no place to live.
Mia wants to help! With her friend, the fox, she does many great things that are good for nature and animals, and inspires many other children.
A beautifully illustrated children’s book about small deeds that make a big difference. oekom.de
Strange deal: Nationalised ex-Gazprom Germania buys Russian LNG again. bloomberg.com
Sustainability and SDGs at the UN: The interim balance looks bleak. stern.de
EU Climate Commissioner: Nuclear energy important against climate change. zeit.de
UK: The Prime Minister promises more „pragmatism“ in climate policy. This could help the Conservatives at the ballot box. Business associations rebel. faz.net
Climate change project in Lower Bavaria: Peanut harvest has begun. br.de
Japan: Record heat not possible without climate change. sumikai.com
France: Largest floating solar plant is built in a former gravel pit. pv-magazine.de
Unesco warns of environmental damage in the Wadden Sea: Extraction of raw materials in the Wadden Sea is not compatible with World Heritage status. zeit.de
ECJ: Germany violates Habitats Directive and fails in nature conservation. euractiv.de
The seventeen goals magazine tells inspiring stories about how people move the world and shows how everyone can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
PODCAST OF THE WEEK:
Do you have to be able to afford climate protection?
Is climate protection only something for high earners, and if so, why is the CO2 balance of the rich so particularly bad? What climate-neutral, socially acceptable mobility and nutrition look like and what needs to happen for this to happen. It is often said that you first have to be able to afford climate protection. But is that really true? And if so, why is the carbon footprint of billionaires so disastrously bad?
You have to be able to afford climate protection …For example, when they say you have to be able to afford an electric car. If you’re honest, you have to put it differently: You first have to be able to afford a car. People who really do have an extremely low income cannot afford their own car. They and the people who do without a car despite sufficient income – these are the people who are really climate-friendly on the road. The discussion „combustion engine or e-car“ is in itself a luxury discussion. klimareporter.de
COMMENT OF THE WEEK:
Buying organic does not save the environment – but true costs do
by Matthias Benz
Some want to ban meat. Others think that the responsibility for sustainable nutrition lies solely with consumers. But both are wrong. Above all, environmental protection requires the right prices.
… It is true that customers can promote sustainable agriculture by buying organic and labelled products. But when it comes to public goods like environmental protection, private initiative has its limits. Many consumers rightly ask themselves: Why should I buy expensive label products or voluntarily do without, when others are riding on the back foot and continue to pollute the environment with their food consumption at the expense of the general public? As a result, organic market shares remain at around 10 per cent, and many farmers cling to environmentally damaging intensive farming. New approaches are therefore needed. The royal road to a food and agricultural policy that is both environmentally sound and liberal is called cost truth. The principle is as simple as it is well known in economics. If there are environmental costs to be borne by the general public (in the technical jargon: externalities), these should be taken into account (internalised) in the price. Then environmental protection pays off. Producers and consumers switch to more environmentally friendly goods. The environmental damage decreases to a level that is socially acceptable… nzz.ch
Rail instead of truck: The climate effect of a „European Silk Road“: A high-speed rail link across the continent could force the shift of freight traffic from road to rail and provide major CO2 savings, studies show. transport-online.de
Germany, a unified car country: For decades, transport policy has focused on road expansion – also in the current Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan. Critics complain that climate protection goals cannot be achieved in this way. tagesschau.de
France ties purchase premium to environmental criteria: In France, subsidies for electric cars will in future depend on CO2 emissions during production and transport. This could also affect German manufacturers. golem.de
Deutschlandticket brings more passengers on trains and buses: In the first half of 2023, more passengers were counted on buses and trains than in the previous year. Overall, the level is still below that of the pre-Corona period. heise.de
Billions in additional costs expected: Will the Deutschlandticket become more expensive? According to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), financing the Deutschlandticket in local and regional transport will become more expensive next year. According to the forecast, the federal and state governments‘ needs will increase from over one billion more to a total of around four billion euros. However, Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) rejects a higher federal contribution. businessinsider.de
Ship recycling made in Germany? Stralsund Volkswerft wants to be a leader in the ship recycling industry in Germany. It is planning to build a modern recycling plant. ingenieur.de
Europe is currently not sufficiently exploiting hydrogen potential – new study recommends stronger cooperation at EU level: Europe’s economy will need large quantities of climate-neutral hydrogen in the future for climate transformation. Many European countries, including Germany, are planning to invest heavily in the development and ramp-up of the hydrogen industry needed for this. A new study makes five recommendations to the EU and the member states and shows: There is a large imbalance in the ratio of current investment amounts and in the potentials for cheap hydrogen production of the individual European regions. And: Despite all efforts at domestic production, Germany will be a hydrogen importing country in the future. isi.fraunhofer.de , tagesschau.de
Hydrogen instead of heavy oil: More than 20 large corporations, including Amazon, Ikea, Levi’s, Nike and Tchibo, launched a tender for the transport of 600,000 standard containers on ships powered by emission-free fuels. According to the initiators, this corresponds to a saving of around one million tonnes of CO2 emissions over three years – roughly the amount emitted by 215,000 combustion cars. The aim is to accelerate the introduction of emission-free transport solutions. Zemba has called on shipping companies to offer transport that produces at least 90 per cent less greenhouse gases than before. The ships with eco-propulsion – that is, „new, clean fuels“ – are to start sailing in 2025. A buyers‘ association is offering a surcharge to cover the additional costs. klimareporter.de
Who gets the hydrogen? Battle for new core network breaks out. As with ICE connections in rail transport or motorway slip roads, everyone is fighting for their own connection to the hydrogen core network. „The basic thinking is: if you are not connected, you have no future,“ says a company representative in the background. Companies that wanted to convert to hydrogen needed certainty about when hydrogen would be available because of the high costs and negotiations with banks. The Federal Ministry of Economics, together with the twelve long-distance network operators – which include Open Grid Europe, Gasunie, Thyssengas or Gascade – wants to first connect those users whose processes can only be decarbonised with hydrogen, such as steelworks like those of Salzgitter or Thyssenkrupp. The German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) points out that there are a number of industrial customers who could not switch to electricity or district heating because of ultra-high-temperature applications, but needed hydrogen as a gas substitute. These include tyre manufacturers, the pharmaceutical and food industries and fertiliser producers. The chairwoman of BDEW’s executive board, Kerstin Andreae, insists on immediate plans to connect the distribution networks in order to make hydrogen available on a large scale and to connect customers. capital.de
Turning sewage treatment plants into green factories: Sewage treatment plants are power guzzlers. But with electrolysis, the green conversion succeeds. It produces hydrogen – and also supports wastewater treatment. handelsblatt.com
Hydrogen production in Moorburg: A hydrogen production plant is to be built at the site of the disused coal-fired power plant in Hamburg-Moorburg. However, two industrial heavyweights have dropped out of the consortium to build the electrolyser. The new partner, the asset manager Luxcara, which builds and operates wind and solar parks, is taking over the shares of Shell and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. ndr.de
Half of the world’s green hydrogen will come from China: China is already leading the world in the production of solar energy, and now the country is also dominating in another future technology: half of the world’s green hydrogen is produced there. China has been massively expanding the necessary electrolysis capacities for years. n-tv.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG:
„Development in the cities must be rethought“: Addressing vacancies in inner cities, expanding the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and paying attention to sustainability in construction: These are some of the challenges discussed by the State Secretary’s Committee for Sustainable Development at its meeting on 24 July 2023 on the topic of „Sustainable Building and Transport Turnaround“. Rolf Bösinger, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Housing, Urban Development and Building (BMWSB), informed the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development about this on Wednesday. According to Bösinger, conflicting goals were also addressed – for example, on the topic of redensification, where the increasing demand for living space contrasts with the need for green and recreational areas in the inner cities. On the subject of urban development, the committee of state secretaries had agreed that the vacancy rate in the inner cities had to be tackled. „Here, one must arrive at a polycentric organisation in public space based on the division of labour,“ he said. The focus should not always be on metropolitan regions. Positive examples from municipal practice must be used. Experiments are inevitable. It is about the mixed use of commercial properties, of shopping malls, but also of schools. „Development in the cities must be rethought,“ said Bösinger. bundestag.de
CDU/CSU wants realistic CO2 targets for heavy commercial vehicles: The CDU/CSU parliamentary group urges for „more realistic“ reduction targets against the background of the upcoming negotiations on the new CO2 standards for heavy commercial vehicles planned by the EU Commission. This is stated in a motion (20/8401), which the Bundestag will discuss for the first time in plenary tomorrow evening. In the motion, MEPs call on the federal government not only to advocate for a „proportionate“ further development of the limits, but also to oppose a ban on internal combustion engines in heavy commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses.
Experts: Need for improvement in licensing procedures: Simplified licensing procedures, faster expansion of renewable energy plants such as wind turbines or electrolysers for the production of hydrogen – these are the aims of the federal government’s draft law „to improve climate protection in immission control“ (20/7502). Experts, however, see a need to improve the bill, as a public hearing on Wednesday in the Environment Committee showed. In principle, the experts welcomed the intention of the draft to accelerate immission control approval procedures. However, the implementation was criticised – for different reasons. bundestag.de
Looking ahead to next winter, we have to say: we are already optimistic and we are better prepared than last year. Both are due to the fact that the industry is consistently using much less gas and that we are also better at storing and diversifying procurement. We must try to maintain this triad over the next winter and beyond.
Klaus Müller, head of the Federal Network Agency, believes that Germany is now in a much better position with regard to gas supply than it was a year ago. Nevertheless, in an interview with RND he appeals to consumers and companies to use the fuel sparingly in the coming heating season. Then Germany would be able to cope with a cold winter without rationing gas. Consumers should keep an eye on their gas consumption and the price they pay for it. As a rule, they can influence both. It is clear that panic reactions are never good. Last year we saw hoarding of electric fan heaters. We did not want to see that happen again. As I said, we are much better prepared than last year. rnd.de
Pesticides in Kenya: „The West must stop poisoning Africa“: In many African countries, pesticides that are banned in Europe are used on a large scale. Companies like Bayer continue to sell them in the Global South, despite alleged health risks. But resistance is growing. spiegel.de
Alliance of military putschists: The military governments of the three states form a defensive alliance against „external aggression“. Russia was active behind the scenes. taz.de
Lesotho – high potential for gender-based violence: According to the United Nations Country Office in Lesotho, the southern African kingdom is one of the most dangerous places to be a woman or girl, with one of the highest rates of sexual and gender-based violence in the world. In addition, Lesotho is the second largest exporter of garments and textiles in Africa after Kenya, and the sector is the largest private sector employer in the country, with 80 per cent of garment and textile workers being women. Against this backdrop, s representatives of local, regional and global trade unions, civil society and various governments, including the Prime Minister of Lesotho, met in Maseru to present models and discuss strategies to eliminate gender-based violence and harassment in the workplace. equaltimes.org
Morocco unveils resettlement programme for earthquake-affected areas: Morocco on Thursday announced a relief programme to assist and rehouse residents of some 50,000 buildings damaged in last week’s devastating earthquake. The 6.8-magnitude earthquake – the strongest Morocco has ever experienced – has killed nearly 3,000 people and injured more than 5,600 since last Friday in Al-Haouz province, south of the tourist hub of Marrakech. africanews.com
More rhinos in Africa: Conservation measures seem to be having an effect: More rhinos live in Africa than in the previous year. The increase is the first in ten years. Poaching has greatly reduced the global population. tagesschau.de
Art from Africa: As the founder of 1-54, the first fair for contemporary art from Africa, Touria El Glaoui knows what potential the continent has – and is pursuing great goals. faz.net
New issue of the magazine Welt-Sichten
The world is moving closer together: When Indians or Chinese eat more meat and consume more oil, food and petrol become more expensive in our country. Conversely, we influence living conditions in Africa, Asia and Latin America with our consumption, our exports and our policies. Such interactions are crucial for the fight against poverty, for environmental and climate protection and for securing peace.
welt-sichten helps to better understand the interrelationships – whether printed as a magazine or online with the website www.welt-sichten.org. The spectrum of topics ranges from the global economy and development policy to climate change and environmental protection to peace issues and the role of religions.
The magazine offers analyses, reports, interviews and short reports, book and film tips. Each issue has a thematic focus. Authors from all over the world have their say, and we take up controversial debates in discussions and commentaries. welt-sichten.org
Experts doubt the CO2 neutrality of the new Applewatch: In a few days, Apple’s first CO2 -neutral product is to be presented: the Apple Watch Series 9. According to its own information, Apple has used 30 per cent recycled material in the production and massively reduced air transport. The New Climate Institute in Cologne reacts sceptically to the announcement of the CO2 -neutral watch. Despite the important and good savings measures, it is „a bold exaggeration to claim that these products have a neutral effect on the climate“, the institute says. For example, it was not proven that only renewable electricity was used in the entire manufacturing process. klimareporter.de
How cities can become more resilient: Under the heading of „climate resilience“, experts like Birkmann are therefore investigating how cities can better prepare themselves for the consequences of the climate crisis. In doing so, it is important to learn from past extreme weather events. „Water can not only be the problem in progressive urban planning, it can also help and solve problems,“ says Roland Müller, head of the Environmental and Biotechnological Centre at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ). What is needed, therefore, is an „urban water turnaround“. Cities need to store water when it is abundant – i.e. when it rains or when there is heavy rainfall – and then use it when it is scarce. Cities that pursue this approach are often called sponge cities. zeit.de
Sensitive bean – climate change threatens coffee industry: Coffee is indispensable for many people. However, climate change is threatening cultivation around the equator. The industry – from farmers to coffee traders – is struggling to find solutions. And the clock is ticking. Climate change poses major problems for the coffee sector worldwide and could turn one of the Germans‘ favourite drinks into a luxury good. „There are studies that predict that by 2050 the area currently suitable for coffee cultivation will shrink by half,“ says Sophie von Loeben from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change Research (PiK). This will mainly affect countries like Vietnam and Brazil, which are the world’s largest producers. 3.4 cups of coffee per day are consumed by adult coffee drinkers in Germany, according to the Coffee Report 2023 by coffee retailer Tchibo. geo.de
Riesling: Water shortage, erosion and grapes with sunburn – climate change is affecting the popular Riesling from the Rheingau. hr.de
Fruit with sunburn: What climate change is doing to our apples. wdr.de
Study: This is how much home offices protect the environment.t3n.de
26.09.2023, 08:30 – 17:15
Shaping the future in existing buildings
The refurbishment backlog that has prevailed in Germany for years plays a key role in two of the most important challenges of our time. The energy-efficient refurbishment of existing properties not only saves energy (costs), valuable resources and CO₂ emissions, but can also create urgently needed living and working space at the same time. The EU Parliament also took this importance into account in mid-March by voting with a clear majority for the proposed revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and thus for a gradual renovation obligation in all member states.
Dangerous urban trees? Climate change requires tree inspectors
Almost no wind, a few clouds, around 20 degrees: out of nowhere, a more than 20-metre-high beech tree in Würzburg’s Ringpark topples over and buries a woman under its heavy branches. The 59-year-old woman, who was on a bicycle, dies a few hours later in a hospital. Almost no wind, a few clouds, around 20 degrees: out of nowhere, a more than 20-metre-high beech tree in Würzburg’s Ringpark topples over and buries a woman under its heavy branches. The 59-year-old, who was riding a bicycle, dies a few hours later in a hospital. zeit.de
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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