COP 26 begins in Glasgow: COP 26, the World Climate Conference, began in Glasgow on Sunday with scepticism among many participants. Joint success or joint failure – this is how the President of the World Climate Conference, the Briton Alok Sherman, sums up the challenge for the coming two weeks. The President of the UN Climate Secretariat, Patricia Espinosa, also warns of a „bleak future“ at the start in Glasgow. On the agenda of the conference is also an assessment of the voluntary national climate targets until 2030, which the states submitted before the conference. Experts are particularly concerned about the targets of China, India and Saudi Arabia, for example, but also about the implementation possibilities of the USA (the US President’s ambitious climate plan has just been scrapped). Moreover, according to a recently published UN progress report, the pledges made so far are at best sufficient to limit the temperature rise to 2.7 degrees. „Let’s make sure Glasgow delivers what Paris promised,“ adds Alok Sharma. Meanwhile, environmental activist Greta Thunberg has defended radical forms of protest in the fight for more climate protection. Sometimes it is just necessary to piss off some people in order to draw attention to issues, the Swede said at the start of the UN climate summit in Glasgow. zeit.de , fr.de , tagesspiegel.de (newsblog) , euronews.com
G-20 cannot agree on clear target date for CO2 neutrality: The G-20 states are committed to keeping global warming „well below two degrees and to strive to limit it to 1.5 degrees“, according to the final text of the summit. It remains unclear with which measures this is to be achieved – and a target date for CO2 neutrality is missing. Climate activists expressed „disappointment“ because the G-20 group is responsible for 80 per cent of emissions. welt.de , n-tv.de, fr.de
Germany has to pay for the first time because of missed EU climate targets: Due to missed climate targets, Germany has to buy additional emission rights from other EU countries. For example, the building sector was not able to save as much CO2 as planned. The German government will have to buy 22 million additional emission units in order to meet its obligations for 2020, reports the Reuters news agency, citing the Federal Environment Ministry. Shortly before the start of the world climate summit in Glasgow, the EU Commission had determined that Germany had failed to meet its pledges. According to the agency, 21 states have met their targets. In addition to Germany, however, Malta, Ireland, Finland, Bulgaria and Cyprus must now also acquire compensation rights for excessive greenhouse gas emissions. zeit.de
65.4 billion euros
this is the amount of environmentally harmful subsidies in Germany and is at a record level – The Federal Environment Agency recommends an immediate programme to reduce them. fair-economics.de
America’s electricity may remain dirty: Just days before the climate summit in Glasgow, President Joe Biden is facing a major setback.Democratic Senator and coal lobbyist Joe Manchin is blocking his key programme to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Now the White House is feverishly searching for a plan B. rnd.de
Greenhouse gas emissions have never been so high: the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere reached a new high last year. Despite the Corona year, the increase was even higher than the average increase in the previous ten years. This is reported by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The Corona crisis did not result in a significant decrease in emissions, according to the report. The economic downturn caused by the pandemic had only temporarily reduced new emissions, but had „no discernible impact“ on the amount and increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. tagesspiegel.de ,
Results of the biodiversity conference are not enough: The future of nature conservation was discussed for a week in Kunming, China. The results are not enough, says biodiversity researcher Johannes Vogel on behalf of many other experts: „Solutions cannot be prescribed. They can only be shaped jointly by all those whose competences are needed. We need a cultural change in science, politics, society and the economy. A new open science is central to this. It must be designed across disciplines, strive for honest dialogue and partnerships with civil society, politics and business, and thus jointly create knowledge for effective solutions. Action is better than non-action: There is still the possibility of not having to follow in Darwin’s footsteps“ faz.net
German development cooperation circle for German consultancy firms: The actions of the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), have long been criticised. In German development cooperation, consultancy services are regularly put out to tender. However, GIZ itself acts like a federally owned consulting firm. The responsible Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) commissions GIZ to implement the ministry’s projects. Often, these are advisory services – for example, on how a development cooperation partner country should structure its public finances. And since the GIZ cannot do this itself, it in turn hires consulting firms. This leads to paradoxical situations, because billions flow from the German national budget into the water supply of the global South – but much of it ends up back in the accounts of those German consulting firms instead of the money being invested locally. taz.de
BOOK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Tourismus in Afrika
Opportunities and challenges of sustainable development
Global tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sectors. More and more places and regions are entering this market in order to profit from it as quickly as possible. Especially less developed countries in Africa see tourism as a good opportunity to generate economic growth or to support it. Often, however, the growth phase of tourism does not take into account a long-term orientation from the point of view of sustainable development. The motto „the more tourists and foreign exchange earnings the better“ applies.
Only much later – or too late – are the risks and consequences of unbridled tourism development recognised. This was the case before the pandemic. Within the framework of the book, the opportunities and risks of tourism development in Africa are presented by means of overarching considerations, strategic approaches and focused case studies. The editor focuses on the countries south of the Sahara. The aim is to highlight both good examples and critical developments and challenges of tourism in Africa, to learn from them and ultimately to contribute to the sustainable development of tourism in an overall emerging continent. degruyter.com
Green electricity: Becoming a location factor. wiwo.de
Renewable Energies: How hackers are becoming a risk to the energy transition. welt.de
Lusatia: Concern about an early coal phase-out. focus.de
Taxonomy: EU Commission wants to classify nuclear power and natural gas as sustainable. heise.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.
Wild coffee, biodiversity and the future of the global coffee industry: there are around 130 wild coffee varieties that are significantly more resistant to climatic stress factors than Arabica or Robusta. HY Coffee is one of the first to bring these special varieties to Germany. 17goals.de
PODCAST OF THE WEEK:
Futurologist: „The heart attack is already here“.
The climate crisis demonstrates to society almost daily through extreme weather and others that we are dealing with finite problems. At the same time, our culture has no concept of stopping, says sociologist and futurologist Harald Welzer. That is why we are not changing the way we live or the way we do business, even though this is urgently needed. So what can we do? It is about the life lie of our present, the absurd longing for more and more growth and the resentment Welzer harbours against the economic sciences. freitag.de
Photovoltaics for trucks: Solar cells on the bodywork of trucks can certainly make a contribution to the power supply due to the large surfaces. A test vehicle is now being used to find out whether this is feasible. The 18-tonne truck carries a particularly light and flat high-voltage photovoltaic system on its roof and can cover five to ten per cent of its energy needs with it. „By successfully commissioning our high-voltage photovoltaic system, we have achieved our goal of demonstrating the feasibility of vehicle-integrated photovoltaics for heavy e-utility vehicles,“ says Christoph Kutter from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. „The components integrated into the truck work as expected.“ The solar truck is now in daily use in the Freiburg area. wissenschaft.de
AI in inland navigation: Self-driving inland vessels can reduce costs, firstly because personnel can be saved, which is in short supply in inland navigation. Moreover, additional transports could be brought onto the water and thus relieve the congested roads. This could be particularly interesting for large cities with many water connections, such as London, Paris, but also Berlin or Amsterdam. Christian Masilge from the Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt Potsdam (SVA) can imagine parcel services, for example, experiencing consistent growth. „A study by the TU Berlin matched the radius of action of bicycle transports with the existing canal network,“ the scientist reports. Many addresses can be reached this way. „It would be illusory to want to replace lorry traffic into the city with this, but if we can divert a few trips and thus relieve the roads, something would already be gained.“ spektrum.de
Transport turnaround – implementation is lacking: 160 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents are caused annually by the transport sector in Germany These figures have remained more or less constant since 1990. For a long time now, the necessary concepts and technologies for a change of direction for more climate protection have been available, but there is an implementation deficit. „A transport system focused on the car and a misinterpretation of how we make corporations competitive and prepare them for a sustainable future in the long term has meant that we have simply done far too little for climate protection in transport in the past,“ says Christian Hochfeld, Director of Agora Verkehrswende. „Every car on the road has a thick unpaid bill with society. Through noise, through exhaust fumes, through land consumption and so on. These are all uncovered bills, they’re in there in the car. And if we don’t change that, we won’t get there.“ deutschlandfunk.de
Study on CO2 levy: FDP plans could chase petrol price to 2.50 euros. n-tv.de
Dependence on the car: 55 million people in Germany do not have adequate local public transport. Even if commuters want to use it, public transport is not an option for them in many corners of the country. A railway subsidiary is now recommending more shared taxis for better connections. spiegel.de
Hydrogen and mobility: If you use the converted natural gas network as a hydrogen pipeline, you can also connect filling stations to it. Many experts assume that a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for heavy trucks will emerge anyway. Fuel cell cars could benefit from this development as free riders. A new study shows that this will even relieve the charging infrastructure on motorways. In future, rest areas will not only have to provide several dozen fast chargers for electric cars, but also numerous ultrafast or even megawatt chargers for trucks. At peak times, electricity consumption can rise to as much as 19 megawatts – the energy demand of a city with 25,000 inhabitants. Such load peaks could be cushioned by an additional hydrogen infrastructure at reasonable cost. When the either/or of electricity and hydrogen becomes a both/and. hydrogencouncil.com
Eon is planning a hydrogen network for the Ruhr region: the network could bring up to 80,000 tonnes of green hydrogen and ammonia a year to customers between the Rhine and the Ruhr. New photovoltaic and wind energy plants are to be built in Spain and Italy for their production. pv-magazine.de
Researchers achieve breakthrough in production: Will green hydrogen ever be suitable for mass production? Graz University of Technology is convinced of this. Together with a start-up, it has tested a new process: The basic material is biogas – and production could be decentralised. ingenieur.de
Belgium: Wants to become a leader in hydrogen. The federal government on Friday approved a hydrogen strategy for our country that focuses on imports as well as the greening of heavy industry. grenzecho.net
For the first time, 20 percent hydrogen in the German gas grid: In December 2021, the Eon subsidiary Avacon will start adding hydrogen to a sub-grid in Saxony-Anhalt. Step by step, up to 20 percent hydrogen will be added to natural gas in the coming heating period. The joint project of Avacon and DVGW is intended to demonstrate that it is technically possible to feed hydrogen into an existing gas network at a significantly higher percentage than previously envisaged in the DVGW’s technical rules. energie.de
Aquaventus off Helgoland: lots of wind, lots of space and no neighbours to be disturbed – the sea offers the best conditions for generating wind power. One disadvantage of power plants on the high seas, however, is that the electrical energy generated can only be transported to the mainland with great effort. This is because, in addition to high-voltage direct current cables, expensive transformer and converter stations are needed in the offshore wind farms. A consortium of companies, research institutes and public institutions called Aqua Ventus therefore now wants to utilise the energy directly on site: electrolysers are to produce green hydrogen with the wind power in the middle of the sea, which will then be brought ashore through pipelines. „Pipelines have the advantage that you can transmit about five times more energy than with a cable,“ says Sebastian Föllner, an engineer in the coordination office of Aqua Ventus. sueddeutsche.de
LAST WEEK IN THE BUNDESTAG
No knowledge of projects to influence the weather: The Federal Government is not involved in patents to influence the weather or climate, nor is it aware of any corresponding involvement of other government agencies. This is stated in the answer (19/32691) to a minor question (19/32601) of the AfD parliamentary group. According to its own information, the Federal Government is also not aware of any new projects to influence the weather and climate on German territory.
Can climate change still be stopped at all? Yes, military analogies often cause unease in environmental circles. But war is one of the few precedents and metaphors that everyone grasps immediately. And we would be fools not to learn from this remarkable lesson. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the impossible happened.
George Monbiot, Guardian columnist, the US war effort mobilised many millions of people. From 1942 to 1945, the production of cars was banned. Rationing was considered fairer than taxing rare goods. Every conceivable recyclable material – chewing gum paper, rubber bands, used cooking fat – had been recycled. So what is stopping the world from responding with the same decisive force to the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced? It is not a lack of money or ability or technology. If anything, digitalisation would make such a transformation faster and easier. It was a problem Roosevelt faced until Pearl Harbor: a lack of political will“. freitag.de
Africa and COP 26: Due to the high cost of accommodation in Glasgow (up to $700 per night), many African NGOs and climate activists will not be able to attend the 26th World Climate Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow With only 4 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, Africa remains the region with the least pollution, but also the one that receives the least international climate finance. There are no signs that the talks in Glasgow will change this. africa-live.de
Corona vaccine production ramps up in Africa: Race to build vaccine factories: Moderna and BioNTech pledge investment to manufacture vaccines in Africa. But which country will get the nod for the high-tech sites? Less than five percent of Africans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, said John Nkengasong, director of the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). dw.com
Congo I – Rebellion in the rainforest: The Democratic Republic of Congo has one of the most important ecosystems in the world, the rainforest. But illegal logging by international companies is increasing. Now the locals are fighting back with success: many inhabitants are organising themselves to fight the companies – and nature conservation organisations are supporting them. Some communities have even had their area placed under protection as a community forest. Nadiana Bekombe from the village of Inganda, for example, says: „The industrial logging companies should never set up shop in the village again. They would not let the inhabitants share in the prosperity. Indigenous people are gradually regaining control over their forest – also with the help of modern techniques. spiegel de
Egypt: Lift the state of emergency. For years, the Egyptian president kept his country in a state of emergency – the controversial measure was extended again and again. But this is now no longer necessary, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared. dw.com
Kenya’s Masai Mara threatened by climate change: Wildlife in Tanzania and Kenya is under threat due to climate change, according to a local conservation group that monitors wildlife migrations. The Mara Predator Conservation Project has found that only a small proportion of animals come to the Mara in southern Kenya. Due to climate change, there has been less rain than usual, so the ground is drier and less fresh grass can grow. The water level of the river is also unusually low, according to researcher Saitoti Silantoi. The sight of thousands of wildebeest on their migration is greatly diminished this year. „Normally it is an endless black mass, but in recent years it has been very irregular,“ Silantoi said. And like a domino effect, an entire food chain is at risk. africanews.com
Madagascar: Amnesty warns of great famine. For the past year, southern Madagascar has been suffering from a severe drought. According to Amnesty International, one million people could be affected by the first climate-related famine. dw.com
South Africa: The European Union will launch a project with South Africa at the COP26 climate summit to accelerate the country’s phase-out of coal, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said last Thursday. „The idea is for countries to support South Africa to phase out coal faster and move into renewable energy development earlier and faster. We are still working on that,“ von der Leyen told a press conference, adding that the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France were also involved. reuters.com
Sudan: The crisis in Sudan may have ripple effects that not only affect stability in Africa, but reach beyond the continent, analysts say. In the United Nations Security Council, the five permanent members struggled for two days to come up with a joint statement, as China and Russia rejected sanctions against the coup plotters. „All states have their certain interests and ideas regarding Sudan. They have been close over the last two years,“ said Volker Perthes, special representative of the United Nations secretary-general for Sudan. Referring to the meeting, Perthes said the analyses of Russia on the one hand and the US on the other were still far apart. dw.com
Southern Africa: There is no denying that Southern Africa is in a climate crisis. By identifying trends in the frequency and intensity of weather events over a period of decades and examining changes in associated biological systems, it is clear that the region is already affected by climate change and its associated impacts. Extreme temperature events can be defined by the maximum temperature, the deviation from the norm or the duration for which the threshold is exceeded. The World Meteorological Organisation has developed a set of indices to identify and quantify these extreme temperature events. Warm weather conditions that meet certain criteria are called heat waves. These are particularly dangerous for humans, animals and plants and lead directly to fatalities. allafrica.com
Exhibition on colonial history: Coming to terms with colonial history is an issue in many places. Obviously, (repressed) German history is connected to today’s problems such as everyday racism. But how can the past be presented without repeating old clichés? The newly revised exhibition „Zurückgeschaut – looking back“ in the tranquil Museum Treptow in Berlin shows how the decolonisation of history can begin.taz.de
Pandemic makes tourism rethink: Overtourism and low-cost air travel, many things in tourism were already criticised before the pandemic. A „business as usual“ does not seem to make sense. „The pandemic has forced us to rethink,“ says Rita Bolesch, who wrote her master’s thesis on the effects of Corona on tourism based on a comparison of Austria and Sweden. She analyses and identifies those criteria that would have gained relevance for tourism through Covid-19: Sustainability, local proximity, quality instead of mass, digitalisation as well as safety and health. derstandard.at
Protein filters rare earths from e-waste: Rare earth metals bound by a protein, this development could significantly simplify the recycling of these important industrial raw materials. The protein lanmodulin binds lanthanides very effectively. It comes from methane-digesting bacteria. Lanthanides include elements such as cerium and neodymium, which are found in electronic components. Until now, these elements could not be recovered because they are finely distributed and difficult to separate. Scientists now coupled the lanmodulin to porous microspheres; these could then bind the desired elements from a solution and thus separate them from other metals. Such a technique could drastically reduce the amount of energy and chemicals needed to recycle rare earths. spektrum.de
Congo II – Laboratory in the rainforest: In the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tim of Tshopo Province, lies the Yangambi Research Station. Joel Litale is an agronomist and forest scientist there. Litale researches rare trees there, and it is thanks to a private-public partnership that he is able to do so. The „Yangambi Landscape“ project is a cooperation involving many partners, including the University of Kisangani, several Congolese ministries and a private company. So far, the project has been largely financed by the European Union; in the future, private investors and green funds will also be involved. „With this approach, we are trying to preserve the forest and its biodiversity and at the same time improve the livelihood of the people who live in and from this landscape,“ says Paolo Cerutti, who is coordinating the project. The inhabitants, the forest and its biodiversity and any development of the region are interdependent and are considered as a whole in this project. faz.net
Trees: Can they provide basic materials for a new generation of batteries? ingenieur.de
National parks: Emit more CO2 than they absorb. spiegel.de
Sylt: New sand piled up. tagesspiegel.de
Alpacas: The first delivery service without packaging waste. wuv.de
The Municipal Climate Conference 2021 will take place on 4 November 2021. Stakeholders in municipal climate protection from all over Germany are invited to the livestream and online expert forums.
Cities, counties and municipalities are increasingly affected by the impacts of climate change and at the same time are among the most important actors in climate protection. This year, the Municipal Climate Conference is taking place under the motto „Pressure to act meets energy – climate-active municipalities on their way“. The focus is on the challenges and tasks of administration and politics. At the same time, the conference offers municipalities the opportunity to learn from the exemplary climate activities of other cities, municipalities and districts.
The conference is divided into two parts this year. The first part of the conference will take place on 4 November from 2-5 pm as a face-to-face event for invited guests in Berlin. It will be broadcast online as a livestream for all other interested parties. The event will focus on the public announcement and awarding of prizes to the winners of the national competition „Climate Active Community„. https://www.klimaschutz.de/klimakonferenz2021
Vaccination certificate of Adolf Hitler is found to be authenticated: A fake digital vaccination certificate has surfaced on the internet that was issued in the name of „Adolf Hitler“. This can be accepted as a valid vaccination certificate, for example by App CovPass Check. So far it is not clear whether digital keys kept secret for the fake certificate were stolen from an issuing office.
All images, unless otherwise stated: pixabay.com
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